“I had to stay indoors. Like everyone else, I was afraid to go out. And life changed. At first, I did not know what to do. I was focused on checking what was happening to the world. Then I started painting to raise funds for our front liners. There were so many who supported my efforts. Gradually, I found my stride again.” Like everyone else, painter and multi-awarded poet Migs Villanueva was at a loss when COVID-19 struck. Like everyone else, she had to stay at home, as her children, worried for her safety, insisted for her to stay put. It has been over a year since we were all asked to remain indoors. And she kept busy preparing for her 12th solo exhibition, which also marks her 60th birthday, and our return to the semblance of normal.
Her exhibition is visually divided into three phases. Like a good story, there is a beginning, a middle, and a wonderful end, which is based on our collective wish to the story of this pandemic. The first works, almost monochromatic, mark the early phases of our story, as we realized that COVID-19 was here. Reduced to basic activities and routines as we adjusted to life living indoors, the monochromatic works echo the simple life we all suddenly found ourselves living. “It was such a sudden change. So I wanted to portray that visually, with a more basic palette, which gives way to more color and more detail, as we progress. I focused on children. How they coped, given that they have been indoors now for more than a year and a half. Children have a natural resilience because their imagination allows them to be anywhere they want to be, even if they’re just in the house. Sometimes, a change of perspective can do wonders to our well-being. And this is what we can all do, in the meantime” says Migs as she shared her hopes about the pandemic.
Migs Villanueva did not plan to be a painter. But with her zeal in excelling on anything she takes up, she has had twelve years in this serendipitous career. Tutored by Malang, she has risen the ranks of the Saturday Group to become one of its presidents. Since then, she has exhibited all over the Philippines, in various art fairs both local and abroad, and in neighboring countries like Hongkong and Malaysia. Like her mentor, she has mastered the evocative through the use of color, outline, and diffused brush strokes. Through the use of just three dots, she can express an innocent stare, a joyful laugh, a nervous giggle, longing, or a child’s impetuous sulking after something has been denied to him. Evolving her own style which conjures beauty through an austere simplicity and a “wabi-sabi” sensibility, Villanueva helps us recall how we once valued a leaf, shadows cast as we sit under moonlight, a tiring afternoon of play, or the reassuring presence of a sibling or a friend.
“In The Meantime” is a proposition for a healthy perspective, given the situation we are in. With the contentment and imagination of children, we can transform the dreary and the dreadful, into a life that is not survival, but rather, embraced and truly lived. “I always enjoy my apos. If they draw on the walls, I don’t scold them. Innocence is so precious. I would like them to have it for as long as I could. COVID-19, like all the hard things in this world can make us worry, even cynical. But if we look at children, we will realize that we can still be happy despite everything. It is just a matter of perspective.”
“In the Meantime” is Migs Villanueva’s 12th solo exhibition. It also marks her 60th birthday. It is presented by Art Lounge Manila, which is at the ground floor of The Podium Mall in Ortigas Center. For inquiries, please call at 09778398971 or 09989937963, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.