Thursday, July 17, 2008


By Rosalina A. Reyes-Ferraris

Life is a complex execution of events that unravel before our eyes depending on the quality of decision-making that people make. It can be summed up as a series of programmed commands designed to process a given input depending on the parameters set for a given task. The choices we make as we experience life will have an impact on our goals and ambitions in life. People say that we are the authors of our future. This is true to some extent, for we make decisions depending on the priorities we choose. In the end, we are the only person to answer the ultimate question, "Have we accomplished our purpose here on earth? Are we now prepared to die?” It would be a waste of life, if we cannot answer these questions at our time of death, for we were given the chance to correct our erring ways for so many years.

(Read the full version here.)


Rosalina "Sally" Reyes is my wife for 20 years now and the good mother of our three kids. She too developed her talent in art and her recent art piece above titled FLOWCHART OF LIFE is part of our ongoing family group show IT RUNS IN THE BLOOD at the SARA SENE GALLERY & STUDIO PLUS in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong.

Her first oil painting of a flower was in the late 80s and because she concentrated on her job as an IT consultant, a job that promises a stable source of income to support all of us more regularly, she decided not to paint for many years. Now the pressures of the job plus other concerns makes painting and art as a whole one good source of therapy. Besides she has lots of ideas in mind as written in her blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


(You, Me and Our Environment)


Artist's statement:

Masks unmask all hidden truths. Faces tell tales and face-off stories unfolded between man and nature. Faces speak a thousand words. What you see is what you get.

What the faces express reflects the kind of environment that certainly influences and affects their existence. Inevitably, man’s voracious and vicious ways brought disastrous results to nature. Surely nature in return, and with vengeance, retaliates with more devastating and violent forces that man could ever imagine.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. What you sow is what you reap. It is a karmic principle maybe but scientifically and precisely calculated that man’s destructive attitude towards nature expects more havoc in greater heights against man in return. This will be goodbye to our beloved Mother Nature and welcome to the "UPHOLSTERED DREAM", a new horizon under the sun.

Man and nature must co-exist harmoniously and symbiotically. A give and take, take and give system in life might work out and respect, understanding and protection to our surrounding natural ecology could nourish better human ecology and safer place to live in… or just simply call this "HOME."

A review of "Ikaw, Ako at ang Ating Kapaligiran"

By Joel Ferraris

This humongous wall art installation reveals a mural consisted of huge paper mache masks and was exhibited in the first solo art exhibition of Artist Nelson Ferraris at the spacious Pasilyo Carlos V. Francisco of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Roxas Boulevard, Manila in 1990. This same piece was reinstalled in Iloilo City in Western Visayas, Philippines, as part of “Hublag 4”, the Fourth Ilonggo Arts Festival at the Philippine National Bank (PNB) lobby in this city.

Seeing it first-hand, I was greeted by an array of large-sized, 3-dimensional masks projecting various facial expressions that were cleverly done. These are all integral parts of a visual statement heralding an imminent threat to the environment caused by the carelessness and excesses of man in his continued exploration, exploitation and abuse of the earth’s natural resources in unceasing efforts fueling the seemingly untiring advancement of civilization.

Nelson Ferraris, a consistent prize-winner in numerous art competitions, painted on each of these masks symbols which are a combination of the alibata script and other graphic forms that, from a recognizable distance, reveal the bigger picture and send messages of the past beauty of nature colliding with the existing environmental situation that we are seemed to be captives of.

Equally symbolized and emphasized in this mural is hope, represented by blank, white-colored masks, on which rests the future of the generations to come. Whatever that means to a growing secular world, hope is generally spiritual in a sense as the artist meant it to be and as represented by the purity of white.

The whole piece is divided into three parts where the overall combination was made possible by the distinction between symbols, images, colors and facial expressions in a variety of emotions used in representing the past, the present and the dream of a better and more spiritually enlightened future.

Visually arresting because of its sheer size, this huge art piece, arranged as dictated by the juxtaposition of all its elements, was made more dramatized in depth and volume by the interplay of artificial lights and shadows inside the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila and the natural ambient light in the semi-outdoor lobby setting of Philippine National Bank (PNB) in Iloilo City. The many faces in various facial expressions were exceedingly dwarfed by but reminiscent of those giant faces of great men in Mt. Rushmore but here the use of eye-catching colored images and symbols painted over almost all of them made all the masks combined to look somewhat like a huge, painted canvas.

Done in 1990 and made possible by a grant from the Cultural Center of the Philippines, this large piece of public art was meant to draw attention to an imminent environmental threat in the midst of a lot of urbanization fast creeping into the lush-green countryside. It was also to make people more aware of subtle but serious issues about global warming which were given more in-depth scrutiny with the release of the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” featuring Al Gore that repeatedly sent strong messages to induce chilling sensations up and down our spines every time disturbing and destructive natural calamities alter the fast pace of this age of digital technology or by simply at the thought of it.

The issue about environmental protection continues to draw opposing views. Steven Hayward’s “An Inconvenient Truth... or Convenient Fiction?” offers equally thought-provoking questions. Nevertheless, this and other points of view from experts around the world combined only make the threat, or the absence of it, more magnified to compel people to reflect on what the real truth is apart from the thought on how to spend the rest of our short lives.

It is therefore the thoughtful reflection and message through this significant public art piece of Nelson Ferraris that will inspire us to look beyond the issue about our material concerns, human survival and the fate of this world to instead focus our minds and hearts to the importance of our spiritual life, a sentiment shared by the artist, in preparation for the blissful afterlife in Eternity.

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You can find a much clearer photo of "Ikaw, Ako at ang Ating Kapaligiran" (when this public art was installed at the Philippine National Bank Iloilo Branch lobby as the centerpiece of the "Hublag 4" Ilonggo Arts Festival) on page 138 of ILOILO: The Book, a photographic essay by Iloilo's leading photographers published by Ms. Marite de Luzuriaga in 1992.

You can view Nelson E. Ferraris' CV here.

Monday, January 14, 2008


By Joel E. Ferraris

My childhood fun was complete not because of the material things that I and my siblings had but because of the almost carefree freedom to roam around our yard, play with our domesticated animals and fowls plus the enjoyment derived from fishing from our very small pond teeming with freshwater fishes especially after the rainy season. To complete the fun were the tree-climbing games and the race to gather and eat ripe fruits before they were eaten by fruit bats and birds. And every time sunset approaches we wait for spiders to come out and spin their webs so that we could catch them and add to our tiny "gladiators" ready and well-fed for spider-wrestling.

Our yard then was wide enough to accommodate several fruit trees. Pomelos, atis, star apples, guavas, jackfruits (where I once discovered its huge ripe fruit located in its roots), bananas, cacao, lanzones ("in the land there is a zoo, in the zoo there is a nest" -LANZONES, was the riddle then) and coconut trees plus all other fruit-bearing trees share the yard and give enough shed to protect us, our vegetable garden and my Mom's flower garden from the excessive heat of the sun.

We later added the blackberry tree (even before BlackBerries became popular) that became the favorite "snack bar" of birds that periodically swarm to eat the ripe fruits. My late Dad added a few mahogany trees because to him these will be good source of lumber.

That was my childhood when high-rise condos and shopping malls were still absent from our province in Iloilo in the central Philippines.

Now, as globalization threatens the whole world with global warming, the race caused by property developers to earn more profits and to deliver luxurious living standards to the people of today has drastically changed the landscape of our province. Elsewhere in the world, cities tend to beat in the same rhythm called urbanization.

Now those trees giving solace to lonely birds and shed to weary travelers are gone. And if they are ever present they are just a minority compared to the surrounding buildings and structures built by man plus the vehicles. The landscape is now replaced by an all-man made structures and things moving and littering about to give the place a feeling of artificial life unlike the natural ecosystem thriving around and under the trees.

Nowadays even the spiders that used to build their webs during dusk are replaced by Spiderman (who catches criminals instead of insects) to appease our insecurities. At least spiders are for real whereas this superhero is just a product of one’s imagination to temporarily give a sense of security to an insecure generation of people dependent on the trend of globalization threatened by terrorism. With this idea I added the image of Spiderman right on the upper-center of the artwork to make it appear that he is climbing the tree or on top of the tree.

Spirit of a Tree is an acrylic on canvas painting I did in 2001 and is now in private collection in Toronto, Canada. It is an art piece painstakingly done for several months and is one of the series of paintings that I did as I developed one of my styles. Similar art pieces that belong to this style are Neophyte, The Fruit Up There, I Want Them Fresh and the large painting Two Landscapes, Two Childhoods to name a few.

In this painting the tree is gone and becomes an incorporeal image of an important element of our natural environment and the main source of our weapon against pollution. Only a mirage of it could be seen when the art piece is viewed from a distance. At a closer look one realizes the presence of all these man made structures and things adding to the traffic jams and hectic schedules of a highly urbanized but polluted city. And as the demands of tough city life draw some people into depression likewise those tree spirits, that were once residents of those sources of oxygen and natural shades, are probably left depressed too and homeless.

Ah yes, by the way we have our friend "Spiderman" in school too when I was in primary school. He was actually the man selling spiders to us when spider wrestling became so popular then. He was previously selling ball pens when one day, while he enjoyed watching our game, we excitedly suggested to him to look for spiders and sell to us.

Convinced by a promisingly lucrative new business, the man was not seen in school for several weeks. When he came back he no longer sold us ball pens but spiders - all kinds of spiders new to our eyes and all of them kept and well-fed like gladiators inside his specially designed "condos" of matchboxes. Thus the monicker "Spiderman."