Fifty Shades of Philippine Art: Toti Cerda

Fifty Shades of Philippine Art: Toti Cerda

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Fifty Shades of Philippine Art: Toti Cerda 
Authored by Laya Boquiren

Visual artist Toti Cerda has worked in various media, including pen and ink and acrylic; but it is his outstanding watercolor paintings, produced during his productive tenure as a house artist at Gallery Genesis for almost thirteen years, that led to him being hailed as a
grandmaster aquarelle. Having reaped numerous awards and been exhibited in different galleries and museums, he has become known for his paintings of children whose playfulness and earnest naïveté allow viewers a respite from the turbulent times.

This valuable book contains many of Toti Cerda’s award-winning watercolors as well as his cover illustrations and sequential art for comics publications as well as his current work in acrylics. It covers his artistic and life journey from his humble beginnings and his entry into Gallery Genesis, which led him to forge a strong identity in the artworld, thus earning his place in the history of watercolor art in the Philippines.

Despite the challenges, from the years 1997 to 1999 Cerda bagged the grand prize at Gallery Genesis’ prestigious Kulay sa Tubig Annual Invitational Watercolor Competition. He has since then reaped awards

from the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP), Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) and the Philippine Art Awards of Philip Morris.

Since 2011, Cerda’s work has been exhibited in different galleries in Metro Manila and been included in the collections of the GSIS Museum, Bangko Sentral, and IloMoCA. He identifies himself as a realist who creates compelling visual narratives with his brush
and works whether in watercolor or acrylic at the time of writing.

Cerda’s compelling and unlikely success story serves as a backdrop in particular to the little-known aspects of the history of Philippines watercolor painting from the nineteenth to the present century. This book thus serves as pleasurable guide to art lovers who are interested in widening their aesthetic horizon and sensibility.


Laya Boquiren has served as curatorial consultant for Gallery
Genesis (2013), the Museo de Intramuros (2015), and various
independent projects. Through a grant from Japan Foundation,
she was one of the co-curators of the international travelling
exhibition Field Trip Project (2015). Boquiren has contributed
in academic journals, published books under Vibal (2015-17),
has authored a book on Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice awardee Willy
Tadeo Layug (2017), for whom she curated the artist’s second solo exhibition at the NCCA Gallery (2017-18). Her most recent publication is Now Here: Access, Activate, Rewind (2018) for Erehwon Center for the Arts. Boquiren was member of the jury of Lucie Foundation’s International Photography Awards (2016-17), Fellow of the Kritika National Workshop (2017), and member of the Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore. She obtained a master of arts in art history from the University of the Philippines, Diliman (2009), and has
completed short programs at the Institute of Media and Entertainment in New York (2009) and Keio University in Japan (2010). She is currently finishing her dissertation as a PhD candidate in UP Diliman. Boquiren currently teaches art history and theory at the University of Asia and the Pacific.



Fifty Shades of Philippine Art is a series of affordable and concisely written books on the lives and works of major Philippine artists, whether fine, modern, or folk.