Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mga Kalaki sa Baji (The Baji Arts Exhibit 2016)

"Ang Bildo nga Kisame", installation by Regina Estorba Macalandag
Now on its 6th year, the annual Baji Arts Exhibit 2016 was unveiled last Monday evening at the Oak Brook Library, showcasing 38 Boholana artists aged 11-86 and around 70 works of arts, creative interpretations of this year’s theme: “mga kalaki sa baji”.

In her installation work “Ang Bildo nga Kisame” where red female figures are barred from going further up the ladder by a glass ceiling only occupied by black male figures, research and development worker Regina Estorba Macalandag enjoins women to take on the “glass ceiling”, the “unacknowledged discriminatory barrier that prevents women and minorities from rising to positions of power or responsibility”. The accompanying note reads: Unsay kalaki sa mga baji?/ No.1 tig-atiman sa pamilya./ Mao na sa trabaho, gawas niini, /maglisod na mobida./ Kalaki sa mga baji/ Ang dugmokon ang Bildo nga Kisame/ ang dili makita nga babag/ naghikaw ug nag-abog / sa kaangayan sa responsibilidad ug gahum /nga angayang pagabahinon sa laki ug baji. 

This year’s youngest artist, 11-year-old Andre Marie Thurman, exhibits her “Women Are Not Kitchen Slaves Anymore” which depicts a playful image of girl child with chocolate slathered all over her body. In her note, however, she explains that it shows that of a kitchen slave defying her master chef by painting herself with chocolate, thus the decidedly mature title and artwork.

Youngest exhibitor 11-year-old Andrei Marie Thurman and her acrylic painting "Women Are Not Kitchen Slaves Anymore" charm Ms. Mariquit D. Oppus, the opening reception's guest speaker.
Ruby Jane Alcantara with her photography piece “Crowning Glory”, on the other hand, shows a woman’s long tresses accessorized by different thingamabobs from the “machine or carpentry work shop”.

Dr. Melinda R. Borja graciously lent to the exhibit six of her impressionist paintings by Hermogena “Nene” Lungay, mother to the Baji Arts Collective. There is the massive “Sandugo”, the dreamy “Banana Women” and four drool-worthy impressionist still life paintings of flowers in glorious watercolor.

"Banana Women", oil on canvas by Hermogena "Nene" B. Lungay
There is a fascinating double panel of artworks created by three generations of female artists: grandmother Nuevas “Jas” Tirol Montes, mother Ria Eva Montes-Sevilla, and daughter Adrianna Kyla Montes-Sevilla. Artist and educator Teresita “Ching” Abueva Floro brought her charming decoupage and Euro-folk art from Australia to showcase in this exhibit.

Other artists featured in the exhibit are: Aletheia Rio, Amor Maria Vistal, Bethlehem Joy Bullen, Chona B. Saligumba, Chrisylli Mitzi Ibaya, Claire C. Torreon, Coleen Skyler G. Tomelap, Darlene Sanguenza-Cano, Dawn Likha B. Borja, Elva Evasco-Auza, Fides Maria J. Vistal, Hermogena Borja Lungay, Irish Glori Galon, Jacquelou Curambao, Joanne Flores, Julie Bee Unlayao, Kins Aparece, Liza Macalandag, Ma. Daisylou Daquipa Manluza, Mai Ytem-Morales, Maia Binhi B. Borja, Maria Rayjane Castro Sanchez, Maricel Adiong Tirol, Marjorie Delima, Mary Grace Ido Bernaldez, Melanie B. Oncog, Nicole Asares, Pie Leopoldo Padron, Rain Calimbayan, Vida May Tirol de Juan, Virna Avergonzado.

Just a few of the exhibiting artists of this year's Baji Arts Exhibit
This Baji exhibit, with its vague-ish theme that banks more on its clever wordplay than explaining itself and could, therefore, potentially flummox someone afflicted with literalitis, that unfortunate malady of taking everything (song titles, jokes, snides, ironies, politics, the law, the Supreme Court, everything) too literally, succeeds in showcasing a healthy dose of still flowers and female portraits – homage and introspection to beauty that is female that is baji and more.

The Baji Exhibit, that shall open until the morning of March 20, is presented by the Baji Arts Collective with the support of the Tagbilaran City Host Lions Club, the First Consolidated Bank, NT & J Shirtdesigns and J. Flores Dental Clinic. The Oakbrook Library opens Monday to Saturday from 9AM to 7PM.

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