J. Elizalde Navarro (1924-1999) is an important contributor to Philippine modern art. Bestowed the National Artist Award for the Visual Arts shortly after his death, Navarro was among the first generation of modernists after the war. He exhibited with other modernists in the Philippine Art Gallery and worked in a wide array of media, from painting to mixed-media to sculpture. Although initially known as a painter, Navarro frequently worked with mixed media and he created reliefs, assemblages and sculptures, differentiating himself from the many painters active in this period. His contribution to sculpture was recognized by Emmanuel Torres, one of the Philippines’ leading art critics, who wrote in 1965, “It is easy to think of four or five names in painting who could represent the Philippines by turns at future Biennales, but besides [Napoleon] Abueva, I can think only of J. Elizalde Navarro for sculpture.” The sculpture shows J. Elizalde Navarro’s affinity for abstraction, which he easily shifted in and out of throughout his career. It particularly shows his attraction to the linear form using metal rods. The lines of the rods in this sculpture bend, crisscross, and splay out in different directions, emphasized by forks and arrows of diverse trajectories which cap them. Squares punched through with circular holes balance and underscore shape and form in three dimensional space. This work shows correlation with Navarro’s abstract and linear “Constellation”, the steel and concrete sculpture in the collection of Cultural Center of the Philippines, and Navarro’s “Echo”, the painted steel sculpture which formed part of the Philippines’ entry to the 1971 Sao Paulo biennale.

Artist Name
J Elizalde Navarro
c. 1960s
Object size: 207 x 113 x 86 cm
Accession No.
Welded metal
Collection of
National Gallery Singapore
Modern Art Forms