About three years ago, I peered into a mall gallery and saw a Michael Cacnio brass sculpture by the window. I remember thinking, “Wow, this guy’s work is amazing. I bet he’ll go far.” Little did I know that Cacnio has been an acclaimed artist for the past 20 years! Shame on me for not knowing any better.
To celebrate two decades as a Filipino artist, Cacnio teamed up with “Toy of the Century” LEGO for a one-of-a-kind exhibit entitled Inspire. I got to catch it on its last day in Greenbelt 5, and it was such a treat to see and examine how Cacnio integrated these plastic bricks into his metal masterpieces.
Cacnio is renowned here and all over the world for his work with brass. His themes mostly revolve around childhood, playtime, and tranquility with a familiar Filipino flavor. It’s no wonder why his collaboration with LEGO seemed very natural and effortless, destined even.
He also tackles more abstract subject matter in this exhibit. Still, Cacnio integrates the LEGO bricks seamlessly.
It was also special to see Cacnio have sculptures of and with animals.
I particularly liked how Cacnio was able to work with the bricks without manipulating its shape (save for one piece). He is able to really use LEGO the way we all did when we were kids — building something from our imagination brick by brick. This piece below is very Vik Muniz, don’t you think? 🙂
My favorite piece and the centerpiece of the exhibit has Cacnio’s self-portrait at work on one side and a child (his childhood self perhaps?) playing LEGO on the other. Ang ganda!
My first encounter with LEGO was playing with my Dad and his siblings’ bucket from the 70s. Back then, the LEGO people still had spherical heads, longer arms, and no legs (you formed those with bricks). With that one bucket of bricks, my cousins and I had hours and hours of make-believe fun in our grandparents’ room. I couldn’t help but reminisce on those times while going through Cacnio’s exhibit. His genius collaboration with LEGO succeeded in bringing me and (I’m sure) other patrons two trips down memory lane: one was the memory of a happy childhood, and the other a nostalgic look at growing up in a distinctly Filipino environment.