June 21, 2024

Portrait sketches of healthcare workers who have died from battling an invisible enemy is an artist’s fitting tribute to the brave frontline workers.

As healthcare workers around the country are falling ill and dying from the coronavirus disease 2019 that has infected more than 5,000 Filipinos, musician and visual artist Aurelio Castro III honors their heroism through his art.

“It is my way of honoring the health workers’ heroism and also to empathize with their bereaved families. Nakakalungkot,” said Castro, who is the guitar player of the seven-piece band Juan Pablo Dream.

As of April 8, Castro has drawn sketches of the faces of 15 of the fallen doctors using pen and ink.

He was hoping that his sketches of nurse Alvin Pascua and Dr. Mary Grace Lim of the Asian Hospital and Medical Center were the last. He finished their portraits by April 9. Unfortunately, they were not the last.

“NadagdaganMabigat sa loob noong nag-check ako for photo reference. ‘Yan mismo ang nasa loobin ko. Huwag na sana madagdagan,” he said.

Left with nothing much to do at home due to the enhanced community quarantine, Castro made it a worthwhile project to do sketches of healthcare workers who died from the disease.

“After finishing a sketch of my family, I had to think of a personal project so I won’t get bored in the house doing practically nothing. Then I saw the news online about the doctors, there and then I decided to make them the subject for my new project,” he said.

His sketches were portraits of doctors Greg Macasaet III, Rose Pulido, Israel Bactol, Raul Jara, Marcelo Jaochico, Sally Gatchalian, Henry Fernandez, Francisco Lukban, Hector Alvarez, Raquel Seva, Dennis Tudtud and wife Helen Tudtud, Leonardo Resurreccion III, Nicko Bautista, and Dino-Ezrah Halili.

Castro based his drawings from photos posted on social media. The portrait sketches are displayed on his online gallery.

Castro joined Baguio artists in the Ibagtit exhibit last Feb. 8 at the Luisa’s Café in Baguio City where he has done more than a dozen pen and ink on paper sketches of Baguio landmarks.

He has also done sketches of the Loakan village, among which is the house built by Baguio pioneer Kustacio Carantes, grandfather of the late Ibaloy artist Geoffrey Carantes, former owners of lands from Loakan to Camp John Hay.

Castro’s passion for sketching practically brings him around Manila from his residence in Pasig City on his bike.

He chooses a spot then sketch mostly of architectural landmarks. It was why he came up to Baguio to have a different perspective and new challenge.

“It was the same reason why I am always in Baguio,” Castro said.

After quitting school, he became a painter but in 2005, he went to music when they founded the Juan Pablo Project and released an album. This was followed up by another album in 2009 and for the next six years, the band had gigs in Manila but later disbanded.

This year, the band got back together and recorded a single “You Can Feel (You Are Free),” which has been released through Spotify. – PNA