Pete Daza’s Fix Me, IsTorya Studios’ Gasera ng Paglingap at Art Fair Philippines

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
Pete Daza�s Fix Me, IsTorya Studios� Gasera ng Paglingap at Art Fair Philippines
Fix Me, a Pete Daza robot sculpture, is made of brass, aluminum, iron, steel, copper, glass and mahogany wood. It is also made of 727 handmade pieces.

Last Sunday, Feb. 19, I attended Art Fair Philippines at The Link in Ayala Center, Makati. Visiting the exhibit was a must because my brother had a sculpture on display during the weekend event. Founded in 2013, Art Fair Philippines is described as “the premier platform for exhibiting and selling the best in modern and contemporary Philippine visual art.”

It is precisely because of the fair’s reputation that my brother, Pete Daza, accepted the invitation of Kaida Contemporary Gallery to put on display his animated robot sculpture, Fix Me. Made of brass, aluminum, iron, steel, copper, glass and mahogany wood, Fix Me is a mechanical marvel made up of 727 handmade pieces that Pete toiled on for 500 hours over six months to complete. For him, it was not only a labor of love, but a therapeutic exercise as well.

Pete is one year younger than me and has always been the family artist. Even as a little boy, he loved to draw and paint, and make clay figurines. Whenever my mom would take us to the bookstore, we would make it a point to buy him art supplies. For special occasions like birthdays or Christmas, he would gift my parents with works of art. When he was just shy of becoming a teenager, he painted a Japanese geisha for our mom. She was so delighted by it she even had it framed and to this day, it is proudly displayed in my mom’s room.

This wooden horse is the columnist’s favorite gift from her brother Pete which he hand-carved himself.

A true artist, Pete loves working with his hands and he’s very good at it. He can fix cars, make furniture, sculpt, paint, draw, and even do electrical work! Every Christmas, I look forward to what he will give me because it is always something lovingly crafted by him. My favorite is a wooden horse he carved some 10 years ago.

With Fix Me, though, Pete outdid himself once again, fashioning a charming, steampunk-era brass robot with moving gears that many Art Fair patrons couldn’t resist. In the short time I was there last Sunday, I observed a steady stream of admirers who were taking photos and videos nonstop of Pete’s creation and marveling at its movements. I am one truly proud big sister!

This author’s brother the artist, Pete Daza.

IsTorya Studios’ Gasera ng Paglingap

Another work I took note of at Art Fair was the Filipino comics compendium Gasera ng Paglingap, published by IsTorya Studios. The book’s author, children’s rights advocate Chary Mercado, is the batchmate and friend of my other brother Paul, while one of the stories in the work is illustrated by digital artist Mique Aguiluz, the friend and batchmate of my son Paolo, who is in Grade 12.

While my family and I were visiting the various galleries, Paul excused himself to visit the booth of IsTorya so he could say hi to Chary and get a copy of her book. When we regrouped, Paul showed me Gasera and explained that the book consists of four disturbing scenarios/stories that show how sexual predators victimize children in the Philippines. Each story is vividly and captivatingly illustrated by its artist and features a young protagonist who heroically calls out the vile adult perpetrator of child sexual exploitation in his/her community.

Paul said he didn’t mind spending P1,500 for his copy, because his purchase meant that five public school children would get copies of Gasera ng Paglingap for free as a result. The author was compelled to write these stories because the Philippines is reportedly the world leader in creating child porn, and because one in five Filipino children has reportedly experienced sexual abuse. It is thus vital for the book’s empowering message to reach as many Pinoy children as possible. Said Chary, “The goal is to disseminate these stories in public schools for free to teach kids how to identify and call out abusers.”

Gasera ng Paglingap is available online at https://istoryastudios.ph/products/gasera-ng-paglingap.

The book cover of Gasera ng Paglingap by children’s rights advocate Chary Mercado, a Filipino comics compendium of four stories about how sexual predators victimize children in the Philippines.

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