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Art Innovation: How a Baguio artist is redefining the city’s creativity by turning ordinary into extraordinary

Architect Dulthe Carlo Munar works by making an astounding splash on local and small-scale materials, turning the ordinary into the eccentric, and by experimenting with domestic objects



Dulthe Carlo Munar’s work is a summary of his experiments, with different techniques and tools.

This is not the first time architect Dulthe Carlo Munar has exhibited his work, but it will be his debut solo exhibit at Gallery Ninety in his home city, Baguio, to be launched in the last quarter of the year.

Inspired and surrounded by nature, Dulthe chooses materials with respect to the environment and maximizes the possibilities of the color wheel. As an academic and architectural professor at Saint Louis University, he actively learns art techniques and its applications and also creates the tools for his art, making it a wholly experimental and inventive process.

Favoring experiential over dogmatic principles and never bookish when it comes to his teaching, Dulthe is fondly called by his students as a Renaissance Man. It’s an apt label for someone who also practices archery as his main fitness regimen. His interests keep his work unpredictable and exciting and his colleagues label his art practice as divergent that engages in different media.

The piece de resistance of this exhibit with curious contraptions, automata and home accents is his
multi-door sculpture in wood. Entitled Opening Doors, its doors open and close depending on the temperature. The doors expand when warm and contract when cool. It is a symbolic piece for an introverted artist.

Art and science. The artist’s ‘Opening Doors’ piece (left) is made of local hard wood and opens and closes depending on the temperature of the area.

Dulthe works by making an astounding splash on local and small-scale materials, turning the ordinary into the eccentric, and by experimenting with domestic objects. As an architect, Dulthe’s work is a summary of his experiments with different techniques and tools, doing away with normalcy to create innovative art. His architectural background supports his whimsical imagination, which is reflected in his playful mechanical objets d’art.

For a man who is constantly thinking, tinkering and moving, Dulthe’s adoption of automata as his medium reflects on his lifestyle and point of view. Automata, or in its singular form automaton, is a mechanical sculpture meticulously crafted to perform complex movements. Automata are relatively
self-operating machines, made in imitation of a human being or an animal. They perform a range of functions according to a predetermined set of coded instructions.

To quote Dr. Raymundo Rovillos, president of BACCI (Baguio Arts and Crafts Collective Inc.), the NGO and private sector partner of the government in implementing its commitments to UNESCO as a city for arts and crafts, and presenter of Dulthe Carlo Munar’s exhibit: “We are excited to present architect Munar’s first solo exhibit at the Gallery Ninety because his work exemplifies innovation. He veers away from the traditional output or craft by coming out with something different and new. The Cordillera region is known for traditional woodcrafts. He uses the same material but he produces something out of the ordinary and non-traditional, and BACCI has been advocating for innovation in the arts as it does with traditional arts.”