Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A spare room of one's own

I temporarily moved out of an old space (the family home in Pasig) into a fairly new one (a friend's pad in the remaining wild meadows of Diliman). This was brought on by a compelling desire for yes, some space of my own while finishing some paintings. That should explain the lack of fluency in the use of words. Visual stuff are begging to be expressed or transferred from sketchpad to canvas. I can't be content just photographing sheer curtains and a still life of basket with bananas.

My friend, a fulltime painter-art professor, lives starkly and simply with a caboodle of four dogs and five cats, all in peaceful coexistence. Beyond having three meals a day, a roof over her head, a stable job, the extra "frills" that are non-negotiable for her are continuing to do art and protecting her space. Space to me is a luxury. I've always lived in shared space with my siblings, especially my sisters, since birth and since I married. Not complaining--my roommates know me enough not to crowd me in further when I'm in a bad way (could be post-menopausal churva or just the testiness of ageing). So a room lent to me free that opens to a forest of bamboo, no screen, no grills, is utter bliss. Did I just die moments ago and was sent by the gods that be to a haven of solitude?

Who's complaining that I have to work from a garden set? Not I. I am having so much fun that I predict by the week's end, my curator will be tapping me on my back and saying, "Good job, Babeth!"

I guess this is my roundabout way of announcing that I am amid preparations for a solo exhibition-cum-installation that celebrates a woman's reclamation of inner and physical spaces. The mixed-media works and recreation of a woman artist's makeshift studio despite daily struggles to balance family life and work are part of "Sampayan Blues" to open Oct. 24 and run for a month at The Sanctuary Gallery of the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary on Campo Sioco Road, Baguio City. Proceeds from the show will all go to the sanctuary's chapel-building project. Photos by Babeth Lolarga

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