Rachel Ngan Dueñas: Brushin blossom

Celebrated tea sommelier and visual “healing” artist Rachel Ngan Dueñas recently unveiled her second solo show at the eminent Galerya Amalia in LRI Design Plaza, Makati.

This astonishing exhibition, named “Country of Flowers,” presented a profound look into Duenas’ unique form of “healing art,” a genre that transcends traditional creative limits and inspires an outlet of emotions that revitalizes the spirit and mind.

Long before Dueñas’ brushes even make contact with the canvas, her artistic process unfolds with the beauty of a flower in blossom. She offers friends and clients the chance to participate in calming experiences during her therapeutic tea meditation sessions as a tea sommelier.

Over a hot cup of tea, these get-togethers provide participants with a safe haven where they can relax and reflect.

Dueñas recently took her healing artistry to the global stage during Paris Fashion Week in France. There, she held private tea meditation sessions for the multitude of personalities working tirelessly behind the scenes during this extravagant event. Her sessions proved to be the perfect antidote for the pent-up stress that had accumulated through their demanding work.

From the depths of these transformative tea meditation sessions, Dueñas artfully absorbs and transforms her participants’ inner struggles, anxieties and pains into elegant paintings. 

Art critic Cid Reyes aptly describes her creations as “seemingly naive in execution but quietly expressive.” It was Reyes himself who encouraged and supported the development of “Country of Flowers.”

In an exclusive interview, Dueñas reflected on the journey leading to this remarkable exhibition, stating, “This is two years of progress.” 

She eloquently drew parallels between her art and the blooming of a flower, remarking, “When a flower is closed, it doesn’t see the sunlight. But when it blooms, it bathes in the sun’s radiance.”

Dueñas told the DAILY TRIBUNE, “Humans are similar; our struggles define us. You may not see it, but it transforms you for who you are. Before we know it, we, too, become the flowers that are blooming.”

Visually, Dueñas’ artistic style draws inspiration from luminaries, such as Gauguin, Monet and Matisse. She skillfully wields color to weave untold stories within our individual psyches, delving into the intricate dialogues we have with ourselves, with others, with nature and with the divine.

Among the captivating pieces featured in the exhibition, “The Grotto” stands out, inspired by a shrine nestled beneath the salt mines of Poland. It offers a striking contrast between the vivid and lush grotto within a dreary cave, providing an oasis of color and respite in the midst of a bleak representation of toil and stress.

Other notable creation, such as “Genesis,” “Mountain of Hope” and the “Sorrows Crossing,” that embody the concept of accepting one’s sorrows as an integral part of the world’s unfolding narrative. 

These artworks are adorned with vibrant strokes that evoke a melancholic emotional aura, inviting viewers to reflect on the complexities of the human experience.

These exquisite paintings, along with others, will grace the hallowed halls of Galerya Amalia from 7 to 29 October.