So here, finally, after ten years, is PISTÁ. In a word (or well a few) it's a bunch of re-imagined Philippine festivals, all done up in acrylic and oil pastel. ("My hairdresser says that everything this year is going to be acrylic and oil pastel." ^_^) Or well we'll let the exhibit notes I prepared for the gallery do the talking ^_^;
The seeds of this show were first sown some ten years ago. I wanted to make a series of paintings showing monsters enjoying themselves at Philippine festivals, using a technique I enjoy very much, myself.
My use of oil pastels on acrylic is meant to be a free-spirited, playful technique evoking the drawings of children, because I wanted to be able to see these festivals through a child's eyes—to be able to just enjoy all the colour and movement (and fancy costumes, that made people look more (or less) than human).
Now that I'm finally able to get Pistá on the road, I find myself thinking whether the me of about ten years ago would've even imagined the stuff I've been able to discover (let alone make) in preparation for this show. I knew my people liked to party, and that we were into things like processions and stuff, but really, it showed how little I actually knew of this most salient part of my country's culture, and how vague those early ideas, or mental images I had actually were.
I did go to a Pahiyas once, when I was 15. I never, EVER forgot it. And my grandfather took me to a Salubong over in Angono once when I was in my early 20s, I think. And I did a Santacruzan once when I was about 12. (I'll bet I was the only kid there with stuffed animals stuck to the arch thing they were carrying over my head.)
Having said that, I'd like to say I am very glad indeed I got to do this show, now, in my ripe old age, because now I think I am better able to appreciate things. And I think the thing I appreciate most, or what I loved most, to discover about my people, is that no matter how BAD things get in this country, we always manage to celebrate—and find things or reasons to celebrate. I love that about us. And also I think we need it.
I admit I didn't expect to find that we had so many happy goings on, all year round, in this country (shows how much I know, AGAIN, about my own country)—I think even if I painted for ten years I couldn't possibly paint them all (it might be fun to try, though). And I love how so many of these festivals have fascinating back stories to them, and how new festivals are being invented all the time. Because like I said, as a people we always manage to keep our chins up and find it in ourselves, as well as find something or some reason to celebrate.
On a personal level, there were a bunch of other things I discovered while preparing for this show, many of which were not exactly celebratory in nature. But in spite of this, I think, it's sort of like that thing where you become what you paint? So I'm going to celebrate anyway, and just focus on the things worth celebrating, and the things I have to be thankful for. A lot of the festivals I came across in my researches for this show were meant to be for thanksgiving. That says something, I think—about my people and about me, as being one of them, after all.
Because to me, each of these paintings is like a little party on paper. I meant for them to be like snapshots taken in a fantasy world, a fantasy Philippines where monsters hang out, even with humans, sometimes, and everybody gets along, celebrates, and parties.
So I'm hoping that anyone who comes to see the paintings, will come to party, as it were, with me.
- June17th 2016
As always, I may have been working alone (like in my room), but, I'm never really alone (many were the times I wish I was, though LOL). Which means I have several People and people to thank, so, if you'll allow me ~
THANK YOU, Dear God · Mama Mary · Guardian Angel · Saint Luke · Blessed Fra Angelico · Saint Francis de Sales · Saint Charles Borromeo · Dear Saint Catherine of Bologna · Saint Ephrem · Saint Joseph · Saint Maria Goretti · Saint Dominic Savio · Saint Thomas Aquinas · Saint Lawrence · Saint Benedict · Saint Michael the Archangel · Saint John Chrysostom · Saint Aloysius · Saint Alphonsus · Saint Mary Magdalene · Saint Augustine · Saint Matthias · Saint Catherine of Sienna · Saint Cecilia · Saint John · Saint Jude · Saint Rita · Saint Philomena · Saint Claire · Saint Pancratius · Saint Matthew and the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
Thank you so much to Fr Saa · Mom · Dad · Bassints · Hopa · Mozart (and Bizet, Rossini, Puccini and Gilbert and Sullivan ^o^)
Thank you to Mr Shellshear for giving me this show and to Mr Regis, Miss Czarina and Miss Rachel for all their help. Thank you to Mr Jon for not being my first boss to know what I did after office hours, but for being the first in my looong career to truly support it.
And thank you to the friends who saw me through most of almost eight and a half months of looong, interminable, caffeine x taurine-fueled nights ~ especially to my future-veterinarian friend, who once told me art was useless to society and was disgusting as a career, but whose kind and unwavering support without really knowing what I was doing saw me through many a stressful week ~ and to my other friend who always says she likes my work, even though she thought my party horns were slices of pizza ^O^***
I think perhaps I really am going on sabbatical next year, which deep down is a really scary decision for me to make but I think my human component is making this decision for me, at last. ("The spirt is willing but the flesh is weak.")
So this might be my last show for a while; I hope it won't be my last-last (or super last (or however many Filipino "lasts" you want). Because there are stiiiiiilll so maaaaaaany things I want to paint. But maybe I'd like to paint them with natural energy instead of the kind that comes in a bottle or a can ^_^; So I guess I kind of need this hiatus to figure things out.