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Hannah Jo Uy

The dark side of Disney

Images by Pinggot Zulueta The innocence of children is refreshing. It is among children, with their utter sense of wonder, that our guards are most down. Their presence evokes a unique form of honesty. They elicit the child that lies within, this small fracture of our being that has not participated in life long enough to develop the unique armors that protect us from the overwhelming turns of fate. Such is the expression of our soul, which lies beneath the layers of doctrine and decorum, simply existing. As such, children are also quite frank in their observations, and we are forgiving of it, even encouraging it. As their initial experience is not hampered by expectations, their childlike wonder can pave the way for a certain kind of wisdom. This method of scrutiny, unabashed, …

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Sculpting Icons

An iconic monument has the power to capture the imagination of an entire nation. It stands proud within the podium as more than a work of environmental art, but as a three-dimensional manifestation of the ethos of a culture. Not only does it highlight the visual and technical skill of the artist, the concept is also representative of the artist’s own personal advocacy and reflections regarding the country, simultaneously exhibiting its rich past alongside modern issues. For Jefre Manuel, this immense challenge is one that he faced head on. Born and raised in Chicago to Filipino parents, Manuel has been making waves in the international art scene through his impressive portfolio. Unlike other artists, Jefre’s medium is not confined to palettes and paintbrushes. Instead, he is concerned with conducting a meticulous orchestra that showcases his mastery over light, context, …

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The space in between

Images By Pinggot Zulueta “Space is an important issue,” says Ernest Concepcion. “Humanity can sometimes be so petty, we’re like little kids squabbling over this small room we are occupying in this vast universe.” On this big blue rock called Earth, which is indeed, a minute speck of real estate in the wider scope of the cosmos, this visual artist is setting his sights on what lies beyond the horizon. His inclination for space travel is a deeply ingrained curiosity that was passionately cultivated when he was still young. “Even as a kid, I dreamed about it,” he says, recalling that his mother would bring him gifts from the US, particularly from Florida, which was the site of the Kennedy Space Center and home of National Aeronautic's and Space Administration’s (NASA) space …

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The Trinity in Transit

Images by Pinggot Zulueta The children of Emmanuel Garibay are making their own name in the art world Three has often been considered a sacred number representative of the past, present, and future. It has also been considered indicative of beginning, the middle, and the end, as well as birth, life, and death. For the three Garibay siblings, their art represents the transitory state of their own consciousness. Through their unique and distinct approach, they showcase a different commentary on reality, both visually and conceptually. In their steadfast commitment to inject their own brand of authenticity they have each created a diverse oeuvre that is deeply rooted on both the mundane and the extraordinary, as well as the banal and the exceptional moments in life. Talented, passionate, and dedicated to their crafts, …

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There are no ‘Probinsya artists’

Rock Drilon has contributed much to the Philippine art scene, not just as a painter but also as an active player dedicated toward advancing the cultural and artistic landscape of Iloilo. The distinguished visual artist, heralded for the unique works he presented upon emerging as a vibrant young artist in the ‘70s, was also the founder of the now defunct Mag:net Gallery, a widely sought after artistic space in Quezon City. Since returning to his hometown of Iloilo, he has set his sights on cultivating the local artistic landscape and helping create new platforms that will showcase the abundant talent that the city has to offer. While in previous years, artistic communities outside Luzon were considered to be widely underrepresented, recent activities have thrown the spotlight on the promising artists of the Visayas region, through events such as VIVA ExCon, one …

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Capturing nature

The natural world is the resounding expression of the universe and, within the diverse tape story of life, it offers the secret to peace and longevity. Nature embraces the fleetingness of existence, and celebrates how life and destruction work in harmony with one another. It serves as a haven for the world-weary soul and it is in communion with it, away from the artificiality that prevails in urban and modern life, that we can gain deeper understanding of previously confounding issues. Nature holds infinite wisdom, and it is only upon returning to nature that humans can connect deeper with their most authentic self. The unquestionable power of nature to heal and transform serves as the catalyst for photographer-artist Hersely Casero’s recently concluded exhibit, “Sanctuary.” Debuting at the Art Veritae, “Sanctuary” chronicled …

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Magic in motion

Portrait by Noel B. Pabalate Dance is the poetry of movement and the ballad of the body. For Giulio Scatola, it is also the truest expression of his being. So innate was his affinity for dancing that he cannot recall ever falling in love with it, affirming instead that his passion and dedication toward dance was already present within his “flesh and blood” when he entered this world. “I cherish all sorts of self-expression and art forms. I guess dance has always been the most ‘complete’ to me. I can speak with my body. I can make music with my body. I can act with my body. The body to me is like a full orchestra and a full choir. It has many layers of expression. And it is able to transmit …

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Artwork, encoded

There is a delightfully mysterious twist that can be found in the art of Valen Valero. Within the visually arresting abstractions showcased in her oeuvre, she has stealthily hidden codes and messages. Camouflaged between the organized chaos of her geometric lines and silhouettes set off by her clever manipulation of muted colors, these cryptographs are composed of letters and numbers. Representative of her refreshing optimism, they exist to connect Valero to the viewers as she bares her soul and shares her journey. Her abstractions owe its dynamic quality to her contagious positivity, which she materialized by putting in verses and inspirational quotes. Carefully concealed from all except those with knowing eyes, these codes are an inspired addition to what already stands as an alluring visual piece. It adds a unique dimension …

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Substance of space

Portrait Pinggot Zulueta  While most artists dedicate their careers perfecting that which is seen, multidisciplinary Australian artist Tony Twigg spends his time examining that which is not seen. Twigg cultivates a deep understanding of how the spaces within a visual composition are equally important, if not more so, than the actual focal points of the creative piece. Through his creations he revels in how shape and color operate relative to one another, proving that, at times, absence can hold even greater meaning than its counterpart. “The recurrent theme in my work and in exhibitions of my work is the voice given to the unseen and the way it partners the seen,” Twigg says. “It is an absent presence that is immediately a visual experience. For me this intangible balance generates a mood—something with wider implications, offering pause for reflection.” A distinctive form of awareness sets the artist apart, as he exhibits a sincere …

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From Paris, with Love

Paris conjures up images of romance and beauty, like no other city. The beloved City of Lights has captured the imagination of artists, poets, and icons for centuries. It was and continues to be the melting pot and incubation hub for countless pioneers in the arts. For Michelline Syjuco, a homegrown Filipino artist, it was a global stage where she could present her stunning creations to the world; and in the face of her miniature masterpieces, Paris was brought to its knees. “I like the idea that people who wear my pieces own a part of my soul,” Michelline says, “and that each piece is as unique as the person wearing them.” A multidisciplinary artist with a breathtaking oeuvre that is truly one of its kind, Michelline’s work blur the line between art and …

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