Friday, October 30, 2015

What else will we play next?

These served as my welcome remarks at the opening of "Sampayan Blues," my ninth solo exhibition at the Sanctuary Gallery inside the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary on North Santo Tomas Road, Campo Sioco, Baguio. The show of paintings and installation ends on Nov. 24. Come visit!

Kept it place by clothespins are the paintings "The Laughing Matryoshkas" and "Be Salt, Be Light, Be Seamstress, Be Doll."

The untitled installation in the middle of the gallery and surrounded by 18 paintings

Portrait of the artist by EV Espiritu and floating above an old wash basin and borne aloft by chipboard "bubbles"

EV Espiritu should have another solo show after his "Soul Catcher" photo exhibit from several years back. He's got one wild mind. Here he poses with the mobile that he had conceived and helped execute.

My collaborations with grandchild Kai who, when she entered the gallery, recognized her figures and announced, "That's my work!" From top: "BFFs in Flower Field" and "Oval and Round"

Good afternoon. Let me thank Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, its genial and caring staff led by Olive Gregorio, curator Erlyn Ruth Alcantara for allowing us to turn this gallery space into our playground for a month.

Thank you, old comrade in arts and media EV Espiritu, my collaborating artist alongside Maryknoll’s Clem Delim, who is a quiet joy to work with. Yasmin Almonte, the Sarabia sisters Anna Leah and Wawie I thank for gifts of space so I can paint with no other concern except to breathe and paint.

Thank you Baboo Mondoñedo, Merci Javier Dulawan and Ben Tapang for choosing either the most barbed or kindest words for me. All of you who came today despite gray clouds, threatening rain and a bout of sampayan blues, thank you.

What else will we play next? This is the question my four-year-old friend and grandchild Kai asks when we’re done with an activity. It’s a question adults like us must also reinstate in our lives to put the element of play in things we do.

When I was painting “Storm Surge” in the aftermath of super-typhoon Yolanda, I couldn’t paint continuously and with joyous abandon. There was toxic anger in my heart at the way a national crisis/calamity was being handled. I put away my brushes, rolled up the canvas and as for the tiny tubes of acrylic, they dried up.

Until one day I found myself stuck up while writing another hanapbuhay article. Restless, I had to channel my fretfulness into something constructive lest I harm myself from frustration. That’s how I found myself returning to “Storm Surge” after it lay idle for a year. I recaptured the elusive lightheartedness that used to accompany a brushstroke.

Each visit to Baguio had me bearing witness to the ease with which Kai applied herself in her painting, coloring and drawing. Absolutely no self-consciousness about what others would think or say. I like to think I am now apprentice to this master.

Enjoy the show, and thanks again for coming and banishing the blues from my sampayan. May your own clotheslines be often visited by playful birds and butterflies, the scent of flowers, blasts of wind, rays of sunshine and just the occasional rain. Bless you!
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