Woman painter to open art gallery in Pampanga

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Monday, July 28, 2014


GUAGUA -- Painter Maria Mila Mabanta dela Fuente will open the first ever home-based art gallery here on August 16 that features feminists paintings and an assortment of visual art pieces done in varying styles.

Dela Fuente is currently among the few woman painters in the province and her gallery is the first ever gallery in Pampanga that is run by a woman painter. Her supportive husband had built for her a gallery to house more than 200 paintings she has done in past couple of years.

"I love painting and I find inspiration in so many things, from painters to my family and even from everyday life," Dela Fuente said, adding that her works have always been her own "personal children" which she sometimes find difficulty in parting with.

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Dela Fuente said that she would have clients that would fancy a painting she has made but she would always had to content with the personal struggle of whether to sell something that is very close to her heart. Her artworks are a collection of various genres and themes but a recurring subject of her paintings are also women.

"I find it a source of pride that I paint women subjects and bring a certain empowerment not just to me but to those who see these paintings," Dela Fuente said as she shows a painting of Flamenco dancer she has just recently finished.

Ola, as friends call her, finished a law degree at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1983 and Bachelor of Science in Management from the University of Santo Tomas in 1979. Even then Ola’s only encounter with art is her penchant for drawing sketches and funny caricatures of her teachers. But she never took art seriously then and was more of a jeweler-seller, which was her family’s business. She recalled selling college rings. This entrepreneurship bravado led to the establishment of her jewelry shop later on.

She married a Kapampangan from a prolific business clan and settled in Guagua town. Her husband did not think twice of supporting her when she decided to concentrate on her painting. Her jewelry business is still open to valued clients.

After amassing a large collection of paintings and selling dozens of them to clients and patrons, she has decided to open an art gallery at her home in Barangay San Roque to showcase her work. The gallery will also serve as a staging area and meeting place for fellow artists.

Dela Fuente has been doing small class instructions to youngsters on painting but she hopes to also influence other women in the town to pursue painting and other artistic endeavors. She adds painting has given her a feeling of freedom she has never felt before.

"It is that freedom to create and express your innermost feelings on canvass. For me that is both liberating and inspiring," Dela Fuente said.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 29, 2014.

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