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Whee Cha Delgado’s vibrant art

By Frannie Jacinto, The Philippine STAR Published Nov 15, 2023 5:00 am

Joining my good friend Helen Ho Delgado for a relaxing, homecooked lunch was a welcome treat after a series of busy socials. An added surprise was a quick visit to the atelier of her talented daughter-in-law, Wonhee Cha Delgado or Whee, who was busy putting the final touches on one of the large, vibrant and bright diptychs for her forthcoming exhibit at the Leon Gallery on Nov. 16.

The Korean-born artist graciously took a break to show me around the spacious studio filled with natural sunlight. As she explained, “I paint almost every day; sometimes even when I don’t feel well or am not in the mood. And many times, it turns out to be one of the most productive days. Painting gives me energy and I spend four to eight hours per session. I like to paint also on the weekends because it’s quiet, less people calling.”

A huge Whee diptych serves as the backdrop in the home of Helen Ho Delgado shown here with author Frannie Jacinto and Whee Delgado

Having been exposed to galleries and museums from a very young age, Whee knew she wanted to be like her mother, Haesook Kim, who was a painter, installation artist and lecturer at Ewa University in Korea.

Annyeong: Whee and Rashid Delgado with their children Dylan and Chloe in Korea

Living in the Philippines has given Whee enough time to appreciate our lush, abundant and green tropical flora, from which she gets her inspiration.

“Starry Night” is a fun and challenging work.

She shares, “The places where I grew up and studied (Rhode Island School of Design and a master’s degree in sculpture from the Seoul National University) always had four seasons. So, witnessing the tropical plants grow with such visible energy at all times of the year has been intriguing and inspiring. I believe beyond what we see on the surface there are some things more important that connect the dots, that carry important meaning.” 

“A Study for Nature”

Doting husband, Rashid Ho Delgado, has been surrounded and exposed to art, not only with a talented artist wife but most especially growing up with his grandmother, the famous Anita Magsaysay Ho, who continually attracts numerous art collectors vying for her works whenever they are offered at the top auction houses here and abroad.