The humble shoe mold transforms into artworks

A Bible passage reads, “As is the mother so is the daughter.” (Ezekiel 16:44)

Like mother, like daughter. Ana Patricia “Patreng” Non of the famed Maginhawa Community Pantry has rallied the entire country to aid those most in need during the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now in the same vein, Ladies Who Launch, composed of Non’s mother Zena Bernardo, internationally-acclaimed film actress Dolly de Leon, Judith Albano and Jasmine Ong — founders of the Community Kitchen Project — launched Hulmahan, a touring exhibit that showcases the recreation of the unassuming shoe molds into sculptures, paintings and other works of art.

A true-blooded Marikenya, Bernardo met up with out-of-work shoemakers of her home city, whose livelihoods were adversely affected by the global health crisis. She discovered that demand for shoes has greatly diminished. So, shoemakers had to discard some of these handcrafted and made-to-order molds into the fire as kindling.

Heartbroken by this, the quartet immediately purchased 500 of these molds, locally called hulmahan. There was an urgent call and a pressing challenge for everyone to magically reshape these into artworks that may serve as a catalyst for a source of badly-needed funds for community initiatives.

01 ‘Mata sa Langit, Paa sa Lupa, Kapit sa Pangarap’ by Breih Pascua (Photo by Edu Jarque)
02 ‘Sa Paanan’ by Toym Imao (Photo by Edu Jarque)
03 ‘Tutubing Kalabaw’ by Benhur ‘Bumbo’ Villanueva Jr. (Photo by Edu Jarque)
05 From left ‘Untitled 2’ and ‘Untitled 1’ by Lydia Velasco (Photo by Edu Jarque)

Bernardo readily blasted the laudable mission all over social media to inspire and coax the creative juices and talents of everyone she could reach out to to put together beautiful creations out of these neglected pieces of wood.

Surprise, surprise! She was inundated by an overwhelming number of eager participants —approximately 800! Among the notable creative personalities who took on the dare included visual artist Toym Imao, “Floral Architect of the Philippines” Rachy Cuna, painter Susan Roces Fetalvero and sculptor Julie Lluch Dalena.

Initially, she decided to exhibit these obras all over strategic places with high foot traffic at The Manila Hotel’s Grand Lobby and Art Gallery. The highly successful display caused clamor for more, so these once-upon-a-time shoe molds are anticipated to tour around the country. We even heard the collection will be spotlighted at art capitals of the globe to showcase Filipino ingenuity.

06 From left ‘A Pixie_s Right Foot Forward’ and ‘A Dreamer_s Right Foot Forward’ by Imelda Cajipe-Endaya (Photo by Edu Jarque)
07 ‘Cicada’ by Daphne Aguilar (Photo by Edu Jarque)
08 ‘Sinugdanan’ by Diego (Photo by Edu Jarque)
09 ‘Tayo’ by Rara Carillo (Photo by Edu Jarque)


As the 1966 Nancy Sinatra hit song goes: “These boots are made for walkin’/And that’s just what they’ll do.” Allow us to let the pictures speak for themselves.

Proceeds of the artworks will benefit the advocacy efforts of the Bayanihang Marikenyo at Marikenya, the Community Kitchen Project and a community-based art school for children.

10 ‘Hope Springs Eternal’ by Lola (Photo by Edu Jarque)
11 From left ‘Patuloy na Paglakad #2’ and ‘Patuloy na Paglakad #1’ by Jonathan Dangue (Photo by Edu Jarque)
12 ‘Cosmically Aware’ by Angelo Valmoria Roxas (Photo by Edu Jarque)
13 ‘Bakunawa’ by Badz Sculptures (Photo by Edu Jarque)
14 ‘Walang Pares’ by Susan Roces Fetalvero (Photo by Edu Jarque)