The artist Joven Mansit is keenly interested in the re-imaging of history, very much the same way postmoderns like Borges are drawn to re-write and re-read given texts of historical importance. After the decade of “Philippine themed” paintings in the 1990s has culminated in the pre-millenial celebrations of the country's independence, contemporary Filipino artists have eagerly veered away from the over-saturation of Filipiniani images that have seemed to proliferated in an exponential fashion all over local art. Not so Mansit, who took more of these turn-of-the century photographs, postcard memorabilia, and repainted them in large scale in order to find insertions and play of new meanings into them. By carefully representing photographic images and their addenda in very much the same fashion and manner, Mansit is able to bring to the foreground a unified, if hybrid work that both negates and affirms the “original image” with new “versions” of it appearance. Undaunted by the danger of nostalgia as a visual device, Mansit retools the picture to confront resultant ironies, jokes and other sardonic aftereffects of such painterly interventions. Nostalgia is deflated, but it is also used as a means to attract attention with its faded and quaint visions of a more, peaceful or genteel time. In a seminal piece titles Pieta, for instance, Mansit shatters the almost saccharine representation of a woman in period clothing with the equally “faded” addition of a piece of beef carcass that seem to rest or emanate from her lap. The title and reference to a pieta – does he suggest that Christ is just a piece of meat? - while equally disturbing is matched only by the seeming nonchalance and deadpan representation. The same goes for the painting School of Fish at the Pinto Art Museum collection, where a group portrait of a ladies' school of the turn of the 20th century is appended by a series of fishes swimming through the picture, again, without the expression or highlighting of surprise or strangeness. Mansit is able to appropriate, successfully even, of how Gabriel Garcia Marquez describes his own style of magic realist writing when the ordinary and the extraordinary are uttered in the same breath. The artist seems not to flinch when the magical and the absurd is painted side by side the factual.
He lives and works in Antipolo City where he is a member of the artist group Sangviaje.