THE latest exhibit of Cebu Artists Inc. (CAI) in Ayala Center Cebu features two artist couples: Cesar and Georgina Castillo, and Celso and Fe Pepito.
“The many years that molded us as Creative Partners, allowed us to nurture a colorful life as we journeyed together on our paths as creative individuals. Above all, these have given us great opportunities to contribute in the development of art in Cebu, and also allowed us to contribute in nation building... As couple artists, we continually nurture the importance of cooperation and self-giving. And as creating art always signifies difficulty, being partners in life, we also understand that we are prone to conflicts. But as we successfully create our artworks, we are also positive that, being bonded with the gift of art, we will continuously learn how to be creative on how we are to deal with our very own lives as Creative Partners,” read the artists’ statement.
Cesar and Georgina have been married 31 years. Cesar took up mechanical engineering in college to follow his father’s dictates. But he always wanted to be an artist. He worked in the San Miguel Corp. glass plant for a while but it was after attending an art workshop in 1992, when he eventually stopped working in the plant to pursue his art. Cesar tends to simplify, upholding that in art “less is more” and “not all has to be seen.”
His current message: “[Preserve] what was done by God; Nature, the occupation of farming, fishing. Most of the children now are lured to the city.” He also has special devotions. During the Sto. Niño novena days, he paints a Sto. Niño a day and gives his paintings away to people who, he thinks, deserve them. During Holy Week, he paints a church a day. Georgina used to critique his works until, one day in 2013, she decided to paint herself. She then found out that her paintings could sell. In the current exhibit are various scenes of roads. Her message: “The road is there and it’s up to you to find your way.”
Celso and Fe were married in 1984 and have raised their family through their art. They have also been in the forefront of organizing exhibits that promote the “richness of Cebuano art and launched exhibits also in Manila and foreign countries.”
Celso is a fine arts graduate of the University of the Philippines Cebu. His cubist paintings in acrylic “reflect a strong spirituality and commitment to a continuing apostolate that he tries to spouse in the realm of his creativity.”
More of Celso: “He is an unwavering believer that positive change in society starts in the family, the reason his works always show and depict family values and traditions, and a spirit of nationalism exemplified by subjects that are striving for self-reliance and dignity through hard work and labor.”
Fe’s association with Celso’s artistic endeavors revived her own interest in painting, and she started to paint in 1993. She says she only paints in oil on canvas, using oil paints her husband no longer uses. She paints mostly flowers, and recently delved into painting rivers. She has exhibited in Cebu, Manila and abroad. In the current exhibit, she has the largest paintings of rivers.
Seeing the “Creative Partners” exhibit gives one a sense of wonder of the art displayed, and also a sense of awe at the ties (or dyes) that bind the couples together.