We Had Our Parts To Play

We Had Our Parts To Play

We Had Our Parts To Play
61 cm x 91.4 cm
Oil on canvas
2012

I have developed a liking for women’s traditional headdresses from different Asian cultures, most especially the flower crowns worn by Balinese dancers and the more elaborate ones worn by Dan (a general name for female roles) in the Chinese opera. Of course, my interest for these things naturally trickles down to my works both on canvas and on paper.

We Had Our Parts To Play was one of the paintings I mounted for my second solo exhibition at JIV Manila Art Gallery. I had conceptualized the painting during the first quarter of 2012, but only managed to execute it in time for “Resurgence.” Partly inspired by Puccini’s Turandot, the painting features a Chinese opera actress modeled after my friend Julie. I had to include her hare tattoo that was based on a centuries-old book illustration.
Headdresses are integral accessories in Chinese opera costumes to help the audience identify specific roles. The more elaborate and striking the headdress, the more significant the character. The girl in the painting dons the headdress of an empress complete with pearls, faux jewels, butterfly embellishments, and silk tassels. Her heavily embroidered silk brocade is falling off her shoulders; she is in the process of undressing, suggesting that the play is over.
Behind the very oriental inspiration and imagery, the general idea behind the painting is actually a line from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.” There is no such thing as an innocent bystander and a full-blown victim. What we have and all that we are in our present realities are results of our own decisions and actions. Our current situations are connected to all the things we ever did, no matter how small. We all have our parts to play.

This and my other paintings from “Resurgence” have recently been added to my shop in AVA.ph. I was originally saving this news as a Valentine’s Day offering, but the new giclee prints have just been launched last week. Better late than never, so I thought I might as well post about this on the last day of February.
avaAdditionally, the old prints that have already been sold out haven’t been removed. Due to inquiries and requests, I’ve decided to make 3 copies per print available. That should be a nice treat. So far, I am very pleased with how my prints are faring on AVA.ph. I just might add more new works in the coming months. Anyway, do check them out at http://ava.ph/shops/78-katrina-pallon.html.

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Pen and Inks to Kick-Start 2013

The first exhibit I joined this year was a group show called A Third Helping of Instant Doodles. It was a huge exhibition held at My Little Art Place in San Juan, Manila participated in by as many as 50 artists spearheaded by Piaget Martelino. Considering I’ve been preparing for another solo painting exhibit on April, working on my pieces for this show was a big break from using brushes and tubes of oil paint since last year as I opted to go with pen and ink, my secondary weapon of choice.

Blossoming

Blossoming
10.5 inches x 10.5 inches
Pen & ink on paper
2013

Meet Me In Hoi An

Meet Me In Hoi An
10.5 inches x 10.5 inches
Pen & ink on paper
2013

Consider them teasers of some sort for the April exhibit – ao dais, lanterns, overlapping patterns. My imagery is constantly changing; I’d hate to see stagnancy in my works. And yes, I’m still pretty much brimming with inspiration from my trips to Laos and Vietnam late last year. With that said, hints of Lao aesthetic are also to be expected. I think I’ve collected enough photographs of textile patterns and decorative art in temples from my short stay in Luang Prabang to serve as references.

I remember a short conversation on Facebook with my oracle extraordinaire friend Abbee. She had shared “Blossoming” on her Wall having found it freakishly resonating. Asked what is her interpretation of it, her answer was, “Getting in touch with your Divine/Sacred Feminine.” While that wasn’t the concept I had in mind when I drew it, it occurred to me that it rung true for me to a large extent. Note the use of past participle.

That’s what I love about not spoonfeeding my audience with information regarding my works. I have always found it interesting to hear people’s take on my paintings, especially the ones that they could actually relate to. That room for interpretation that could even lead to self-discoveries is priceless.

The illustration features a girl disrobing to reveal a single flower blooming from her chest that has been cut open. She is in a trance; you could say in a state of feverish ecstasy. To say the least, “Blossoming” is about new beginnings, of overwhelming positive changes, of spontaneous and necessary transformations. Something is growing.

Meanwhile, “Meet Me in Hoi An” is my mini tribute piece to a place I fell in love with last December. It is a quaint heritage town in the Quang Nam province of Vietnam filled with lanterns, and architecture that is a mix of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese. I could go about describing what I love about it in this entry, but I’m saving that for a travel post solely dedicated to that town.

Surrounded by cranes representing auspiciousness, a girl wearing a nón lá (conical hat) stands waiting quite impatiently. Lanterns hang on branches of magnolias and apple blossoms at the background. Is it related to “Blossoming?” The answer is yes.

Jaipur and Patterns

Jaipur was next on our itinerary after a day trip to Agra. A 2-hour train ride took us to the Pink City on a cool April night in 2011. We stayed at Baba Haveli, which was just a quick tuktuk ride away from the train station. The owner, Mr. Vijay Gautam, was an excellent host – a relief after an exhausting and quite a bad day in Agra. Albeit not so spacious, the rooms and hallways are quaint and charming, lavishly decorated with elaborate frescoes and tasteful furniture that exude old world charm. Our room has a tiny balcony facing the street. Despite that, we didn’t have a problem with noise and were able to sleep soundly.

Early the next morning, we started our tour. Tuktuks (autorickshaws) and local buses are the best modes of transportation to get around the city. But for time-challenged people such as I and my friend during the time we visited, private cars are available for rent. I highly recommend Real Rajasthan Tours. Aside from English-speaking drivers, they offer various tour packages and even customized ones for your convenience and travel satisfaction.
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Dubbed as the “Pink City,” Jaipur takes pride in its distinct pink-painted buildings, which were intended to resemble the red sandstone Mughal architecture. The capital of Rajasthan is a bustling city filled with magnificent forts and palaces, and bazaars teeming with varied textiles, shoes, and Rajasthani jewellery – the latter being its famous commodity. It boasts of being India’s first planned city, known for the width and regularity of its streets. The city is at its most picturesque during late afternoons when its rose-colored architecture glows vibrantly under the rays of the setting sun.
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Glorious decorative patterns can be found on almost every wall and structure, whether painted, carved or etched. I tried to capture these in photos as best as I could for future painting references. Composite tickets are available at a reasonable price of 300 INR for tourists that would grant you access to five monuments – Amber Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall, and Hawa Mahal. Additional charges apply for some sites if you’d like to take pictures.

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