Cloth mask to canvas

Published July 17, 2020, 1:13 PM

by Ian Belleza

Pinoy artists put their creativity into beautiful face masks

In the Philippines, much like in other places in the world, the number of Covid-19 victims is still increasing. Filipinos are still struggling to go out of their houses to buy basic necessities or to even go to work for fear of getting the virus.

No one is yet immune to the dreaded virus. Even Filipino Artists have found themselves affected by Covid. They are, however, finding ways to continue to express their creativity and, at the same time, spread much needed hope using their artistic talents. One way many of them have been doing this is by designing and creating face masks—arguably the icon of today’s times.

It’s definitely a great way to make use of their talents, especially since the Department of Health has been adamant about the importance of wearing face masks, coupled with good hygiene and social distancing. The country may be suffering from a pandemic, but being the ingenious Pinoys that they are, these local artists have found a way to present their love of art through their one-of-a kind face masks.

Hermes Alegre

Hermes Alegre is among the country’s well-established artists. His art is synonymous to the mystery and allure Filipina women are known for. Observed as representations of tropical beauty, Filipinas in Hermes’ works are surrounded by foliage and greenery. Two of his latest works entitled Mahiyain and Behind the Mask are featured on his face masks, which he has shared with close relatives and friends.

Cynthia Bauzon-Arre

Cynthia Bauzon-Arre majored in Visual Communication at the UP College of Fine Arts and took up graphic design at Parsons School of Design in New York City. In recent years, she’s been designing daily-use products that celebrate Pinoy pop culture and advocate nature conservation. Her face masks feature illustrations of indigenous fruits, flowers, and endemic birds to help raise awareness for the protection and conservation of Philippine native trees and forests. Some designs are collaborations with the Forest Foundation Philippines, and profits earned from their sales will be used to make more items that can help promote the advocacy. Pre-orders for her face masks will soon be taken and announced on Cynthia’s social media
or website.

Francis Nacion

Francis Nacion’s works show his love and pride for our country and culture. When you look closely at the characters in his paintings, you will see faces with both bright and dark sides. He used his work entitled Perlas ng Silangan, which depicts a Philippines mourning and suffering. The woman is Mother Nature and the pearl represents our Motherland. Apart from sharing these face masks with family and friends, Francis also gives them out to people he sees on the road who are not wearing face masks.

Marge Organo

A mixed-media artist, businesswoman, and mother of four, Marge Organo went on to pursue studies in glass sculpture at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass in New York City. For her face masks, Organo used her recent artwork Unfinished Business, a painting on an optical glass. The actual piece has been donated to the Rotary Club Makati West for projects to raise funds to provide frontliners with free transportation as well as personal protective equipment. Marge shares her face masks with relative and close friends.

Nani Reyes

Nani Reyes wants to portray his life as a kid in his artworks, specifically the games that he used to play. That is why he used Teleponong Lata, a depiction of one of his childhood memories, in his face masks. “The tin phone is one of my favorite children’s series where we watch and review games that have been forgotten in the development of technology,” Nani says.

He also has religious designs like the Virgin Mary of Antipolo and St. Clement with the Higantes of Angono. All of these are for sale for ₱100 via his Facebook page.

Juvenal Sansó

Juvenal Sansó was born in Ruesm, Catalonia in Spain in 1929 but moved to Manila when his parents established their wrought-iron business El Arte Español when he was around five years old. A multi-faceted artist, Sansó has used oils, watercolor, acrylic, and his favored ink and dry brush in his works. He has produced fine etchings in a very dynamic, strong-lined style.

He has also distinguished himself in textile design, printmaking, and photography, and has designed sets and costumes for several operas in France and in the Philippines.

As a way of giving back to the art community in his adopted country, Sansó has played a significant role in encouraging young Filipino artists to excel in their field. From 2008 to 2009, he served as artist in residence for the Art Interaction program of the Shell National Students Art Competition. In 2015, upon his guidance and with his generous support, Fundacion Sansó (Sansó Museum) was established in San Juan City. His Coralline Turrents and Misty Lands are featured in face masks. These Sansó masks will be available by July 20.

Sanso Museum

Meneline Wong

An obstetrician and gynecologist by profession, Meneline Wong’s love for art paid off when she won second place in the GSIS National Art Competition in 2018. She used her artwork I See Hope to be featured in her face masks. “The artwork depicts the darkness and sad reality of our world, and all we wanted to see is that little light breaking through to make things a little better,” she explains. Meneline also created the masks for her close friends as a reminder that hope is a powerful weapon, especially in these trying times.