February 1, 2023

Be-ei is the Ibaloy word for woman and the title of the gathering of visual arts and crafts from 42 women exhibited at Vocas of La Azotea Building along Session Road. Opened on March 8, the COVID-19 couldn’t stop a crowd of artists and the audience from converging in the art space to celebrate the International Women’s Day.
The poster in part reads: “This show is about a woman’s inspired and much-needed “bunting-hininga”, her sigh.” This is the valuable guide for one to view the creative expressions of the women artists who were mothers, daughters, lolas, carers, creators, healers, fighters, heroines, freethinkers, or queens in the moment.
One identifies with the works or at some point the works speak to the viewer. One part of you listens to the gentle or loud sigh of the woman in these complex digital days while the other part is consumed in the work.
Dumay Solinggay in “The Long Winter Night” has poetry and croquis on video. A video with the image of a face mask that has “Love in the time of Corona” written on it and a super-imposed text that reads: “We die too when old people stricken by the disease in Wuhan breathe their last” is the artwork she passed while she is geographically located in another country. She comments on the gripping reality of the COVID-19 hitting on everyone’s survival at this very moment and hour around the globe.
Jessica Faye Marino’s assemblage, “In Her Shoes” comments on sexual abuse. The stark nature of the black and whiteness of rape and violence that children and women live with is discarded by society in the judicial process. The high heels make it easier for the social systems to judge the gray shades more than the darkness that swallows the woman or the innocent forever.
Marj Olivete used a mixed media of cloth, paper, thread, and paint for her “Isipang Kababaihan”. China Valdez used cloth and thread in her “Card of Destiny”. Both artists presented the colorful world of the contemplative woman and what she deals with in her mind using different canvases. They rendered their works through stitches and embroidery.
Black and white mobile phone photographs by Mia Magdalena have immortalized real women in their milieu. She captured the metaphors in the many tasks of the woman when she saw them through her cellphone lenses.
Lissa Romero de Guia writes, “My watercolor painting of my daughter Amihan, entitled “Dreamy.” The installation includes a pillow made of one of her old t-shirts, a pair of miniature Japanese slippers, her knitted dolphin stuffed toy and one of her original drawings.” The installation defines the mother that is Lissa. She puts premium in her hands and its power to create in a painting, in repurposing, and an object. In effect, the installation is a ritual Lissa has performed for her daughter. She seemed to have passed on to Amihan the creative woman and mother in her.
Malaya de Guia’s wool “Star Mother” is a happy break from the varied themes and materials of the exhibit. An unusual art material, wool and its softness, expressed the genteel nature of mothers who brighten the lives of her family members. Strands of wool fiber were dyed and shaped into a figure of a woman with long braided tresses carrying a star.
These are six of the 42 artists whose works fill the walls and nooks of VOCAS until May in celebration of the multi-faceted woman of today. The thing with art is you have to take your time to respond to it or allow it to speak to the inner you.