SAN FRANCISCO, California – The Philippine Consulate in San Francisco is now home to two paintings by national artist Fernando Amorsolo.
Consul General Henry Bensurto Jr. said he is more than happy to have the two paintings created by Amorsolo in 1938 added to the growing Museo ng Lahing Pilipino located at the 5th floor of the consulate.
“When we say that we would like the community to fall in love with our culture and our heritage, we want that expressed in a visible way,” said Bensurto Jr.
The retrieval of the Amorsolo paintings was made possible through the Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Program, which is unique to Homeland Security Investigations portfolio.
Special Agent Tatum King of the US Department of Homeland Security said a military policeman stationed in Manila acquired the paintings at the end of World War II
"[He] was in California, beginning in 1951. The paintings have been here for 70 years. After he passed away, his son wanted to donate these to the people of the Philippines, so they could be enjoyed by all,” King said.
According to US officials, the process to get the paintings to the Philippine consulate only took about 5 months.
“June of this year, actually. So, since this wasn't part of an actual or genuine investigation and there was no illegal activity involved. It was a lot smoother. It was just a matter of lining up dates. There were some legal documents to transfer them, while also maintaining the anonymity of the donor at his request,” said Special Agent David Keller.
In keeping with the consulate’s Spark Connect Empower campaign, Bensurto hopes that the addition of the Amorsolo paintings can bring pride and inspiration, especially to young Filipino-Americans.
“When you look at those paintings, you don't just see the technique in terms of painting, the use of lighting, but a characterization, a depiction, or reflection of how we live our culture, how we live our life in the rural areas. And what you see there is the projection of happiness, cheerfulness, resilience,” he said.
The museum is free to the public and open from Monday to Friday and through special appointments for the weekend.
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