Milagros Delgado Enage: 100 years, 100 paintings.
100 & one of a kind
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2019 - 12:00am

I would give this artist 100 percent for the allure and vibrance of her paintings, 100 percent for her stamina, and 100 percent for her staying power. I would also give her 101 percent for her youthful looks!

A one-of-a-kind exhibit called Ageless Inspirations will open at Chef Jessie at Amorsolo Square, Rockwell, Makati on Sept. 1. What makes it one of a kind is the artist herself — she turns 100 years old this month, celebrating with family, friends, and art enthusiasts a proud legacy of creativity and productivity.

The artist’s secret to her longevity? “Less stress, being involved in things that interest me, and spiritual activities,” she says in a heartbeat.

The artist is Milagros Delgado Enage, who will showcase 100 paintings, with 80 new works in watercolor and a retrospective of 20 canvasses curated from the more than 50 years she has been painting. For me, the artist is her exhibit’s biggest masterpiece.

Enage serves up joie de vivre for all to enjoy in little dioramas of her favorite subjects — flowers, fruits, birds,  and picturesque scenes from her travels. Viewers may plainly see colorful compositions but people who know her sense the beauty, substance, and exuberance of the remarkable life that she lived and lives and her joyful experiences in the world of art.

Enage credits the beginning of her love of the visual arts when she learned printmaking under Manuel Rodriguez Sr. in the early ‘60s. She was not into flower painting until she studied with master of Chinese painting, Hau Chiok — when she was in her late seventies! She had also studied with Araceli Dans, Ibarra de la Rosa and Napoleon Abueva, and has been honing her skills in oil, acrylic, and watercolor for the last 10 years under artist Pol Mesina. She was part of two group exhibitions and launched her first solo exhibit in 2017. Her works have been displayed in the National Museum and the Miriam College art collection.

Fruits and Flowers, watercolor.

According to a primer on the centenarian, “What draws people to her artworks are her emphatic color palette and compelling combination of a delicate subject with a strong background. Art enthusiasts do not look for precision nor technical details, but instead appreciate her loose and free renderings that somehow give a casual dynamism to her still lifes.”

In her prime, Enage was a Filipiniana scholar, art patron and lecturer, gallery curator and owner, and published writer. She had a lot going on but managed capably alongside raising eight children and dabbling in painting.

Golden Thermos and Flowers, watercolor.

Her name will remain firmly in the art gallery firmament as the curator and owner of the Manila Hilton Art Center during the emerging international hotel scene in the ‘70s where she regularly displayed the works of Filipino masters such as Fernando Amorsolo, Vicente Manansala, Napoleon Abueva, Jose Joya and Cesar Legaspi. She is also an acclaimed cultural purveyor for having established the Folk Arts Center where she showcased antique Philippine jewelry, coins, carvings, costumes and artifacts, and organized art classes and demonstrations as part of her art workshops.

Mila Delgado Enage may seem unstoppable at her age and there’s no telling how many more still life artworks she is already painting in her mind. She lives more in a moment than many people do in their lifetime. So extraordinary that there can be only one of her. To live life like she does is a work of art.

Red Lotus, watercolor.

(Ageless Inspirations will open at Chef Jessie with the artist in attendance and will run until Sept. 30.)

(You may e-mail me at Follow me on Instagram @joanneraeramirez.)

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