It’s never too late to heed the call. Long gone are the days when late bloomers—in love, work, and everything in between—were looked down on. Success stories that involve people past a perceived “prime” now abound. And in each of these multifarious stories, the same lessons remain: age is but a number, and time is but a river; it ebbs, it flows, and nobody knows where it goes.
In these shores, abstract impressionist Sal Ponce Enrile has gone through a similar fate: a delayed but long-deserved awakening. An erstwhile musician and public servant with a background in psychology and interior design, Sal has always had art in her, but only had time to delve into it seriously in 2017.
“I was more guarded and inhibited when I was a politician. My creative side was completely hidden. Now I feel as if a dam has just burst and this creativity can no longer be contained,” she shares.
Sal’s impressionistic work, daubed by a burst colors which careen between melancholy and exultant, is very much an unveiling of the inner workings within. In her maiden collection called Awakening, the impulse and imagination of an otherwise private person is finally given shape and form for the world to see. For her, “abstract self-expression is a form of purging one’s unwanted tensions, [since] it releases good and bad energy, making it pure, real, and uncensored.”
Awakening was unveiled on March 11, 2018 at A Space in Makati City. It was attended by Sal’s friends and family, as well as colleagues in public service, among them Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, as well as artists Rodel Tapaya and Marina Cruz.
The enthralling former legislator worked the room, a sense of profound accomplishment visible in her face, but also a sense of disbelief. After all, her belated artistic birth and baring has just transpired, and it is a real reason to celebrate. Asked to share her process, she is modest and economical, saying, “Everything I do is instinct, passion, and all heart. I refuse to overthink what I am doing, otherwise I will get stuck.”
All earnings from the show are being redirected to her choice charities. This way, Sal says, what would otherwise merely serve as totems to her “hopes, fears, moods and moments that evoke excitement, joy, anxiety, doubts, and [uncertainty]” will serve a higher purpose.
Q: Art serves a different purpose to different people. To you, is it recreation or reflection or both?
A: Painting is a form of self-expression and exploration while trying to serve a higher purpose in the process. It is not merely recreation or reflection. It is driven by a passion to make sense of this creative energy by using it as an instrument to pursue a more meaningful mission, which (to me is continuing) my advocacy of helping others.
Q: The pieces that comprise Awakening are informed by a strong send of transitiveness, of suspension, of a state of unrealized bliss. Would you say the style is a reflection of your personality, character or, or state of mind?
A: The artworks presented for this first exhibit, Awakening, represent the transitive nature of my experiences and stories in my life. They reflect my state of mind and give snippets of my personality and character as a person. They are also a glimpse into my hopes, fears and moods, and recall moments that evoke excitement, joy, anxiety, doubts, and uncertainties.
Q: You are a public figure going through a very private endeavor of artistic self-expression. How do you feel about finally revealing this side of you?
A: There is a certain degree of contradiction and enigma between my former position as a public figure and myself now, as someone transitioning to this artistic endeavor of self-expression. I was more guarded and inhibited when I was a politician. My creative side was completely hidden. Now I feel as if a dam has just burst and this creativity can no longer be contained. It is very liberating and it gives me so much relief and contentment. I'm in my “happy place” when I'm painting.
Q: You are a musician with a background in psychology and interior design, among other things. Do you think these other disciplines of yours factor in your art? Why and how?
A: My art now is a segue from my past experiences in music, interior design, psychology, etc. Deep inside it was always there but due to many circumstances in my life, it was simply put on the side.
Q: How much technicality and how much heart goes into the making of your pieces? Would you say it’s an even split?
A: I have to admit that I am not into the technical part of art; that comes to me as an afterthought of a finished work. As long as I am confident that the piece will not fall apart and fade, and the materials I used complement or reinforce each other, then I am fine. Everything I do is instinct, passion, and all heart. I refuse to overthink what I am doing, otherwise I will get stuck.
Q: Abstract self-expression can either be a gateway to one’s imagination or a way to look inward. What is it for you?
A: Abstract self-expression is a form of purging one’s unwanted tensions; it releases good and bad energy, (which makes the output) pure, real, and uncensored.
Q: What is the philosophy behind Awakening and what do you hope to achieve with it?
A: I chose Awakening as the title for my first solo exhibit because it reveals parts of me that have not been seen by anyone. It’s a new awareness and realization of the path I want to pursue for the next decades of my life.
Q: All sales from Awakening will go to charities of your choosing. Why did you choose to do it this way for your inaugural show?
A: All sales for Awakening and all my future exhibits will go to charities of my choosing, mainly for children’s welfare, health, and education. These were my advocacies as a former legislator that I would like to continue. I paint so I can help others fulfill their dreams.
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