December 4, 2022

Nonnette C. Bennett
I once was asked, “How do you appreciate art?” I simply answered that it was how you felt while viewing a piece. Many art works provoke some kind of inner conversation, an experience that comes to fore. It makes a connection, it tells a story, but it is actually your link to something, someone, a poem, or a novel, it is you finding yourself in the piece.
The Pasakalye
group of artists launched the Contemporary Art: Maki-Art Tako Ladta at the SM City Baguio last June taking over parts of the lobby and walkways. Here, is to bridging the gap
between the art and the mall goer, after all, if you catch the eye of a passerby, then art is consumed too.
I was actually drawn to the exhibit because of curiosity and a young man who I recently met, Mark Ron de Vera, who is an exceptional young man. He mentioned that he was joining an art exhibit at the mall which was not among the activities that were in his routine, like, tutoring elementary students in their modules almost daily, helping at the Breakfast Feeding for Learning, Inc. center, or playing the beat box. A group of paintings caught my attention on my way to a clothing store and when I took my time to look at the paintings, it was “Cat Aura” by him. As I said, you connect to something when it strikes a chord in you. The cat gaze and poise were amusing because recently, I waged a war against our cat who gave me the same mocking look because I would not feed her. When I looked closer at the artist’s name, it was Mark. I asked, why did you paint a cat? He said because everybody likes cats.
The wire looking sculptures dressed in the Cordillera wanes and tapis that look like mannequins were good additions to the exhibit. The choice of the ethnic accessories was novel. It was an effective to put these near the clothes shops. The collection of works in that corner was unusual because some paintings were hanging, other art forms and there was a relief on wood. The textures were varied.
“Mother’s Love 3” by Mich Camolo reminded me of mandalas. The images of the two women surrounded by repetitive patterns brings back the mandala coloring book bug. The dots and floral designs bring a kind of comfort and pain. While doing the coloring books, I discovered I am not the one who enjoys doing repetitive colors and designs. I am envious of the fine detailed work in this piece.
“Freedom” by Jen Nierva has to do with my love for the Koi fish. Recently, I did a paint by number replica of an artist’s painting which drew me to this. The colors in Nierva’s painting were like looking in a pond. Perhaps, the realism and the contrast of the orange on the blue and the swirl from the tail was freedom indeed. I enjoyed the composition of this painting.
“Empress” by Haidee Mia Bustillos reminds me of seahorses in an aquarium in Florida. The stance of the sea dwellers is something to behold. This lady likes neat strokes and circles that were perfectly added accents.
“Pet’s Have Emotions” by Jhay Zell P. Crisostomo is
another cat story. This brings to mind anime or cartoons and the animals in disproportionate sizes. There is also the lazy cat Garfield. However, there are elements in this painting that are also foreboding. The water and sky strokes have an effect on the onlooker. It is as if a storm is about to fall, and the cat will be the comfort through it. This reminds me of my friend’s cool cat Corro too.
“Fuchsia” by Janella Pidazo is a focus on the bleeding heart plant. Flowers to me are like fairies in colorful dresses. The details of the painting are smooth to follow with the eyes, the petals, crevices and the stamen like tiny legs suspended attract you. Then there is one that is all curled up which makes you engage and ask more questions.
“Bella” by Sarah Corpuz must have some deeper meaning. The dream catcher is a native American craft that catches the bad dreams in the web and lets the good dreams through. If my interpretation is right, Bella, the name which means beautiful, must be for beautiful dreams. This subject has become so popular that there are so many novelties and installations that have used this. In this piece, the patience and detail of the dream catcher is a visual wonder. It is nice to study the details.
It’s worth it to notice these pieces until August I hear. Let the art pieces talk to you too. This is truly Maki -Art Tako Ladta or Let’s just do art.
Congratulations to the almost 100 artists involved.

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