Ladies festooned with flowers. Faces painted in vibrant hues and psychedelic patterns. Women crowned with fantastic headdresses. Whether the patterns follow a tribal design, or inspired by an imaginative free-flowing scheme, the latest painting series of artist Ginny Guanco depict a conspicuous and unabashed display of energy, brio, and an unmistakable joie de vivre.
Guanco will feature these masterpieces in her upcoming one-woman show "Festival" at the Gateway Gallery in Araneta City. Opening to the public on May 20, 2022, the exhibit will showcase 25 original paintings interpreted in a variety of mediums, some of which Guanco created during the lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time when the world is still in the clutches of the deadly COVID-19 virus, “Festival” is the artist’s expression of Filipino optimism and positivity. While the world has seen so much sadness, loss, and depression, Guanco aims to encourage hope, courage, and the anticipation of good and promising prospects.
“Through my works in this exhibit, I aim to depict the festive spirit and joyous disposition of the Filipino, amidst the most trying situations. We have seen so much darkness, so many shadows, because of the ravaging effects of the pandemic. The loss of lives and livelihood are realities we must face and accept. But I think that by putting on the light, by wearing the vibrant colors of joy, we can transition much more easily into a future that’s full of potential and promise. And Filipinos are resilient because of our ability to look forward and hope for better times ahead. ‘Festival’ is my tribute to the indomitable Filipino spirit,” Guanco explains.
In “Festival,” her paean to the Filipino’s inner strength are depicted through her intricately painted detailed ethnic designs, and fantastic dream-like portraits bursting with flora and fauna. Her strokes, certain and bold, express confidence and belief in her purpose. In Guanco’s deft use of colors, the beauty of the Filipina finds varied expressions: a tribal woman bedecked by ethnic jewelry, a dusky morena with flowers in her hair, a fair-skinned mestiza with a crown on her head. Obviously, the Filipina—in her endless permutations—is Guanco’s beloved muse. She reasons, “Who to better portray the striking combination of grace and strength than the Filipino woman?”
Guanco’s love for the feminine form stems from her childhood passion of drawing female faces and figures. She would dress up these drawings in different fashionable clothes according to particular themes. In school, she relentlessly pursued this passion by joining art contests and even winning on many occasions.
“Festival” is Guanco's 2nd solo exhibit, following “Boho Chic” in 2016 where she displayed her unabashed fondness for Bohemian fashion. Here, she creatively combined two different styles in her figures–one leaning towards fashion illustration; the other showing her fascination for human anatomy. After the success of her first solo show, she branched out into making personalized, hand-painted bags. Aside from her regular floral subjects, clients would request her to draw their portraits on the bags. To date, she has done hundreds of bags by hand which she has sold, and which she still continues to do.
Guanco’s various explorations and experimentations on art shows her open-minded eagerness to evolve as an artist. And “Festival” is proof that her passion to create beauty can never be dulled by the passing of years. More than anything, her experiences have made her eyes and heart keener to the joys and beauty that life can offer.