Two Artists Showcase Their Similar Yet Distinctive Creative Views

Husband-and-wife duo Josue Mangrobang Jr. and Malyn Bonayog’s latest collaborative show, “Similar But Not The Same,” features works that compare and contrast their singular, artistic visions.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s December 2023/January 2024 Issue.

The two-artist exhibition, Similar But Not the Same, organized by Metro Gallery for Alliance Française de Manille, husband and wife artists Josue Mangrobang Jr. and Malyn Bonayog come together to explore affinities between their works.

Josue Mangrobang and Malyn Bonayog
Josue Mangrobang and Malyn Bonayog

The two met at the University of the Philippines, Diliman at the College of Fine Arts. They were part of the same art group, the UP Artist Circle. For this joint show, they created one large painting each and then created several paired paintings – each painted a small work with the same subject. Instead of a collaboration painting, they paint on their own individual canvas with shared elements and colors. 

Josue Mangrobang’s "Love Above the Clouds" (acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)
Josue Mangrobang’s “Love Above the Clouds” (acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)

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Mangrobang says, “The idea is about ‘similar but not the same’, which is also the title of our show. The exhibition concept came from and was developed from our past experiences in our past two-man shows. Most of the time, people see the similarities and differences in our artworks in terms of style and technique. They tend to compare, relate, and react. So now we decided to bring it back through our chosen concept by presenting the same subjects, elements, composition, and colors and executing it with our own artistic interpretation. Now it’s natural for them to react and compare. Being compared to what we usually expect to happen in our exhibitions becomes our goal now for our viewers to notice the similarities between the artwork’s compositions and how they relate to each other.”

Malyn Bonayog’s "Critical Thinkers" (acrylic on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)
Malyn Bonayog’s “Critical Thinkers” (acrylic on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)


Mangrobang graduated from UP Diliman with a BFA Painting and BFA Art History while Bonayog graduated with BFA Painting. They were quite active in the art scene and were off the radar for a while. 

Three years after they got married, they decided that Bonayog would focus on building their family and have children. She would only accept small commissioned works for group shows to have a lesser work load. Mangrobang had an unexpected accident in 2018 and fractured my elbow which caused him not to be able to accept and continue future projects. He could hardly paint because of the pain and limited movement and spent a lot of time in therapy for more than two years. As he slowly recovered, opportunities came back and he began to paint once again. People in the art scene started to notice his works again. 

Malyn Bonayog’s "AM Habit" (acrylic on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)
Malyn Bonayog’s “AM Habit” (acrylic on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)

Mangrobang has had seven solo exhibitions and countless group shows. Bonayog has joined several group shows and will no doubt have her solo show soon. Asked about their inspiration for their works, he says, “My personal experiences, failures, and successes combined. In the positive stories of people I’ve encountered, I’ve tended to rewrite their stories through my paintings. Real stories combine to create ideal and dream-like stories, etc. And of course, truth and relevance to everyone are where I get my inspiration.”

She says “I am inspired by the effect of hologram photos, the technique of the optical illusion called Closure (a term used in Gestalt psychology), my own experiences and my surroundings.”

Josue Mangrobang’s "Morning Rituals" (acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)
Josue Mangrobang’s “Morning Rituals” (acrylic and gold leaf on canvas, 9 x 6.5 inches)

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia December 2023/January 2024 magazine via or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Photos courtesy of Josue Mangrobang. 

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