Last Updated: April 9th, 2019
Born on May 22, 1924, in the town of San Jose in Antique, Jeremias “Jerry” Elizalde Navarro was a renowned sculptor and painter. He first arrived in Manila in 1947 as a Ramon Roces Publication Scholar at the University of the Philippines. He then obtained his degree in Fine Arts Major in Painting at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila in 1951.
Elizalde would first meet his wife, Virginia Ty, a sculptor, and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, while working as a Creative Director for Ace Compton Agency. They later eloped and got married at the Municipal Hall of Angono with their close friend, and fellow artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco standing as their ninong. Coming from a Chinese family, however, Virginia was disowned by her family as they didn’t favor her marriage with Jerry. They later had two children together, Jeremy, now a special events planner, and Chad, an architect.
In 1969, Jerry headed to Sydney, Australia, for further studies, and would later teach advertising design at the Randwick Technical School.
During his period of painting the nude in the 70s and 80s, he discovered how the island of Bali in Indonesia was an artist’s paradise. In an interview with the Philippine Star, his wife recounted how he fell in love with Ubud. And since 1984, he would return yearly to Bali to do paintings. He regularly stayed at the Bamboo Gallery where artists from all over the world usually stay. During his visits, he would find close friends to share their ideas on art which include Dutch-born Indonesian painter Arie Smit and Malaysian painter Chang Fee Ming. His time on the island of Bali is evident in some of his works that draws inspiration from Balinese art and culture.
With a career that spans over 50 years, Jerry Elizalde Navarro represented the country in a number of international biennales. This includes:
- 1967, 1970 – Represented the Philippines in the sculpture category, Sao Paolo Biennale, Brazil
- 1972, 1974, 1978 – Represented the Philippines at the Biennale de Arts Graphiques, Brno, Czechoslovakia
- 1975 – Served as Graphics Designer for the Philippine participation, Ocean Expo, Okinawa, Japan
- 1977 – Designed the Philippine booth, 12th Tokyo International Trade Fair, Japan
- 1977 – Designed the Philippine booth, 1st ASEAN Trade Fair, Manila, Philippines
- 1979 – Designed the Philippine Trade Exhibition, Hamburg Centrum, Hamburg, Germany
- 1980 – First Filipino artist to be represented at the Yayasan Dharma Seni Museum Neka, Bali, Indonesia
He died on June 10, 1999, at the age of 75.
He was posthumously conferred as a National Artist for Visual Arts a few months later, on October 14, 1999.
The Manila Project
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- Galerie Stefanie
- Mercier Gallery of Fine Arts
- The Philippine Star
- J. Elizalde Navarro, Cid Reyes, National Museum of the Philippines, 2008
- National Commission for Culture and the Arts