On her second solo exhibition after roughly a decade since her first, Inka Madera comes to Art Lounge Manila to proclaim her truth: “Let God. Be True.”
Inka Madera took time off after her 2nd solo exhibition after realizing that much of art is vanity. Deeply introspective, she looks in the meaning of things, and ponders the big questions many often gloss over. But her decision not to have a solo exhibition did not stop her from joining in group exhibitions, particularly with the all-female artists group Floral Artists Manila, which allowed her to look into the big questions like mortality and the ephemerality of life, and express her thoughts, and indeed, her spirituality, through floriography.
Using flowers as codes, she expresses her musings through a combination of bodies in motion, swathed and surrounded by flowers: as fragile flowers seem to embody the balance between life, fullness, senescence, and passing. Through their burst of bloom that lasts for a moment, which gives way to new life of the seed as they wilt, flowers express in the most eloquent expression what Madera explains; “The flower blooms and withers, so do I;” drawing the parallel between her life and her chosen visual metaphor. In the process of creating works over the past few years, such as in Floral Splendor II, which was also shown at Art Lounge Manila, she has succeeded in creating a trademark graphic style of black and white paintings where the naked human figures fly and move gracefully across endless space, with particular flowers surrounding and trailing them. This style seems to reflect her personal realization that “in the darkest point of your life, as long as you believe, a turning point presents itself as a flickering light in the dark but which eventually opens up a new world.”
In the most recent group exhibition, Floral Splendor III, which she gave a few works in, and in this, her second solo, she introduces color and texture into her work. “I started adding colors during the quarantine. Color allows for layered expressions and multiple meanings. It is not like black and white which is so direct. It also allows to express joy. And as an artist, I want to feel joy in my work, while I still can,” expresses Madera. In many ways, this transition from black and white to soft then to brilliant rainbow color echoes the passage of time from midnight to dawn in The Song of Solomon, the book from the Bible which inspired the Harpazo series which she is currently still working on, having consistently been engaged with it for at least the past two years. The Song of Solomon is unlike other books of the Old Testament, in that it does not focus on law or ponder on wisdom, but is a poem for a couple drunk with love, vivid and descriptive, replete with details that appeal to the senses, to give a strong image of how it is for the loving couple to be together. But for Christians like Madera, it is symbolic of the reunion of Christ with his beloved, and the fulfillment of the promise second coming; a moment of rapture for believers. And it is this exuberant moment, where the longing soul is finally free to be reunited with God, that inspires the surreal and joyous scenes in LGBT. She has found her truth and her joy in what she does, by surrendering in faith: Let God. Be True.
Over the past few decades, the letters LGBT have been charged with political meaning, as people have fought for their rights to live and to love without fear of prejudice, persecution, imprisonment, or death; as many people in generations past, who have loved others of the same biological and physiological sex as themselves. In many cultures and radical faith groups, people still get stoned or beaten to death by being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In many countries, sex between them is still punishable by law. But in the past few decades, a growing movement for equality and acceptance has been called for in the arenas of politics, culture, and religion. Marching in unity under a rainbow flag, communities have organized in support for tolerance and acceptance.
For Christians, the rainbow is a symbol of the covenant between God and all living things of the flesh. The rainbow appeared after the Great Flood, as a reminder that water will no longer destroy the world. It is also a symbol of Christ, through whom a new covenant is made, creation is renewed, and humanity is saved. “God accepts everyone. By living in a way that is pleasing to him, I can bring light to the community. By being myself, I am witnessing to God’s acceptance of everyone.”
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