Portraits of Iloilo’s working class at no-frills café

Enjoying art with every sip of your favorite coffee

For budding artist Katelyn Ann Miñoso, a no-frills café in Iloilo City is a fitting place for her first solo exhibition that pays homage to the working class.

Artist Katelyn Ann Miñoso (right) with Madge Café owner Peter De La Cruz

The exhibition “Sa Palibot” (The Surroundings) at the popular Madge Café at the heart of La Paz Public Market showcases fauvist portraits of 13 ordinary people—the hard-working individuals who are part of Iloilo’s larger community.

“I specifically wanted it to be in Madge Café because it resonates with my subjects,” Katelyn explains.

Katelyn may have won a Legacy Minor Prize for last year’s Quincentennial Art Competition, but the 22-year-old self-taught artist and a student of Assumption College San Lorenzo has no issue about how her works are not at an art gallery or museum.

“I believe that most individuals would feel inhibited . There’s a sense of responsibility to reach out to the public and help them view things in a new light,” Katelyn tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle.

“With this exhibition, I’ve met a number of people who are not even art collectors or gallery-goers, but they are interested and inspired. There is an audience being overlooked. They are receptive to art when it is made available to them,” Katelyn adds.

Katelyn’s works on display at Madge Café

The ordinary, but colorful folks

Despite her background, “Sa Palibot” symbolizes Katelyn’s appreciation for the ordinary people and their ordinary lives.

Needless to say, the mixed-media works of oil, pastel and acrylic on derwent paper are Katelyn’s own observations of the Ilonggo or even Filipino way of life.

“I take pride in our local scenes since they are raw and simple, yet full of life and colors,” Katelyn emphasizes.

Faces of Iloilo’s ordinary workers adorn the walls of Madge Café

The burst of colors magnifies her subjects in their own rustic environments. There’s the weaver in Habol, the barbecue vendor in Panugba, a fisherman in Pagbutlak sang Adlaw, a fish porter in Gakarga Bisya, a fish vendor in Lab-as nga Isda, a tricycle driver in Hari ng Kalsada.

“It it is also critical for me to immerse in these scenes since it enables me to transfer the same energy I experience to my artworks in order to bring them to life,” Katelyn adds.

Sa Palibot” runs until Feb. 6.