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Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera Biography

by Freeway, 2015
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Benedicto Cabrera, more popularly known as BenCab is one of the most respected visual artists in the Philippines. His art has portrayed socio-political issues and various aspects of Filipino identity, earning acclaim for expressing universal human themes. Hailed as a master of contemporary Philippine art, he is also one of our few remaining living treasured National Artists.

Born in 1942 in Manila, Philippines, BenCab is the youngest of nine children born to Democrito Cabrera and Isabel Reyes of Pampanga. During childhood, he first discovered his interest in arts through his elder Brother Salvador who was already an established artist at that time. He pursued his love for the arts and went on to study at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts, where he explored different art visual forms – photography, draftsmanship and printmaking.

Spending 13 years in London, BenCab shares with many of his countrymen the experience of longing for home. The physical distance caused him to become more keenly aware of his roots and the realities of life in the Philippines. He returned in 1985 to permanently settle in Baguio City. The BenCab Museum (www.bencabmuseum.org) was established in Baguio in 2009, to house the artist’s personal collection of tribal art from the Cordillera highlands and contemporary Philippine art. In the same year, BenCab was conferred a doctorate in the Humanities,honoris causa, by the University of the Philippines. BenCab was awarded National Artist of the Philippines for Visual Arts (Painting) in 2006.

His paintings and works have been the subject of three books, Ben Cabrera: Etchings (1970-1980) by Cid Reyes; Bencab’s Rock Sessions by Eric Caruncho; and BENCAB by Alfred Yuson and Cid Reyes.

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