National Women’s Month exhibit at Conrad Manila breaks barriers

Lara Latosa

Lara Latosa – Tibay ng Babae

Women consistently face many barriers in whatever field they may wish to pursue. This could be in the form of preferential treatment or unwarranted discrimination which hinders them from unleashing their full potential.

To commemorate and celebrate National Women’s Month, Conrad Manila will unveil Of Art and Wine: Breaking the Glass Canvas, a group exhibit which takes a firm stance on the proverbial hurdles. It aims to showcase the stellar achievements and artistic excellence of nine women, as they push the boundaries of the creative milieu further, in their own personal ways.

Let us meet these persuasive and decisive women:

Meneline Wong, MD, a celebrated Quezon City-based practicing obstetrician-gynecologist and abstract professional, is a firm believer in the coexistence of science and art. She successfully broke the “glass canvas” as the first woman to garner a major distinction at the GSIS National Art Competition. Her Strength in Beauty series speaks of challenges, as they empower one for the future.

Contemporary painter Lydia Velasco, born in Navotas, has developed her own distinct muted and monochromatic style. With the duality of a woman as her eternal subjects, she portrays women as hardworking and independent, but likewise as tender and graceful—one does not compromise the other—as seen through her Songbird and Songbird 2 pieces.

Born in San Juan, Batangas, Celeste Lecaroz’s sporadic brushstrokes is infused with callbacks to Filipino arts and culture, as she derives inspiration from the painter-political activist Juan Luna. This is best represented in España y Filipinas in spontaneous realism, as she calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, plus everywhere else, where women and the vulnerable are endangered and compromised.

Hailing from San Pedro, Laguna, co-curator Lara Latosa has flourished through her abstract weaves inspired from her environmental advocacy – the ocean. Tibay ng Babae and Aruga ni Nanay are testaments to the crucial role of women, especially as they pave their way through male-dominated industries.

The sought-after jewelry expert known through the mononym Helena, from Daet, Camarines Norte, incorporates her homeland’s history and heritage which unravels the culture and traditions. In her thrust for gender equality and women empowerment, she has fashioned sterling silver accessories such as the Sculptural Crucifixion Series V.

Cavite-based Irish Galon embodies the color pink in her surrealist fantasy world, which lulls art lovers in a dreamlike trance. Deep Slumber alludes to the calmness within one’s self, while Home encourages the female audience to embraces the strength in womanhood to be comfortable in their lives.

Anita del Rosario is an adept at the coveted mother-of-pearl sculptures, which are defined by the material’s strength and resiliency, coupled with an iridescent finish. The creations from her atelier include Inang Perlas and Venus, which both feature intricate curves which harken to the beauty molded by women’s hands throughout the centuries.

Self-taught floral visual maestro Addie Cukingnan is a decades-old veteran in the field. In fact, she even heads the popular Artepintura Gallery in Ermita, Manila, and once donated 60 of her works to the United Nations Children’s Fund. Her contributions channel the word of God through passion and resilience, as seen in her Ganito Kami Ngayon obras.

The whimsical Flor Baradi from Butuan City, is inspired by her environs’ flora and fauna. But now, she invites viewers into a world of comic surrealism where bodily anatomy is challenged as a way to stay true to the self in a world where beauty standards and fashion trends shift in the blink of an eye. Jupiter’s Muse Io in the Celestial Future is a message to embrace uniqueness and authenticity.

Together, these nine women constantly and continue to break the glass canvas and are off to greater heights.

Breaking the Glass Canvas is curated by Nes Jardin, consultant of SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation, the brains behind the highly-successful Of Art and Wine series, which gives opportunities to established veterans and new blood regardless of gender, race, or origin, among many others. Of Art and Wine: Breaking the Glass Canvas, presented by Conrad Manila, will run from 19 March to May 25.