HE was 40 when he tried his hands on creating art, and this should inspire us to try anything long after college. He wasn't even aspiring to be an artist at that time, he was merely looking around for something to augment his income.
He was gifted a dozen ostrich eggshells instead.
Now, he is the only Filipino artist carving ostrich eggs. They are not just your usual carving at that, but intricately, and highlighting Filipino aesthetics. Danilo Rayos del Sol, who aside from having a memorial park as a business venture in Taguig City, Metro Manila, is an Executive Committee member of the National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG) of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCAA) and is an artist overall curator of ManilArt.
While a Filipino-Canadian who spent his youth in family-imposed exile in Canada after getting involved in student activism in the Philippines, his family is intertwined with the large Villafuerte clan of Davao City through the matriarch, Maria Argana Rayos del Sol-Villafuerte from whom the Villafuerte clan of Davao that included the San Vicente, Fuentes, and Hilario sprung from.
He was among the throngs of Filipino-Canadians who went home to the Philippines upon the promise of a tiger economy under the Administration of Fidel V. Ramos in 1994, joining the likes of Ariel Rivera, Daphne Ocena Paez, and Tisha Silang. Being business inclined, he dabbled in small businesses aside from the Garden of Memories Memorial Park and Chapels Inc. where he is the corporate secretary. These small businesses, however, went through rough waters in 2005, he was looking for some other activities to augment his income.
Actually, it was a visit to the farm of Dante Ang that found him in possession of the eggshells.
"Niyaya niya ako sa farm niya where he has horses and ostriches and giant goats, then parang pasalubong lang, he gave me a dozen eggshells," he said.
Like many pasalubongs, Rayos del Sol didn't know what to do with the eggs, and so he checked the Internet and saw the carved eggs of Africa.
"I thought, I can also do that," he said. "Actually, I said, I can do better." He ordered his first carving materials also from the Internet; the cheap kind.
He dabbled into carving, teaching himself how, broke some, bought more and was appreciated by a friend from Couples for Christ who incidentally owns Gallerynine in Mandaluyong.
After seeing his first works, this friend challenged him to make 30 and promised to put up a one-man show for him if he does it. "I took the challenge . The rest is History," Rayos del Sol.
His first one-man exhibit was in 2007. The centerpiece of the family chapel in his house in Taguig is his Retablo dela Divina Misericordia featuring an intricately carved lattice Holy Cross, the Sto. Nino, Padre Pio Pietrelcina, Pope John Paul II, San Antonio de Padua, Divina Misericordia, St. Joseph, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and the Mother of Perpetual Help.
At the ManilArt last year, aside from the Mother and Child series that were in individual display stands, was a collage depicting landmarks in Taguig City. His Diwata series includes a couple of Tikbalangs.
Then the Bulols are a collection of the different Northern Luzon rice gods. His mantra that every late bloomer of an artist should get inspiration from: "Deal with your art with reckless abandon! Just go ahead, make mistakes, undo, redo, start all over again and experiment until you find what you're happy with your work."
Now on his 11th year as a full-fledged artist, his eggs depict figures and patterns both original and derivative folk iconography. He weaves metal and woodcraft to frame the eggs and create unique pieces that are very Filipino.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on January 14, 2018.
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