‘Find your happy face’ (36×72 Acrylic on Canvas 2021)

If there is a common thread among our pandemic story, it is the sense of loss. During its initial months, we were all confused. Even our leaders were exploring possible things to do, making our early at-home life less comfortable and more worrisome. The same feelings happened to Migs Villanueva. The painter and multi-awarded poet stayed at home with her children and, although she was filled with fear during that time, she found a sense of direction through her craft.

“I had to stay indoors. Like everyone else, I was afraid to go out. Life changed,” Migs says. “At first, I did not know what to do. I was focused on checking what was happening to the world. Then I started painting to raise funds for our frontliners. There were so many who supported my efforts. Gradually, I found my stride again.”

And paint she did. After months of jumping from one community quarantine to another, Migs has completed all the pieces for her 12th solo exhibit. Dubbed as “In The Meantime,” it is also in celebration of her 60th birthday.

‘Penny For Your Thoughts’ (24×24 Acrylic on Canvas 2021)

Her exhibition is visually divided into three phases. Like a good story, there is a beginning, a middle, and a wonderful end, which is inspired by our collective story of this pandemic. The first works, almost monochromatic, mark the early phases of our story, as we realized that COVID-19 was here. Reduced to basic activities and routines as we adjusted to life living indoors, the monochromatic works echo the simple life we all suddenly found ourselves living.

‘Get Funny’ (30×30 Acrylic on Canvas 2021)

“It was such a sudden change. So I wanted to portray that visually, with a more basic palette, which gives way to more color and more detail, as we progress,” Migs explains. “I focused on children. How they coped, given that they have been indoors now for more than a year and a half. Children have a natural resilience because their imagination allows them to be anywhere they want to be, even if they’re just in the house. Sometimes, a change of perspective can do wonders to our well-being. This is what we can all do, in the meantime.”

Migs did not plan to be a painter. But with her zeal in excelling on anything she takes up, she has had 12 years in this serendipitous career. Tutored by Malang, she has risen the ranks of the Saturday Group to become one of its presidents. Since then, she has exhibited all over the Philippines, in various art fairs both local and abroad, and in neighboring countries like Hong Kong and Malaysia.

‘Inauguration’ (36×36 Acrylic on Canvas 2021)

Like her mentor, she has mastered the evocative through the use of color, outline, and diffused brush strokes. Through the use of just three dots, she can express an innocent stare, a joyful laugh, a nervous giggle, longing, or a child’s impetuous sulking after something has been denied to him. Evolving her own style which conjures beauty through an austere simplicity and a “wabi-sabi” sensibility, Migs helps us recall how we once valued a leaf, shadows cast as we sit under moonlight, a tiring afternoon of play, or the reassuring presence of a sibling or a friend.

“In The Meantime” is a proposition for a healthy perspective, given the situation we are in. With the contentment and imagination of children, we can transform the dreary and the dreadful into a life that is not survival, but rather, embraced and truly lived.

“I always enjoy my apos. If they draw on the walls, I don’t scold them,” Migs muses. “Innocence is so precious. I would like them to have it for as long as I could. COVID-19, like all the hard things in this world, can make us worry, even cynical. But if we look at children, we will realize that we can still be happy despite everything. It is just a matter of perspective.”

“In the Meantime” is presented by Art Lounge Manila, which is at the ground floor of The Podium Mall in Ortigas Center. The exhibit runs until July 26, 2021.

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2021/07/01/migs-villanueva-shares-her-pandemic-story-with-her-latest-exhibit-in-the-meantime/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=migs-villanueva-shares-her-pandemic-story-with-her-latest-exhibit-in-the-meantime)