IT is always best to showcase a rich culture through arts. This is a belief, Gilbert A. Miraflor, a Dabawenyo artist strongly believes.
True enough, in his first international watercolor painting show which was held in Slovakia last August 22-30, Miraflor proudly presented before foreign individuals the unique culture of Davao’s tribe - Bagobo.
The painting, which he named Bagobo dance, was displayed in the Ministry of Culture in Bratislava, Slovakia. It shows a Bagobo man and woman, dressed with in their tribal attires and dancing with their tribe’s musical instruments, an imagery of a rich culture.
“I’m a figurative artist, I like painting humans and people. With the exhibit I put some Filipino cultural theme. It is always my intention that in my international engagement I will showcase our culture,” he proudly shared.
Miraflor is the sole representative of the Philippines for the international watercolor show. It was attended by a number of artists from 51 countries.
In the exhibit, the artist emphasized that the highlight of his international show is the rare experience of doing a live demonstration before the foreign artists.
“It was only me and AtanurDogan, the founder and president of International Watercolor Society, who had the opportunity. Fortunate enough they like my style: the Ala Prima style or spontaneous painting style,” he said.
Ala Prima or direct painting is a style of painting in one application and without retouching. After the success of his Slovakia show, Miraflor is currently having another show in a museum heritage in Indonesia.
This time, Miraflor’s artwork to be shown is titled Panyorita, an Indonesian couple dancing with their tribal wears on.
“I showcase Panyorita in Indonesia to establish mutual cultural exchanges. You may notice that most of my artworks in international exhibits, we feature cultural dances. It is because it depicts a celebration of our culture,” he said.
He added: "As we show interest on various cultures in Indonesia, they in return will be interested on ours." Miraflor, in an interview, took the chance to share his experience to aspiring artists and hopes to inspire them in a way.
“For the aspiring artists, I want to underscore that a life of a true artist is colorful and meaningful. Yes, there will be struggles, but it will be nothing compared to the fulfillment it gives. We love what we do and we welcome whatever it has for return,” he said.
Sharing his love with watercolors, the artist said: I am most comfortable with watercolor, yes it was hard at first but I learned to understand her grace and control her actions through the years.
He said that a watercolor is a medium in its own. One doesn't always know what will happen with watercolors because of its unpredictability. But he said that if one can learn and understand its unpredictability and learn how to control it, great things are apt to happen.
“I developed my style for 10 years, that is the length and duration before I found my artistic identity and it can only be achieved through constant and persistent practice,” Miraflor said.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 24, 2017.
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