Photo shows from left: The artists behind the Collective Visions exhibit; Sakura Dreaming by Ava Leonardo
It is not uncommon for artists to come together for a common cause. Individually, they decide to be artists more often than not for the reason that they want to bring forth something positive, idealistic even into the world through their paintings or sculptures.
The struggle of doing so is something only they understand. So when one of them has to deal with a dilemma or is thrust into a situation that requires help, it is only but natural for them to collectively pursue a solution for it. In the aptly titled ongoing exhibition “Collective Visions” at the ARTablado in Robinsons Antipolo, 15 promising artists with diverse styles have dedicated their time and artistic skills focused on one goal—helping Mai Pimentel de Dios, a painter who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 endometrial cancer.
Mai is a mother of two with a third on the way in 2020 during the pandemic. However, she suffered a miscarriage.
“I was so excited because me and my husband planned to have three kids,” Mai says. “But it was not God’s plan. So I was at my lowest that time and I needed to do something new.”
It turned out to be the turning point that led to her becoming an artist. Her and husband Sean ran a wood business and so the existing excess pieces were put together and were used as her canvas. She then used five colors of latex paint and Mai shares that she mixes the colors to come up with different shades instead of buying acrylic.
She began doing abstract art but shifted to doing portraits because she “wants to express emotions through them”. Mai adds that art has helped her heal from her depression and is excited to continue painting even during her treatment.
In September 2022, she underwent a hysterectomy. And then in December during an ultrasound, it was found that she had a mass outside her bladder and another one where her uterus was removed. During the days when Mai started her preparation for chemo and radiation therapy, her mother had undergone a heart procedure but unfortunately passed away.
“Collective Visions” features Elizza Reyes-Semple, Mr. Fu, Genzel San Jose, Joseph Maturan, Leobel Tangonan, Marie Ann Paredes, Scifi Wasabi, Stephannie Yapco, Valerie Teng, Zarah Cabangon, Calvin Vargas, Vee, Ava Pecho-Leonardo, Andrei Solmirano and Jaymee Liz. All the artists have created new works specifically for this exhibit, which runs until January 15, 2023 at the Upper Ground Floor, North Wing of Robinsons Antipolo. Tote bags featuring Mai’s works are also being sold at the venue. Parts of the proceeds from sales of the artworks will be directed towards helping Mai’s medical treatment.
Established in 2020, Robinsons Land ARTablado, a portmanteau of “art” and “entablado” is Robinsons Land’s very own stage in showcasing the Filipino ingenuity and creativity. This platform allows emerging artists to freely express themselves through art and paves the way to greater recognition of their talent and hard work. To date, ARTablado has mounted over 40 exhibitions and hosted over 300 artists.