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More women are rising in art |

Sunday Lifestyle

More women are rising in art

ALL IN MY HEAD - Monique Toda - The Philippine Star
More women are rising in art
“Women Rise: A Women Artists Exhibition” ribbon cutting: (From left) Galerie Joaquin’s Carla Teotico, SM Hotel Corp. president Elizabeth Sy, art collector Kim Camacho, BDO Private Bank president Albert Yeo, US Ambassador May Kay Carlson, ZCME’s Maritess Pineda and Jeannie C. Abaya.

Almost all the artworks were sold out on opening day, a mark of success for the recently concluded “Women Rise: A Women Artists Exhibition.” Featuring 37 female artists, the event was held in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s Month.

The exhibit, held at Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall, was organized by the Zonta Club of Makati and Environs (ZCME), Galerie Joaquin and BDO Private Bank. You could feel the “girl power” at the exhibit’s venue as paintings, mixed-media art and sculptures were displayed to demonstrate the versatility, skills, various messages and pure raw talent of each participating artist.

I had a chat with the wonderful ladies behind Women Rise, who shared, apart from their love of art, their wholehearted support for women. Art collector and expert Maritess M. Pineda, who was a past president of ZCME and current head of their ways and means committee, said that “Zonta Club’s motto is ‘women uplifting other women.’ In line with this, we put together a show of all-women artists to celebrate Women’s Month. This is the first time we’ve held an all-women exhibit, which is one way to empower female artists by providing a platform and putting the focus on them.”

A painting from Carol Llanillo’s “Geisha” series.

To add more meaning to the Women Rise exhibit is its charity angle. Jeannie C. Abaya, current president of ZCME, explains that “We belong to an international club with the tagline ‘Build a better world for women and girls,’ which is our advocacy. Part of the proceeds of the art sales goes to our noteworthy projects, including the ZCME Psychological Center for abused women and girls in Marillac Hills, Muntinglupa; our Empowering Women Scholarship Program (EWSP) at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines; and the Food Share Program. As for ZCME’s skills training, we are proud to recently have helped employ two women in deluxe hotels in Alabang. We also groom women in fields normally associated with men like in engineering.” Melissa S. Romualdez assistant treasurer, adds, “We also have a center, a building. The ZCME center is located in BCDA Taguig, which used to have a pre-school and clinic. Now, we hold acti

Charming Baldemor’s very realistic wooden carving of a bilao of suman and rice

vities in the center.”


BDO Private Bank sponsored the all-women event and Stella Cabalatungan, executive vice president of the Wealth Management Group, stated that, “In the past years, BDO as an organization, developed many CSR projects geared to education and livelihood. However, we never had projects that focused purely on women, so we found this exhibit interesting. We provide sustainability programs to the underserved, and believe this is a good program for us. In BDO, we have many women directors, and it starts with our chairperson Tessie Sy, who is the model of an empowered woman.” Furthermore, when it comes to art, Stella says, “Art is an investment that we want to share with our customers in BDO Private Bank. Art is flourishing right now and a good investment. It is also passing on a legacy. Our estate management supports and is aligned with this project, as we provide an opportunity for younger talented artists through a platform to expose them to high-net-worth individuals.”

The artworks had to be replenished daily in the exhibit, as there were many sales each day. So when I asked how many artworks were shown, there were no final numbers yet. This is a good thing. Galerie Joaquin and its group managing director Jack Teotico curated the exhibit. The ladies of ZCME had their recommendations as well.

What’s interesting is that a couple of Zonta members — artists themselves — are included in the Women Rise exhibit. One is Carol O. Llanillo, a past president of ZCME, and a talented and popular artist. Carol did a collection on women and children. One was “The Girl on the Prairie,” and her “Geisha” series. Carol began her art journey in the ‘80s, starting with Chinese brush painting, which she did for 15 years. After that she moved on from watercolors to oil painting. She has been commissioned to do the portraits of all Philippine presidents, and has also done homages to other Filipino artists like Zalameda and Anita Magsaysay-Ho. Very versatile and skilled, she describes her favorite style as “realism impressionism.”

Intricate and amazing wooden sculptures were also on display, done by Charming Baldemor, a niece of the great artist Manuel Baldemor. She is also a ZCME member. Charming’s wonderful sculptures are of Filipino fruits and food. What caught much attention was a wooden bilao of suman and rice that was so realistic. Of course, it was sold on day one. It’s also very heartwarming to know that Charming has created a community of PWD in Paete, Laguna, whom she has trained and developed to help her in her sculptures. This is her personal advocacy. She also creates wearable art such as wooden bags.

Since I am into flowers and most things floral, the lovely mixed-media artworks of Melissa Yeung Yap caught my eye. Melissa also uses indigenous materials in her paintings such as patches of  t’nalak, or abel. The carved frames for her masterpieces are done by artisans from Tarlac. Her work supports local communities by utilizing and promoting their work. Her “Women Rise – Empower” piece was made with t’nalak, acrylic on canvas and had a carved wooden frame. She had smaller pieces, too, also from her “Women Rise” collection.

There was a lot of art to cover in “Women Rise: A Women Artist Exhibition.” There were many stories as well that resonated, most especially in the month of celebrating women. As Maritess Pineda says, “In our club several of us have a passion for art. We share this passion in this exhibit. It is also a way to educate others on art appreciation, which is becoming mainstream. This is just the beginning. Down the road we plan more exhibits; talks on the different aspects of art, including art therapy, which can help abused children and heal depression. There are so many ways to express art, so we will focus our energies on promoting it. Art has no boundaries.”

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