Fresh works and new exhibits show how emerging artists turn difficult experiences into creative expressions and invite others towards a more hopeful vision of the future. Allan Balisi, Is Jumalon, Jay Torres, Jel Suarez, Nice Buenaventura, Patricia Perez Eustaquio, and Ryan Villamael discuss the impact of the pandemic on their creative process, the role of art in society, and the continuation of their work. Through the adroit usage of various forms of media, the artists capture a microcosm of our collective situation and draw the connections that link individuals and societies to one another and the multiplicity of the epochs of their lives.
For Allan Balisi, making art is a social act. “We’ve all felt isolated at some point or another,” he says. “Art is a means of involvement in society. I’m inspired by the courage of my artist friends, and their engagement in outright and everyday acts of resistance.”
The potential of art to heal and uplift the spirit inspires Is Jumalon. “The news about the pandemic continues to overwhelm us,” she laments. “The world desperately needs even the slightest bit of empathy. I think art can give us that.” Jumalon finds value in the small, everyday occurrences that enrich our lives, as well as the larger strides that are made towards improvement.
Jay Torres aims to illuminate human experience through his art. His works serve to facilitate his own self-discovery and encourage the viewer to similarly look inwards. His solo show in Art Underground last March, titled “(un)occupied”, frames the concepts of absence and presence within the context of the lockdown.
Throughout the lockdown, Jel Suarez maintained a prolific presence in the art world. At the time, she was based in Green Papaya Art Projects, which provides a platform for emerging artists. Her work was especially urgent, given that much of her time was preoccupied with restoring damaged materials after a fire ravaged their Kamuning space in the height of the pandemic.
An eclectic twist characterizes Nice Buenaventura’s creations during the lockdown. She was dedicated to accomplishing her postgraduate studies in media and arts, and much of her work was used to accompany her dissertation. “Necessity inspired me to keep working during the lockdown. I like seeing commitments through,” she says firmly. “I think that art, during times of crisis, articulates difficulties and challenges into a cathartic form.”
PATRICIA PEREZ EUSTAQUIO
Eustqauio notes how art can provide a means of escape from confinement. “People are always on their screens these days, looking at pictures, watching films, and all kinds of art. It provides ways of looking at things that allow people to think outside the box, and find creative connections and solutions to whatever they’re thinking about.”
Villamael mulls over the effect of the pandemic on his productivity and creativity. “I think this time only proved how important art is in our lives, whether as an escape from our troubles or an articulation of them,” he says. “At one point, at the most intense moment of the lockdown, I was making a plate a day. It became my routine and it helped give my days some structure.”
For more about these emerging artists, including information on upcoming exhibits, click on the link to BluPrint’s latest e-mag issue.