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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Breaking the canvas

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Compared to other countries, the Philippines is faring well when it comes to the gender gap.

As observed, many Filipino women hold top positions in different working sectors. Historically, we did have two women presidents, and only a few countries can claim that.

While the Philippines ranks 16th among 146 countries in the 2023 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index report, our country still has a long way to go to close the gender gap, particularly because of unreported cases of domestic abuse against women and child marriages.

“While women in the Philippines experience many freedoms compared to their peers in other countries, we still have a long way to go towards achieving gender equality,” enthused United Nations Population Fund country representative Leila Joudane.

I recently finished reading a book titled The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich. The book chronicles how, in the 1970s, 46 women employees and journalists of Newsweek made a brave stand by filing a class action lawsuit against the news magazine, accusing them of gender discrimination in hiring practices.

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In the prologue, the author wrote something that still resonates today: “Women today have more opportunities and solid legal support. They are more confident, more career-oriented, and more aggressive in getting what they want than most of us are. But many of the injustices that young women face today are the same ones we fought against 40 years ago. The discrimination may be subtler, but sexist attitudes still exist.”

Povich laid out that “legal principles are not the only impediment to power.” She mentioned that “cultural transformation is harder than legal reform. The struggle for social change is still evolving.”

And I do agree that it is harder to change what we have been taught and believed in. As we say in Filipino, mahirap na baguhin ang nakagawian.

But if we want change, we need to take that step, one baby step in the right direction, to usher in new norms.

The featured artists in Conrad Manila’s ‘Of Art and Wine: Breaking the Glass Canvas’ exhibit

This is what Lara Latosa, co-curator and one of the featured artists in Conrad Manila’s Of Art and Wine: Breaking the Glass Canvas, envisions for their group exhibit.

Aside from Latosa, the featured artists are Lydia Velasco, Anita Del Rosario, Addie Cukingnan, Flor Baradi, Meneline Wong, Celeste Lecaroz, Helena, and Irish Galon.

More than just displaying artworks, the group wanted the exhibit to tell the countless stories of resilience and triumph that women experience. She hopes that through this exhibit, they can inspire future generations of artists and encourage them to pursue their passions fearlessly and unapologetically.

“Our aim is to inspire future generations of artists, instilling within them the courage to pursue their passions with unwavering determination,” said Nestor Jardin, co-curator of the exhibit and former CCP president.

Each artwork on display serves as a powerful representations of the featured artists’ identities, creating a unique tapestry of artistic style and mastery.

San Pedro, Laguna’s Latosa is renowned for her captivating abstract waves, reflecting her strong advocacy for environmental protection, especially the ocean.

“Build a foundation on passion first. In art or any endeavor, genuine passion is your unwavering motivation. With passion as your guide, neither money nor fame will hinder the joy you find in your craft,” shared Latosa.

Wong, celebrated for her fluid abstract works, made history as the first woman to win a major award in the GSIS National Art Competition in 2018.

“Life has its ups and downs, and these challenges forge our resilience over time. Each struggle becomes a stepping stone, empowering us to overcome the next hurdle,” said Wong.

With 25 years of experience in the art industry, Cukingan is a gallery owner and has served on the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Through her bold florals, Cukinhan celebrates women’s resilience, intelligence, and compassion, reflecting God’s design.

From Daet, Camarines Norte, Helena blends artistry and heritage into captivating pieces reflecting her region’s rich tapestry. She champions women empowerment, cultural preservation, and gender equality.

Baradi’s surrealism offers a unique perspective on self-representation and the portrayal of women.

“Lecaroz’s abstract realisms echo the beauty and diversity of Filipino culture, paying homage to Juan Luna’s early works in Italy.

“I call for a ceasefire in Gaza and places where women’s rights are trampled upon. To all women, be brave,” said Lecaroz.

Surrealist Galon’s art transports viewers into a world of musings, encouraging them to embrace their journey and the strength within womanhood.

Del Rosario, a master of mother-of-pearl sculpture, believes each curve tells a story of grace and strength.

“Let my art reflect the enduring beauty of women’s hands crafting creativity through the ages.”

Velasco, a sought-after contemporary artist, understands the female human experience profoundly.

“Women are caring, loving, motherly, and very strong. They can handle everything, especially for their children,” she said.

Her works remind us of the indomitable spirit of womanhood.

“As we showcase these visionary female artists, Conrad Manila reaffirms its commitment to diversity and inclusivity in art and culture,” said GM Fabio Berto.

Visit Conrad Manila’s Gallery C to view the exhibit.

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