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The world in water

By IGAN D'BAYAN, The Philippine Star Published Oct 11, 2021 5:00 am

While many art events in our pandemic present have bitten the dust, Gallery Genesis’ Kulay Sa Tubig watercolor competition is experiencing a re-genesis of sorts: over 300 entries were submitted this year with 93 pieces selected for the contest itself, its 33rd edition.

“In terms of trends and patterns, we see a lot of artworks related to the pandemic and the lockdown as a whole,” shares Patrice Salas, currently the president of Gallery Genesis. “Artists are storytellers and they usually create whatever it is they are currently experiencing. You will also find a lot of people working with different subjects — a lot of soul and stories.”

Turning the humble vendor or the shoemaker into a defiant figure going about his trade despite the specter of sickness everywhere is daunting. The medium is daunting as well.

 Rene Canlas’ “Standstill” (one of Kulay Sa Tubig’s Top 5 winners)

Patrice agrees. “Most of the artists would tell us how it took them years to really master watercolor because it is a moving and wet medium. You can’t afford to make mistakes in watercolor, which means you’d have to repeat your artwork all over again if you do. It is only through dedication and patience that you’ll really be able to make full use of it as a medium.”

Patrice grew up in a house inundated with artworks lovingly collected by her parents, Ernie and Chichi Salas.

 Lorenzo Ignacio’s “Sparklings and Silhouettes” (one of Kulay Sa Tubig’s Top 5 winners)

“I still remember the first few watercolor pieces I fell in love with. They were the ‘Child’ series of Rodelio ‘Toti’ Cerda, who is now a Kulay Sa Tubig Hall of Fame Artist and is considered a master of the medium. His artworks, especially back in the ’90s, were so enchanting. One of his paintings is actually mounted in my room.”

Patrice credits her parents for instilling the love of art in her. “My dad is a businessman and is all about hard work, dedication and passion. My mom (who founded Gallery Genesis) can look at an artwork and talk about how beautiful it is for hours. It is from her that I learned how to listen intently to artists, and appreciate the story and beauty behind every artwork presented before me.”

 Victor Ng’s “Bamboo” (one of Kulay Sa Tubig’s Top 5 winners)

Everything is falling around us because of the multi-headed hydra called the pandemic. But Patrice is confident that the art scene finds a way of reinventing itself and thriving in the process. Youth is the key.

 John Carlos “JC” Vargas’ “Ataraxia” (one of Kulay Sa Tubig’s Top 5 winners)

“I think now, more than ever, the younger generation are using art to speak their minds. They use it as a tool for self-expression, and don’t shy away from sharing their works everywhere — especially on social media. Social media in this digital age doesn’t actually have to be our enemy. It can go hand in hand (with galleries such as Gallery Genesis) and be used as a platform to promote young Filipino artists and their artworks.” 

And the future entries to be submitted for the Kulay Sa Tubig watercolor competition? Something to be excited about: the stunning beauty of still uncharted waters.

The Kulay Sa Tubig exhibition was held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 at SM Mega Fashion Hall. This year’s judges were Cid Reyes, Felipe De Leon Jr., Kenneth Esguerra, Patrick Flores, Mita Rufino, Tina Colayco and Millie Dizon.