ARTWORKS that have religious stature are the masterpiece of local artist Niño Emmanuel Tapuela "Edsol" Celestial.
His religious artworks can be found in some prominent Catholic churches and shrines in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, and other parts of the country including that of the Vatican which received the portrait of the Our Lady of the End Times, as a gift to the Holy Father by San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza who turned over the portrait of the Our Lady of End Times (The Blessed Mother) to the Holy Father Pope Francis in the Vatican on May 27, 2019.
Celestial discovered his penchant for the arts when he was eight years old.
"I already started paintings. When I was in high school, I dreamed of studying at La Consolacion College of Architectural Drafting. I held my art exhibit where the dean of the ARFIEN noticed my potential in fine arts. The dean told me to shift my course to fine arts as many subjects in Architecture were already included. So I shifted to Fine Arts. When I graduated, they were surprised to see my name in the newspaper as 4th placer in the PLDT Centennial Year art competition and learned that I was studying Fine Arts. Brother Augustine "Gush" Boquer, former President of USLS Bacolod saw my exhibit published in the newspaper and he invited me to also do an art exhibit. So I painted religious images and the USLS looked for potential buyers. Brother Boquer urged me to focus my art on painting religious portraits which I did. Until now, I paint more religious images," he shared.
He painted a huge image of Our Lady of the End Times, which many people have noticed to be distinct from his other artworks.
He received divine messages through his dreams about the Our Lady of the End Times but he was unmindful of it. Until it reached his attention for the fourth time, where he mentioned such to Dr. Villacin who is a Divine Mercy and Our Lady of the End Times devotee.
"Dr. Villacin told me to pray and discern if those messages indeed came from the Blessed Mother," he said.
In August 2018, Dr. Villacin called up to ask Celestial for an update about his possible painting of the Our Lady of the End Times and she told him that she will help him realize such religious artwork as she was not able to sleep for two days from the time she heard about his dream.
"A message of "Value me, Love me" appeared while I was in the process of painting the religious masterpiece," he added.
His masterpieces have been patronized by many art enthusiasts not just here but also outside of Bacolod and Negros. His paintings reached as far as Laoag, Ilocos Norte at St. William Cathedral, and San Rafael Diocesan Shrine of Sacred Heart in Bulacan.
His religious masterpieces have a great impact on him and his family.
With his engagements in painting religious images, he remained in his Catholic faith. He underwent many challenges which only strengthen his faith in the divine presence of the Blessed Mother.
"Even though we face many trials, we just hold on to Her," Celestial said adding that by his faith in the Blessed Mother, he can discern divine messages.
"The Blessed Mother wishes for conversion which will emanate from the human heart, not just the human work. Reconciliation, communion, confession, attending church mass and praying the Holy Rosary were part of Her apparitions before the Our Lady of Fatima," he shared adding that it is worthwhile to always pray the Holy Rosary.