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Art gets eco-conscious

AS IMAHICA Art Gallery mounts its first exhibition of the year, it spotlights efforts to combine artistic innovation and environmental consciousness.

The gallery’s latest exhibit, titled “Conscious Creations: A Sustainability Art Show,” explores how sustainable practices can be adopted for various forms of art. It runs until Feb. 11 at Imahica Art Gallery.

Fifteen artists are showcased in the exhibit: Dante Palmes, Arnel Garcia, Eden Ocampo, Ivy Marie Apa, Jurg Casserini, Maria Pureza-Escano, Melanie Libatique, Melissa Yeung-Yap, Michi Calica, Ram Mallari, Russell Balajadia, Sam Penaso, Valen Valero, JunkNot’s pioneering duo Willie Garcia and Maan Chua, and Hausmotors’ group of employees.

Their works range from repurposed sculptures and furniture to eco-conscious installations and paintings, fashioned from reused plastic, leftover wood, discarded toys, and scrap metal, among other materials.

“I had a lot of excess items at home, like toys, cellphone batteries, old pieces of wood,” Arnel Garcia, a sculptor and painter who hails from Pampanga, told BusinessWorld during the exhibit opening on Jan. 27.

Prominent objects used in his mixed-media art in the exhibit are shoes in The Praying Paws, toy guns in Lupang Sinilangan, and dental impression trays and puzzle pieces in Juxtaposition of Pulchritude Series #1.

“Those puzzle pieces were just laying around, no longer complete due to being scattered in a recent typhoon,” said Mr. Garcia. “Rather than throw them away, I glued them into my works.”

For him, molding these items in resin to complete his artworks is a much better use of them than letting them pollute the environment.

Melanie Libatique, another sculptor and painter, integrated old toys and other unused items in her mixed media works as well, including a metronome and a xylophone that viewers can play.

“None of us want to add any more garbage [to the surroundings], so we just add it to our art. My goal is to recycle and also let kids enjoy their time at the gallery. That’s why I put in toys, so they can relate to art, too,” Ms. Libatique told BusinessWorld.

The exhibit’s opening, co-presented by Business Network International (BNI) Iconic, also had keynote speakers kick off discussions on sustainability and mindful living to supplement the artists’ creative expressions.

CIRCULAR ECONOMYSustainability solutions platform Arcadia, represented by its executive director Steph Naval, opened the mixer by presenting how a circular economy benefits the world more than the current, linear status quo.

“By promoting the use of eco-friendly materials, reducing waste, and adopting recycling practices, we can minimize environmental harm,” Ms. Naval said.

While a linear economy carries resources in a one-way flow from production to disposal, a circular economy encourages keeping resources in use for as long as possible, she added.Some examples of sustainability solutions necessary in a circular economy are the use of recycled steel, wood, and plastics, leaner construction and manufacturing, and the organization of community recycling programs.

Motorcycle spare parts distributor Philippine SGC Corp., through its subsidiary dealer HausMotors, has its own system of recycling motorcycle parts within their company — resulting in a few artworks shown at the exhibit.

“We are not artists at all, but we love to create opportunities for our employees,” said Louie Evans Sala, corporate services director of HausMotors.

Their contributions to the exhibit include mixed media works where motorcycle parts are arranged on wood to form the shape of a motorcycle, and headlights repurposed into lamps. “They’ve been repurposing parts for five years now, and all profit from the works goes to them,” Mr. Sala said.

Wilhelmina “Willie” Garcia, an interior designer and environmentalist, provided the exhibit with works from her own enterprise as well, called JunkNot.

In conjunction with a livelihood seminar commissioned by the Department of Natural Resources – Taal Volcano Protected Landscape (DENR-TVPL), Ms. Garcia and the Taal community have been creating roped plastics with which to produce furniture, homeware, fashion products, and commissioned works.

“JunkNot helps on a small scale to solve two problems at once: waste management and its environmental impact, and lack of livelihood in small communities,” she explained at the exhibit opening.

Her works on view at the exhibit, made with her friend Maan Chua, include a chair that is essentially a metal frame with 1.8 kilos of roped plastic waste woven into it, a bag spruced up by colorful yet beautifully integrated plastic, and a copper-free mirror with tetra board backing.

“By using these recycled materials, we hope to keep plastic out of landfills and incinerators,” Ms. Garcia said.

Cherry Fulgar, co-founder of Imahica Art Gallery, told BusinessWorld that the exhibit is only one of many activities they have lined up to merge the worlds of art and business for a good cause.

“With the help of BNI Iconic, we really wanted to use this platform to spotlight sustainability topics,” she said.

On Feb. 3, the gallery will host a business mixer with Joey Bondoc of Colliers Philippines as the keynote speaker, allowing guests to engage with the topic of smart technologies and their role in sustainability.

“Conscious Creations: A Sustainability Art Show” runs until Feb. 11 at Imahica Art Gallery, located in 2A Lee Gardens, Shaw Blvd. corner Lee St., Mandaluyong City. — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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