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Arts and Culture

When neurologists are artists

SUBLIMINAL - Carlomar Arcangel Daoana - The Philippine Star
When neurologists are artists
Deep Blue Something” by Joanne Robles (Acrylic on canvas), “Neurologist Artist” by Myrna Fojas (Oil on canvas) and “The Dunes At Night” by Robert Francis Luzod (Photography)
STAR/ File

During the initial months of the pandemic, when everything came to a grinding halt and we were told to shelter in our homes to mitigate the spread of a virus of which little was known, many individuals found solace in art. In particular, with no consulting patients, doctors suddenly had free time on their hands. Some of them tentatively picked up a brush for the first time or revisited a passion that they had put aside because of the demanding nature of their profession.

While the public sphere seemed to have hushed, the inside of homes was exploding with creativity, as people engaged with the possibility of canvas to give birth to worlds. From tabula rasa, landscapes opened up with vast skies and expansive fields, flowers showcased the colors of their wild blooms, and abstract forms cascaded like the oncoming rush of celestial matter. It was a welcome — as well as a radical —change of pace, something that preoccupied hands, hearts and minds while the pandemic raged on.

Some of the works accomplished during the pandemic times — and, for a few who have been painting for quite some time, even before that — are on view in the exhibition “Neurologists as Artists” at Pinto Art Gallery. This group of doctors who specialize in the nature and function of the nervous system have a clear insight into the tonic and uplift of soul that art brings. Neurologists understand this concept on a less philosophical, more biological level: how immersing oneself in art has beneficial effects to brain function.

The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine states: “There is increasing evidence in rehabilitation medicine and the field of neuroscience that art enhances brain function by impacting brain wave patterns, emotions and the nervous system. Art can also raise serotonin levels. These benefits don’t just come from making art, they also occur by experiencing art. Observing art can stimulate the creation of new neural pathways and ways of thinking.”

“Neurologists as Artists” celebrates the artistic gains of the community. From genre scenes of landscape, still life and portraiture to incursions into abstraction, from forays into fine art photography to functional art pieces, the works embody a multitude of media and subject matter, expressing a wide range of thoughts and feelings, capturing a moment or having a glimpse of the infinite. Collectively, the works essay the artists’ respective definitions of beauty, which may be a shawl-draped capiz window, a cat emerging from a basket of yarn, or a vase of flowers.

As a space that welcomes everyone to its doors, Pinto Art Museum is proud to present this exhibition that offers a view of how neurologists have engaged head-on the call of creativity, an act that supplements their medical practice. (It is no coincidence that its founder, Dr. Joven Cuanang, is a neurologist himself and one of the most respected in the field.) Hopefully, “Neurologists as Artists” invigorates members of other disciplines to partake in the benefits of art, which affirms the beauty in the world, grounds us in our humanity, and reminds us of the purpose of what we do.

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Visit Pinto Art Museum at Sierra Madre St., Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo. Contact +63 2 8697 1015 for information.

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