Download: Curriculum Vitae / Bio-Data

My art subjects do not attempt to portray the symmetry and balance of human forms. Sometimes the subjects appear distorted.
But here lies my message: Life as we experience it is one of travail and struggle which may distort the human spirit and ordinary people, who in their innocence, are vulnerable to the intricacies of life. My works are strongly influenced by social, cultural, religious, spiritual and political norms. Hence my works, whatever their forms and motives reflect the magical ritualism of my rich indigenous roots. My works encompass the indigenous idiom, in an intoxicating mixture of color, figures, symbols, motifs and detailed enough to astound one’s perceptions without exception to possibilities. I’m also revealing a very subtle sense of humour, by starting to tease the viewer’s speculativeness, because my figures have come to life.

 

Bert is a compleat artist - an educator and cultural activist. Internationally and nationally acclaimed, he is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts, Asian Artists Awards of Vermont Studio Center, U.S.A., Philip Morris Group of Companies ASEAN Art Awards, GSIS Museum Artist of the Month and Art Association of the Philippines Best Entry Award. He popularized and vigorously promoted Mindanaoan Arts and Culture through art exhibitions, lectures and workshops in different countries abroad. He had major solo exhibitions in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, USA and Canada. He was the Mindanao Coordinator of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)-Committee on Visual Arts from 1996-2001. As an artist-educator he has organized art workshops in schools and communities, for skills development, art- as- therapy and peace building. Active in social development advocacy work for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mindanao, Monterona’s art elevates social realities to aesthetic heights.

WHAT CRITICS SAY OF MONTERONA’S WORKS:

“(I) ssues of colonization have not limited Bert (Monterona) from commenting on the shamefully restricted role of women in Philippine culture. He avoids the simple traps of "honouring" women that generations of western artists have fallen into from the sweet Madonnas of the Renaissance to contemporary artists' nudes that seek to make women some exemplary but unattainable earth mother or sexual goddess. Bert shows women carrying the tools of their trade, from cooking pots to millinery shears, walking across a tight rope in a tenuous attempt to reach some stage where respect will reward them for their perseverance if not for their reality. The tight rope is a striking metaphor and condemnation of all men, western and Asian, who continue to allow this exploitation on all levels from gilded cages of marriage to the plastic opulence of the bordello. "Can a man be a feminist?" This privileged white western male won't attempt the answer, but I will admit to tears at Bert Monterona's vibrant expression of the issues.”

-- Alan Haig-Brown, MindaNews, 2002-2004

“Art filled with energy, colour … Monterona is well known in Southeast Asia, Australia and the United States for his surreal exploration and bridging of indigenous, technological, spiritual, cultural and political themes. (He) uses colour, human figures, symbols and motifs to depict how his ancestral home has triumphed and failed to preserve its history and ways of life…Created from dye, textile paint and acrylic, the tapestries look and feel like hand woven cloths and artifacts from south east Asia’s past.”

-- Carol Thorbes, SFU Media and Public Relations, January 22, 2004 , vol. 29, no. 2