Monday, March 16, 2020

Self-Portrait: Mga Hulagway sa Baji

The curator, muralist Jhacky Curambao-Aballe.

Baji articulates and highlights her many forms, reflections and iterations in its aptly titled 2020 Women’s Month exhibit “Mga Hulagway sa Baji” which opened last March 10th at the Lobby of the New Bohol Provincial Capitol Building.

Run by the Baji Arts Collective, a group of Boholana visual and literary artists advocating for the creation of positive spaces for women to nurture their creative expressions and aspirations, this is their 10th annual group show, the longest-running annual exhibit in Bohol. Baji explains that while this year, they did an “open-themed” call for artwork submissions to give the baji artists the liberty to creatively splurge organically, and as a kind of self/group appraisal, there emerged from the baji artworks, a common mood, a color palette, a melody, a story. Thus Baji’s “Hulagway”, curated by muralist Jhacky Curambao-Aballe, is part introspective and extrospective, a wrapping up of a decade’s work and persistence, and a salutatory celebration for the next years of feminist creative action.

Kins Aparece, with Dimpna Cutin and Jas Montes, reinterprets the 2013 Baji Exhibit installation of Kins with now Australia-based Regina Estorba Macalandag and Marla Jane Reyes, “Every Woman’s Boudoir”.

It is said that art is a reflection of the self, of society, which is a daily maelstrom, a madhouse, especially amplified these days with the current pandemic, but there’s also another image of the world, one that’s warm, luminous, and wonderful. And these two and many others totally co-exist and that’s life, that’s “Hulagway”.

Kate Pepito with her painting “Phoebus” (mixed media on canvas, 36”x24”)
Paintings of first time Baji participants 19-year-old architecture student Kate Pepito (“Phoebus”, mixed media on canvas, 36”x24”), 18-year-old senior high ‘arts and design’ student Fria Vale CastaƱares (“there she glows”, acrylic on canvas, 36”x24”), and 29-year-old illustrator Raquel Li (“Transience of Love and Beauty”, oil on canvas, 36”x24”) portray the baji radiance, in literal golds and yellows, but in a complex, almost esoteric light, as with the works of Baji veterans Daisy Daquipa-Manluza (“Beautiful Mess”, acrylic on canvas, 36”x24”), Jas Tirol-Montes (“Secret Love”, acrylic on canvas, 36”x24”), and Ma. Julie Bee A. Unlayao (“Peculiar World”, acrylic on canvas, 36”x24”).

Dimpna Cutin’s blooms-filled work is bliss on canvas but when she entitled her piece “Muses of Innocence” (mixed media on canvas, 36”x24”), well, maybe there’s a melancholia to that euphoria.
Karla Gonser, 18, in her photography art “The Warriors of Red”, highlights the extraordinary strengths of women and her advocacy to combat the stigma of menstruation and other women’s natural biological cycles.

Aliza V. Goloso, senior high arts teacher and mother of 3, encourages guests to touch and feel her soft sculpture entitled “Revisit”.
The youngest of the exhibiting artists, clearly showing a depth in their works that may be surprising for their age but is totally normal adolescent acuity: XK Racho, 15, with “Overwhelm” (mixed media on canvas, 36”x24”), showing a steel-blue-eyed youth deluged with either head pats or head scratches, and the duo Andrei Marie Thurman, 15 and Aaliyah Elise Cadorna, 16, worked together in both of their pieces, “‘Till Death Do Us Part” (acrylic on canvas, 36”x24”), that depict a flourished skeletal bride and groom, an imagery that can’t be erased what with the much-used phrase of the month “love in the time of the coronavirus”.

With 43 artists showcasing works that include paintings, photography, installation art, soft sculptures, prose and poetry, there’s definitely more to these artworks than meets the ‘hulagway’. Have a visit and see for yourselves.

Baji artists pose with the work of the late Baji artist Sandra de la Serna.
The exhibiting artists of “Mga Hulagway sa Baji” are: Aaliyah Elise Cadorna, Aliza V. Goloso, Amor Maria J. Vistal, Andy Tocmo, Andrei Marie Thurman, Anna Marie Perez, Anna Palban, Dimpna Cutin, Elva Evasco Auza, Fides Maria J. Vistal, Frances Rona Ramirez, Freyk CastaƱares, Gladys Gallentes, HB Atup, Irish Glori Galon, Jas Montes, Joanne Flores, Judy Piollo, Junalyn E. Alivio, Karla Gonser, Kate Pepito, Kins Aparece, Krizia Gonser, Lea Luminarias, Liza Macalandag, Lumin Tirol Pamaran, Ma. Daisylou Daquipa Manluza, Ma. Julie Bee A. Unlayao, Ma. Sylvia Gonser, Marjorie Delima, Marla Jane Reyes, Mary Grace Bernaldez, Mary Rose Apostol, Miriam Gallentes, Nam Intal, Nicole Asares, Raquel Li, Regina Estorba Macalandag, Rolaine Bautista Uy, Shai Rica, Vanessa Jane Jumoc, Winnie Causing, XK Racho. Baji also includes Hermogena “Nene” Lungay✞, the matriarch of Bol-anon visual arts, and artist-educator Sandra de la Serna✞ in the list to memorialize the two.

“Mga Hulagway sa Baji” runs until March 27, 2020 at the Lobby of the New Bohol Provincial Capitol Building.

Baji, through the years...

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