Nature, nurture, and faith: The art of Alex Ordoyo

Published June 4, 2021, 10:24 AM

by Tara Yap

Alex’s art blooms in his new exhibit

As an artist, Alex Ordoyo is highly aware of how the human race will always be intertwined with the natural world and how the story of life resembles the Bible, from Genesis to the Apocalypse.

Alex Ordoyo in his studio

The biblical storyline keeps on unraveling with the COVID-19 pandemic, but Alex has been given the time to explore deeper the concepts of nature, nurture and faith in “Sibol,” his first solo exhibition after winning the grand prize for water-media on paper category of Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) in 2018.

Sibol (a Filipino word for sprouting or blossoming) is Alex’s life in art journey—his serious return to the art world after years of setting art aside as he juggled the responsibilities of being a teacher and a family man.

Sibol” is also the evolution of Alex’s almost decade-long fixation on Mother Nature. It largely takes cue from Alex’s natural environment in Santa Barbara, his hometown in Iloilo province. Alex particularly transforms the flora and fauna from the farmlands of Balibagan Este village into 17 pieces of works that mostly resemble a woman’s body, the personification of Mother Nature.

Alex’s versatility is very evident in “Sibol,” which runs until June 20, 2021 at Eskinita Art Farm, owned by the highly-acclaimed and award-winning artist Alfredo Esquillo Jr. in Tanauan, Batangas province.

Alex’s niche may be watercolor, but the bigger works in the collection are acrylic and oil-based paintings on textured canvases.

In “Origin 1” and “Origin 2,” Alex culls out from the Book of Genesis with his own take on the Garden of Eden—a virginal forest that exudes beauty. It is an allegory to the Adams and Eves of the world—whose souls are pure before being engulfed by temptations and sins.

The diptych “Repleksyon” juxtaposes the biblical Genesis and the Apocalypse. For Alex, it is an expression of awareness of society’s good and evil as it tackles concerns for the environment, family, and socio-economy.

The “Life and Death” watercolor series are presented in monochrome green leaves and brown dried leaves as symbolism of the reality on earth, of both the natural world and the human world. “Life is temporary. Death is inescapable. It is a testimony that man and nature are inseparable,” Alex explains to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle.

The Tres Marias series are Alex’s three young daughters—an eight-year-old, a three-year-old and a one-year-old. Alex incorporates the elements of air, water and sea in the watercolor pieces as he also pays homage to the women in his life. Having lost his father at a very young age, Alex knows the value of women—his mother, his sisters, his wife, and three daughters.

For Alex though, “Hope” encapsulates the collection. It is of redemption with the subtle imagery of Christ. Hope is a testament to Alex’s deep Catholic faith as he merges the elements of salvation and blessings.

It is in “Sibol” that Alex can impart tranquility despite the seriousness of the issues he chooses to tackle. The palette is soothing to the senses and does not pierce the heart.

The calmness in the pieces also speaks of Alex’s role as a teacher at the School for the Arts of Iloilo National High School (INHS), where he knows his boundaries in guiding students but not imposing his own style or beliefs.

Lastly, “Sibol” is Alex’s works as a grantee of Tuklas, the mentorship program of Alfredo Esquillo Jr. and Renato Habulan in 2019. Alex is one of the three Ilonggos who have been Tuklas grantees. The other two are Harry Mark Gonzales and Orland Espinosa.

“Sibol” runs until June 20 at Eskinita Art Farm in Tanauan, Batangas province. Due to the pandemic, it is highly recommended to text or call (+639) 17 885 0730 for appointments.