Benedicto Cabrera
Filippino Artist & Printmaker

Benedicto Cabrera, also known as "BenCab," is a renowned Filipino visual artist.

He is considered one of the most prominent and influential figures in Philippine contemporary art.

His works often feature themes that revolve around the human form, nature and the Filipino culture.

Benedict Cabrera

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About Benedicto Cabrera

Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, more commonly known as BenCab, was born on April 10, 1942, in Manila, Philippines. He grew up in a creative and artistic environment, as his father was an illustrator for a newspaper. This early exposure to art played a crucial role in shaping his artistic sensibilities.

BenCab studied Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts, where he developed his skills and honed his artistic style. During his formative years, he was exposed to various art movements and was influenced by both Western and Asian artistic traditions. He found inspiration in Philippine indigenous art, as well as in the works of modern artists like Fernando Amorsolo and Carlos “Botong” Francisco.

Contribution to Philippine Art

In the 1960s, BenCab began to make a name for himself in the Philippine art scene. His distinctive style was characterized by fluid lines, intricate textures, and a keen sense of observation. He gained recognition for his figurative works that captured the essence of Filipino culture and the human experience.

One of his most iconic series, “Sabel,” emerged during the 1980s. These works were inspired by a mentally-ill woman who wandered the streets of Manila. BenCab’s portrayal of Sabel and his exploration of the marginalized in society showcased his ability to infuse deeper social narratives into his art.

Throughout his career, BenCab has exhibited his works both nationally and internationally. His artistic contributions have earned him numerous awards and accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Merit in the Philippines. His dedication to preserving and promoting Filipino art led him to establish the BenCab Museum in 2009. The museum not only showcases his own works but also serves as a platform for contemporary Filipino artists to exhibit their creations.

BenCab’s influence extends beyond his artwork; he has also been instrumental in advocating for the preservation of cultural heritage sites and environmental awareness in the Philippines. His commitment to his craft and his cultural roots has solidified his position as a prominent and respected figure in Philippine art history.

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Famous Artworks by Benedicto Cabrera

Draped Figure #1
4.5 x 10 cm
Acrylin and Ink on Card
2010

BenCab has created a diverse body of work throughout his artistic career. Here are some of his most famous and iconic artworks:

Sabel Series: This series of artworks, which began in the 1960s and continues to this day, features depictions of “Sabel,” a mentally-ill woman whom BenCab encountered on the streets of Manila. The series captures the complexity of human emotions and the marginalized members of society.

Larawan Series: In the “Larawan” (Filipino for “portrait”) series, BenCab explores the beauty and diversity of the Filipina woman. These portraits showcase the uniqueness and strength of Filipina identity and culture.

Kawayan (Bamboo) Series: This series showcases BenCab’s skillful exploration of the bamboo plant as a subject. The works depict bamboo in various forms, highlighting its significance in Filipino culture and the environment

Diwata Series: The “Diwata” series delves into Philippine mythology and folklore. BenCab’s interpretations of mythical beings and deities capture the magical and ethereal elements of these stories.

Sungka Series: Sungka is a traditional Filipino board game. BenCab created a series of paintings inspired by this game, exploring themes of competition, strategy, and Filipino cultural heritage.

Man Series: BenCab’s “Man Series” delves into the male form, examining masculinity and the human body in various states and emotions. These works provide a counterpoint to his more widely known representations of the female form.

There are three things an artist needs in order to succeed: “Curiosity, passion, and making art from life”

Painting Techniques Used by Benedicto Cabrera

Draped Figure #2
4.5 x 10 cm
Acrylin and Ink on Card
2010

With a career spanning decades, Cabrera has showcased a remarkable ability to blend traditional and contemporary methods, seamlessly weaving them into his artistic tapestry. 

His works often display a remarkable command of color, texture and form, as he employs techniques like impasto, glazing and chiaroscuro to create captivating visual narratives. 

Cabrera’s signature technique lies in his adept use of brushwork, which ranges from delicate and precise strokes to bold and expressive swaths of paint. 

Through these techniques, he not only captures the essence of his subjects but also establishes a deep emotional connection between his art and its beholders, making him a true maestro of his craft.

I want to be remembered as having touched the Filipino psyche

More Artworks by Benedicto Cabrera

Here are additional artworks by Benedicto Cabrera that exemplify his artistic mastery. These pieces collectively underscore his ability to evoke emotions and spark contemplation through his diverse and profound artistic expressions.

Find out what artworks of Benedicto Cabrera we have in our collection.