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Young Star

Nona Garcia's 'Fractures' Missing objects

- Armi Millare -

MANILA, Philippines - The art of Nona Garcia is best seen and not read about. (But here goes; read on anyway.) Her achievements make up an impressive list: the Grand Prize at the Philip Morris’ Asean Art Awards, the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 13 Artists Award, the international exhibitions and the sensational auction sales. If that’s what defines being an artist (and for some, it’s almost the only qualification, really) then Nona’s name alone would be synonymous with the term. Yet that would only make her talent seem something less special than what it really is.

Of course, she’s an artist, but one who’s not constricted by her own success; not someone who only really impresses those who want to read, talk, buy or sell art but never come to shows to experience it themselves. Again, the art of Nona needs to be seen.

Take a look at her works and the subjects she covers in her latest show at the West Gallery. Her exhibit, titled “Fractures,” showcases the now unimportant things that were once part of everyday life, using X-rays of objects that we see lying around — all recurrent themes in Nona’s work made very familiar to us by now after her series of pieces inspired by the ravages of Ondoy last year. Her work is subdued and subtle, but eerily more evocative of the experience than the rush-and-bustle of any video footage.

In person, Nona, like her work suggests, knows how to keep things simple with zero effort. You can’t let her go without asking yourself why she painted this there or this here. And you can be at ease even if there are no certain answers because you feel the comfort of her ideas, know that they have been placed where they need to be.

She won’t deny that it takes a while to finish something, but she also knows it will produce the results she wants. That is why she uses the same method — because it will express itself in a manner that is uniquely her own, every time.

Nona’s work evokes something that is no longer there. It establishes a connection with those places that have been deleted but still bear noticeable traces of joy — or the abused definition of joy that people still rely on — robbed by tragedy or neglect.

It would be a bigger tragedy to try and describe her creations one by one, because this would do even less justice to them. How did we all get here trying to write about something we should be looking at and emotionally digesting? Maybe we should consider this an invitation to the next Nona Garcia show, and perhaps this will serve to remind us to never miss it, as we did the others.

ART

ARTISTS AWARD

ASEAN ART AWARDS

CULTURAL CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES

GRAND PRIZE

NONA

NONA GARCIA

ONDOY

PHILIP MORRIS

WEST GALLERY

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