Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, or better known as “BenCab”, is a Filipino painter and is considered as the best-selling painter of his generation of Filipino artists.
BenCab moved to the Chelsea district of London, following his marriage to a British writer. Having spent 13 years in London, BenCab shares with many of his countrymen the experience of longing for home. Cabrera briefly returned to the Philippines in 1972, but returned to London in reaction to the introduction of Martial Law in the country. In response to the political abuses of the Marcos era in the Philippines, Cabrera’s art increasingly dealt with social and political commentary, tackling subjects like the disillusionment of 20th-century Filipino migrants, the Philippine-American war and the impact of colonisation. The physical distance caused him to become more aware of his roots and the realities of life in the Philippines. Earning acclaim for expressing universal human themes and hailed as a master of contemporary Philippine art, Cabrera is one of Philippine’s few remaining living treasured National Artists.
A museum dedicated to him, the BenCab Museum was established in Baguio, Philippines, in 2009, to house the artist’s personal collection of tribal art from the Cordillera highlands and contemporary Philippine art. The Museum is committed to the promotion of the arts, and the preservation, conservation and protection of the environment, as well as the culture and traditions of the Cordilleras, as an expression of the artist’s gratitude to the country that nurtured and inspired an artistic career that continues to grow, mature and fascinate.
STPI has had the privilege to exhibit the artist’s works – BenCab: Impressions (2006), as well as BenCab: Glimpses (2011). Aside from the two, the artist has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including shows at the Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California, and the Singapore Art Museum. He was awarded the National Artist of the Philippines for Visual Arts (Painting) in 2006.