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Island life in vivid colors: The legacy of Adriano B. Pangelinan

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

We are all familiar with his distinctive work. Adriano Baza Pangelinan painted Guam's life in exuberant colors that transpose our mundane routines into the creative realm. He frolicked on the canvas where he made abstraction and realism overlap.

Adriano B. Pangelinan

We are surrounded by his legacy. Pangelinan’s paintings are on display in many public places, including the A. B. Won Pat International Airport, the Guam Legislature, King’s Restaurant, Pacific Islands Club Resort and the Guam Hilton Resort and Spa, among others.

Pangelinan passed away on April 21 after his intense bout with dementia and a host of other health problems in the last five years. He was 81.

One of the pioneers in contemporary art on Guam, Pangelinan taught for 20 years at the University of Guam’s Fine Arts Program. Among his students were Jack Shook and Ric Castro. He retired from teaching in 1993.

Pangelinan began his prolific art career in the late 1960s, when he was a student at George Washington High School in Maite.

Raised in Yona, Pangelinan was the son of Vicente U. Pangelinan and Pilar Baza Pangelinan. At 17, Pangelinan participated in the Chautauqua Institute Art Exhibit in New York State, where his watercolors garnered media attention.

He was featured in the New York Times. A year later he was invited to exhibit his work in a one-man show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He also received invitations from as far away as Japan and Dallas, Texas, to exhibit his work.

In 1973, Pangelinan graduated from Southern Illinois University with a master of fine arts degree in painting.

“His remarkable understanding and use of color make his works memorable and unique within the arts community,” writes Rita Nauta, managing director of Guampedia.

“Known for his modernist watercolor style and the vivid use of color, Pangelinan rendered his subjects in ways that are recognizable but not realistic. Instead, he emphasized the fluidity and spontaneity of watercolor. With this medium, forms are suggested and not completely delineated,” Nauta said.


She compared Pangelinan’s attitude toward creation to “music, where each instrument has a unique sound.”

“Pangelinan believed that each medium has its own nature, and cannot compare watercolor to any other media. He created a sense of rhythm through his use of color harmony and color discordance.”

Pangelinan is survived by his wife Sheila and children Adrian, Marilyn, Carlos, Sean and Dano.

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