Dumaguete city artists collaboration celebrating National Arts month
Atoa is a collection of transcendent pieces of varying mediums and techniques from 36 gifted artists, who call Dumaguete home in their own ways. It is a product of the togetherness we hope for in our solitude, and the fulfilling feeling that while we are in isolation, we are never completely alone.
Dakong Balay, otherwise known as the Serafin Teves mansion, is a familiar sight to every Dumagueteño. Situated at the corner of Rizal Boulevard, the mansion possesses a history of Dumaguete unlike any other heritage building in the city.
In 1945, during the Japanese occupation, the mansion was forcibly taken from those who resided in it for their own use. The mansion, which served as their headquarters for many months, did not remain unscathed when they finally left; the Japanese Imperial Army burned their incriminating documents, and the house burned down with it. The arrival of the year 1946, however, was celebrated for two reasons: it marked the end of a war, and the mansion loved by many was rebuilt, signifying the beginning of a new chapter.
Walking through the gallery
The Territorial Imperative, a novel written by Robert Ardrey, proposes that humans are innately territorial. For an artist, it is an all too familiar instinct. To birth a masterpiece, an artist must honor a delicate dance; they must be precise in every stroke, smooth in every mold and intricate in every seam.
A fragment of their piece alone is a passionate process, thus concluding a piece would be the end of an odyssey. To undergo a process so tormenting only for it to be misunderstood by an unimpressed audience is painfully ungratifying, therefore the fear of an artist to unveil a composition is forgivable. But in all of life’s strange ironies, art becomes more beautiful when it is shared.
When an artist unveils their art, it is no longer just theirs; it will be part of every person who examines it. This art piece will now be a part of the beholder, as much as it is a part of the artist.
Art is an experience; as each color blends into another, the viewer is taken to memory or overcome by an emotion they have yet to experience for the first time.
However, art is beautiful not for the myriad of colors used or the techniques so carefully practiced; it becomes transcendent because it is made from an emotion felt so deeply by the artist that resonates with the viewer. It is a reflection of how they perceive the world around them — the very same world the viewer perceives.
And for the art to be understood — to share the same emotion — is an acknowledgement that the artist and viewer share the same skies and the very same seas.
It marks a year since we have been stripped from being able to be together. As we welcome in a new year — not quite a fresh start, the ghosts of previous year still haunt us — February brings in a sense of normalcy. It calls for us to celebrate what has kept us going through quarantine: art.