Leslie de Chavez

Manila, Philippines
Philippine artist Leslie de Chavez insists on the social function of art. In his paintings he discusses social, economical, cultural, and political issues of the former colony. The effects caused by the colonial power of the United States have a particularly strong influence on the country’s developments to this day.
In Chavez’s paintings new technologies and symbols of consumerism meet Philippine landscapes and local crops. Western imperialism and global capitalism are the main topics discussed in every aspect of Chavez’s paintings. His work can be seen as a critical visualization of the status quo. The corrupt practices of the Philippine government causing harsh economical circumstances are therefore another major topic discussed in Chavez’s paintings.

The artist always begins with a black painted canvas. Illustrated political developments are surrounded by the dark. Dramatic cloud formations, which can be found in several of Chavez’s paintings, seem to announce the forecast of future developments. The sun breaking through these clouds becomes a symbol of hope and change. The most demonstrative symbols in Chavez’s artworks, however, are the protagonists’ oversized hands. More than any facial expressions do the gestures of the giant hands tell about the characteristics, social context, and political position of the illustrated figures. Like the Hand of God, or Manus Dei, they are symbols of power and emotions.

place & year of birth
1978, Manila, Philippines

featured galleries


Graduated in the University of the Philippines
BFA in Painting, cum laude

Represented by Arario Gallery in Seoul, Bejing, New York
and Avanthay Contemporary Gallery in Zurich, Switzerland

solo exhibitions

Banana Republic, Avanthay Contemporary, Zurich, Switzerland


Red-eyed Brother, Arario Seoul, Seoul, Korea
Leslie de Chavez, Arario Beijing, Beijing, China


Tropical Delight, Window Gallery, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, Korea
Ichimaseyo (Do Not Forget Me), Goyang Art Studio Gallery, Korea

group exhibitions

3rd Nanjing Triennial, Reflective Asia, Nanjing, China
ARCO Art Fair 2008, Madrid, Spain


First Pocheon Asia Biennale, Pocheon, South, Korea
Beijing Art Fair 2007, Beijing, China
First Asian Contemporary Art Fair (ACAF), New York, USA


Bikini in Winter, Alternative Space Loop, Seoul, Korea

Beppu Asia Biennale of Contemporary Art, Beppu Museum, Japan


Neo-Emerging Artists Residency, Dangsan Studio, Seoul, Korea


IASK Goyang Art Studio, Asian Artists Fellowship Program, Korea
Beppu Asia Biennale of Contemporary Art 2005, Beppu Art Museum, Japan


Metrobank Foundation Young Painters’ Annual (2nd Prize)


Oblecine: Film and Video Art Festival, University of the Philippines
(Honorable Mention)
UP President’s Committee on Culture and Arts, 1st Film and Video Art Festival
(3rd Prize)


UP President’s Committee on Culture and Arts, Most Outstanding Student Artist
Gawad Chancellor, Student Achiever for National Competitions, University of the Philippines