Artist group continues to create despite adversity

In more ways than one, the pandemic was a life-changing and game-changing experience for people worldwide. While some chose to barricade themselves at home, others saw it as an opportunity to try something new.

Some sewed fabric face masks or began experimenting in the kitchen—remember those trays of sushi bake and ube cheese pandesal that small enterprisers sold on social media?

Unable to perform before audiences, hip-hop artist Jhomar “Jhoms” Lim founded a Facebook group that he dubbed Filipino Artists, Collectors, and Enthusiasts (ACE) of Art. As a child growing up, he developed a sense for the visual arts as he participated in different art activities in school and church. His interest later expanded to include the performing arts in college, which led to his becoming a professional dancer and theater actor. Jhoms has continued to paint and focus on realistic depictions of flora, fauna, and food.

In two years, and with the help of the page’s admins and moderators, ACE has grown into a community with over 20,000 followers. To “bring people together through art by providing harmony and a sense of pride with every artist’s creation,” ACE of Art is holding a group exhibit at ARTablado at Robinsons Galleria until November 2.

The theme “Pagsibol: Tawag sa Pag-asa” was chosen to focus attention on Filipino artists’ continued growth and development despite the hardships brought about by the pandemic.

“With every endeavor, Ace of Art aims to present beautiful art collections from a mix of the group’s varied but unique-styled artists whom one can be proud of to present locally and internationally,” the group said.

The ongoing exhibit features paintings as well as sculptures and mixed media. Some featured talents include steampunk artist Ferdinand Sanchez, who incorporates metal art into wood, resin, fiberglass, and Paete’s traditional crafts. Instead of metal, he sometimes uses recycled materials like old toys and gadgets to accessorize his works.

JL Timbreza-Siao is a baker, carpenter, and web and graphic designer who combines her skills to produce her pieces. Riyadh-based Joseph Cabugos is an architect whose hobby is crafting miniature versions of the iconic jeepney, many of them made almost entirely of scrap material. 

Shine Vitto was one of the “100 Female Artists of the World” featured on the billboard at Times Square in New York last July 2023 and is known for her hyperrealism portrait of an old woman smoking tobacco titled “Mensahe Patungo sa Lumikha” which garnered a million views and thousands of reactions on social media.

ACE of Art had its first exhibit in ARTablado at Robinsons Antipolo late last year. The group returns because, according to Jhoms, “the venue shines a light on the different artists who now have a chance for their innate talents to be recognized.”

The participating artists include Box Populi, Rey Adolfo, Juvy Teope Mago-Abne, JL Timbreza-Siao, Eleanor Oberio, Alexander Balmaceda, Jessa Velonero, Phia Elizalde, Willet Esquilona, Joseph V. Cabugos, Angie Lazaro, Yana Orais, Yek Herrera, Vovoi Lim, Jully Lim, M. Sta. Maria, Maribel Cortez, Jhomar Lim, Sunnyfae Macaraeg, Anne Margaret Villanueva, Ferdinand Sanchez, Mark Villanueva, Gigi Manalastas, Konica Faustino, Nathaniel Umale, Bernadette de Leon, Shine Vitto, Don Verano, Row Bean Paz, Jonna Fe Adraque, Emmanuel dela Cruz (Ibonman), Art Wang Gonzales, Gary Montenegro, Ramon Cajipe and Ameer Catandihan. 

Established in 2020, Robinsons Land ARTablado, a portmanteau of “art” and “entablado,” is Robinsons Land’s very own stage in showcasing Filipino ingenuity and creativity. This platform allows emerging and established artists to express themselves through art freely and paves the way to greater recognition of their talent and hard work. To date, ARTablado has mounted numerous exhibitions and hosted over 400 artists.

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