by: Fathrize Liam S. Ceñedoza
MANILA – As a communication student with an initial experience with art such as drawing, painting and calligraphy, Ateneo De Manila University’s Art Festival for Chinese New Year really caught my art beating heart.
There are many alleys for this festival such as their Spring Film Showing, Lantern Painting Workshop and Chinese Oil Pastel Painting Workshop, but none attracted me more than the Chinese Art Exhibit.
Considered that I am an art enthusiast, it is easy to assume that I will be excited to attend the art workshops but I am the kind of artist that prefer to work alone in a quiet and cozy place like my room or my house’s balcony so the option of attending the workshops with people watching you work with your art was thrown out of my mind. As an alternative, I decided to feast my eyes upon the beautiful creations showcased on their Chinese Art Exhibit.
I actually had a hard time finding the right time to visit the exhibit due to the reason of wanting to dedicate my entire day gazing to these beautiful works instead of dropping by in a complicated time and date and ending up not really appreciating and enjoying the artworks. I ended up going one Sunday afternoon expecting to consume beautiful and timeless art and I am not disappointed.
The exhibit is small in size but the contents are enough to feed my art craving heart and keep me walking around the display for the whole afternoon. Seeing the artworks up close can give someone chills down the spine. Looking at those works makes you feel like you’ve been to China during their most historic moments. It is somewhat nostalgic without really being there and having the past experience. Looking at the paintings make you feel like you’ve been home in a place you never visited.
Their art can be described as simple but powerful. Their strokes are elegant with a hint of being majestic due to the historic subjects and peacefulness because of the subjects concerning nature. Regal is also another work to describe the beauty laid out in the middle of EDSA Shangri-La.
What makes Chinese Art special is their art’s continuity. As if the artist lived from their earliest dynasties to depict the scenes. Their artworks honor tradition and culture of China. The portrayals of emperors really amazes the viewers due to the intense gaze but you will also see the brushstrokes and blending of colors.
The lightness of colors calms the mind of the viewer making one experience peace rivaling one inside a Chinese temple. I have seen some Gong-bi paintings with its meticulous handwork and highly defined brushstrokes. These kinds of painting depicts early Chinese lives in somewhat narrative form.
Aside from paintings on canvass, displayed as wells are paintings on scrolls and fans bust most arts are in a form of landscape due to its importance as the highest form of Chinese painting. Landscape includes mountains, clearings, hills and rivers. Other Gong-bi paintings focus on birds and flowers.
Above all of the paintings, two were my favorite due to its monochromatic theme.
These paintings depict young women. It shows a lady’s perfection of her body with a touch of modernization that influenced the subject. It has the subtle hint of dark message due to its stalker like shot but it somehow shows purity of a woman. The subtle nudity shows the perfect and imperfect qualities that a lady possesses.
After an afternoon of walking among these beautiful paintings, I realized Chinese art now occupies a space in my art loving heart. It is a combination of old and traditional look added with creativity and skill that will endure for an eternity.