Anna Velas-Suarin

Sandra Torrijos gives us her arts once again (view her works at the German Club)

(Please visit the German Club and view the works of Ms. Sandra Torrijos, a feminist-artist and a Pinay expat who is based in Germany for half of the year. I promised to blog about her show but I was not able to bring a camera when I went there so I had decided to wait. Meanwhile, I have upcoming travels so I think it is better to simply repost my February 20, 2010 blog in the old site so I can share with you some musings about arts and friendships, two things where Sandra is very good at. Please scroll below for the address of the German Club. The show ends on December 2 so please drop by soon!)

When I see works of arts, I feel divinity.  Creative works emerge from the depth and mystery of the human mind (and soul), which are anchored in the divine. We are all connected to this source of light, the very core of our existence, and it is only through this light that we can create lasting masterpieces of arts. To create is to reach for the divine inside.

“Awit” by Sandra Torrijos (2011). One of her paintings shown in the exhibit titled, “EDSA: ano ngayon?”, a commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of EDSA Revolution. (Photo credits: Jinky Joan Jorgio)

Arts, for others, is an expression of the soul. For some, it provides a link among diverse communities and different generations. For others, it is a continuing journey.

I cannot remember how my love affair with the arts began. As far as I can recall, I was not even in school yet when I started drawing stick figures and flowers, mountains and houses, the sun and the moon. I guess it was my Tito Buboy (Harven), Dad’s youngest brother who inspired me. He was a very good artist. He can sketch a person’s face with very close resemblance. He can paint beautiful landscapes in just a couple of hours. And so I tried to emulate this great artist. In my young mind, I had imagined that I can someday be like him. When he passed on, I grieved because I lost a very funny and kind uncle. I grieved, too, because I lost my first arts mentor.

“Pagkalinga” by Sandra Torrijos (2011), another painting now on exhibit at the “EDSA: ano ngayon”? (Photo credits: Jinky Joan Jorgio)

In the next ten years of my life, I sketched and painted. I knew I was somehow good at it because I even won drawing contests back when I was in grade school. However, the ‘busy-ness’ of life eventually caught up with me and I realized, one day, that all my pastel sticks, acrylic oils, and watercolors have either expired or dried up  without even being used. And then I entered college and even became busier. I did not try to draw again nor found the time for it. One day, as I passed by a gallery inside a mall, I began regretting that I did not continue the “passion.” I thought I had somehow lost “it”, lost a part of my childhood.

In 2003, I mustered enough courage to paint again. I decided to enroll in a painting workshop under the renowned feminist artist, Sandra Torrijos, with my close friend, Mar-vic (Cagurangan-Palmertree), and this decision started another journey into the arts. Sandra said it is not possible to lose “it”. It is always there, inside of us. We just have to look for it again, summon it to come alive again. And she was right. Before long, I was again holding pencils, colors, and acrylic oil, happy to be reunited with that part of myself that somehow “slept” for a while. Strangely, I lost many of my works. I had been moving around a lot the past 10 years of my life. Perhaps, they got lost while I moved apartments and traveled…perhaps they simply disappeared?

“Lagas” by Sandra Torrijos (2011), was also part of the exhibit, “EDSA: ano ngayon?” (Photo credits: Jinky Joan Jorgio)

Just like many things that we somehow forget or lose track of, some of my works eventually faded away. Is it time to create again?
Last week, Mar-vic (who, incidentally, has taken up painting more seriously the past years) and I had a much-longed-for reunion with our mentor and inspiration, Sandra. Mar-vic is based in Guam these days while Sandra is now a resident of Germany so it was actually serendipitous that both are here in the Philippines at the same time. It was a beautiful evening of kumustahan, conversations, musings, and reflections.  “How old have we become!”, we amusingly remarked as we sipped our ice-cold beers, discussing our lives, choices, politics, men, travels, and food (not necessarily in that order). Indeed, it had been seven years since we last saw her.

However, the seven years apart somehow did not matter. We talked as if it was just yesterday when we had the art classes and conversations with her. I felt so much at home. Perhaps, such is another testimony to the beauty of the arts. It draws people together in mysterious ways, as if sharing a pact, so that distance and time apart do not matter anymore. It is as if a silent bond was forged, beyond what can be fully understood.

And so, that evening, I promised myself to continue retracing my path.

Sandra Torrijos: Pinay in Duesseldorf

A One-Woman Show

German Club Manila
Opening Night: Nov. 10, 6:30pm
Penthouse of Eurovilla II Bldg.
118 V.A. Rufino St. Legaspi Village, Mkti.
Exhibit runs until Dec. 2, 2011

Here are some of my old sketches. 🙂

Mountains and a fence. One of my old sketches (2002), drawn from a picture in in a practice book on drawing.

A stone bridge. One of my old sketches (2002), based on a picture from a practice book on drawing.

Rivers. One of my old sketches (2002), drawn from a picture in a practice book on drawing.


This is not a paid blog.

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