The artistic exchange of mother and daughter Lydia Velasco and Alona de Cruz in ‘Binhi’

Treasures from the ordinary

Lydia Velasco and Alona de Cruz

If someone were to give Alona de Cruz an empty vial of medicine, a part of a rosary, an oxygen mask, a hose, and a shawl, she would give it back as a treasure that you would hold dear to your heart. This is exactly what happened when a client saw her work at the Manila Art 2019.

“I asked my client if there were any items she would like me to incorporate into my artwork and she gave me an empty vial of medicine, part of a rosary, oxygen mask and hose, and a shawl, revealing that they belonged to her mother,” she says. “When I presented to her the finished piece, she was happy about how these items were used to represent her mother in her memory.”

Alona loves to create new masterpieces from broken and old things. Having suffered from depression as a result of a failed project not too long ago, she decided to rid their house of broken things and all this junk became the seed of inspiration for her and her mother Lydia Velasco, which grew into the mother-daughter exhibit “Binhi” at Galerie Roberto.

'Comforting Words' and 'In Bloom' by Lydia Velasco

“‘Binhi’ for my mother is the continuation of our legacy for love and appreciation of art. This legacy was instilled in us by our maternal grandfather Jose Velasco. He was poor in terms of material things but rich in imagination. We remember him doing magic with his crude paints and brushes and transforming a wall into a mural of fantasy. As for me, ‘Binhi’ is what awakens the awareness of art through simple things. Putting a new perspective on the ordinary, repurposing common materials in making something special,” says Alona.

As for their first show together, Lydia, is more than happy that the world is finally getting the chance to see the masterpieces of her eldest daughter. Both artists have very distinct styles and yet this did not hinder them to collaborate on a show.

“It excited me to show her hidden talents. As her mother, I was excited when she told me she wanted a joint show, I said to her that it was time for the art scene to see her talent. I’m happy to have a supporting role to her extraordinary talent. It is her show, not mine. I am happy to be partnered with someone with a style different from my own. Alona’s work differs with her creative imagination. It is not the usual paint on canvas using a brush, it is found objects, which could have been thrown away, that form her art. Inspired by iconic paintings from local and foreign artists, she put her mind and great effort to implement her interpretation. She adds value because of her art and genius,” says Lydia.

'Ode to Boticelli- Detail of Birth of Venus' by Alona de Cruz and 'Puting Tapis' by Lydia Velasco

In the exhibit, there is a clear contrast between the styles of the mother and those of the daughter. Lydia’s oil on canvas paintings speak of her pride as a mother who let her daughter Alona fly on her own wings, free from traditional techniques.

“My inspiration comes from struggles and the beauty of anything you want to protect. It comes from seeing objects and having a different interpretation of them—our own inner thoughts,” shares Lydia.

In return, Alona was able to create mixed media pieces with strong emotions and depth that perfectly represent her.

One of those paintings is the Ode to Vermeer-Girl with the Pearl Earring. “Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring” has always resonated with me and made me want to make a homage. The mystery of her look made me ask myself questions about who she was and what she thought during the time. The light of the original painting gives dimensions and more mystery to the artwork,” says Alona.

'Ode to Van Gogh - Sunflower' and 'Ode to Vermeer-Girl with the Pearl Earring' by Alona de Cruz

Two women bonded by blood and by love, mother and daughter Lydia and Alona have expressed themselves and their journey of coping in this pandemic through “Binhi,” and they hope that the viewer can try to look at things in a new light and find comfort in it.

“I hope that this will give people a new perspective on the things that we commonly use or see every day and give them a new life, though they are old, broken, discarded, or unused. To express themselves in their own way as part of the healing process during low points in life. Art is therapy. Each of my pieces has been part of my journey and aim to give others the same feeling of peace,” Lydia ends.

Galerie Roberto is located at Unit 4, Molito Lifestyle Extension Building, Madrigal Avenue, corner Commerce Ave, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1770 Metro Manila.