Surviving the elements: How the eARThworks-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
MARING had been on land for some days when we braved the "mission" to meet Haruka when she lands. Along with two friends and our bold driver who steered our white van into the waist-deep floodwaters of Pasay, we met Haruka at NAIA Terminal 2, all smiles waving at us. She had a good flight. The flood was the first thing she saw from the airplane window when she woke. But what she saw on the ground was an entirely different experience. It was overwhelming for all of us inside the van, but to those outside, it was just another rainy day. We tried a different route back as the rains kept on pouring, but the few cars we were following were turning around. Impassable. We found ourselves in the same road, the least flooded out of Pasay. The heavens rained incessantly but God made it possible for us to pass safely and head home to Baguio in our now half-gray van.
Haruka Furusaka, a printmaker from Japan, came to the Philippines in November last year to facilitate a printmaking workshop using camote and woodblock for elementary and high school students in Sabangan, Mt. Province. This year she came to do two workshops, one in Baguio and the other in Sagada. These workshops are an offshoot project of the Japan Foundation Manila’s Ukiyo-e art exhibition.
Despite the typhoon, some participants from Manila made it to the workshop at Tala Guesthouse’s first floor. Almost all of the Baguio participants came. The youngest, Danielle, who is in high school, didn’t have to be absent from her classes since all classes were postponed due to the heavy rains. The downpour inspired most of the environment-themed artworks. As if to complement the moist environment, the participants worked with watercolor to bring to life the woodblock prints that represented their “present” life. Haruka encouraged everyone to barter prints with each other, to keep a memory of meeting in the monsoon month. I’m sure our memories will never be watered down by any typhoon.
The works were collected in a portfolio for organizer Cordillera Green Network to keep, and will be exhibited in “eARThworks” at Bliss Café. Also featured in the exhibit are the woodblock prints made into books by high school students of St. Mary’s Sagada and Tamboan National High School. These have been exhibited at the library of Japan Foundation manila. These prints are translations of local folktales that the students gathered from memory, from books, and from their parents or grandparents. These stories that are rooted in their community are brought to life by the same earth colors that came from their homes. The use of natural materials such as soil paint in creative activities has been Haruka’s “print” as an artist.
"eARThworks" will run from October 6 to 19 at Bliss Café in Hotel Elizabeth, Gibraltar Road Baguio City.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 03, 2013.