Photo by: LB Times
“Howling Winds” takes the stage at the Sining Makiling Gallery

Storm roars. Whistling winds. Shattered objects. Sometimes, circumstances make great inspiration for art. This is how visual artist Jualim “Alim” Vela, a faculty member at the Department of Humanities (DHUm) of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), created his latest art exhibit, Howling Winds.

Howling Winds was derived from his personal experience interpreting resilience when experiencing super typhoons in his hometown, Catanduanes.

This exhibit reimagines the destructive impact of typhoons and the unwavering resilience of the people. Inspired by Vela’s hometown, metal sculptures and paintings were featured in the exhibit, interpreting his family and his hometown’s experience in dealing with super typhoons.

Recalling some harrowing experiences from hearing storm roars, howling and whistling winds, shattered household objects, finding shelter in house corners, and looking at a flickering candle that serves as their guiding light during a storm, the exhibit demonstrated different artworks including paintings using oil on canvas, and sculptures using brass wire, stainless steel, and terracotta-colored clay. According to Vela, creating art is both nostalgic and therapeutic.

One of the exhibit’s highlights is the three-piece painting sets of natural leaf skeletons, which Vela collects. “Basically, everything started with this skeleton,” Vela said during the opening program, holding up three dried, curled-up leaf skeletons for the audience to see. Vela’s fascination with collecting leaf skeletons intensified after a super typhoon devastated Bicol in November 2020.

Other interesting pieces in the show are stainless steel sculptures with human face-molded clay and some art pieces influenced by Vela’s experience of having lived in Japan for a decade.

Howling Winds formally opened to the public last February 21. It is the first exhibit opening under the new leadership of the new Office of Initiatives for Culture and the Arts (OICA) director, Dr. Laurence S. Castillo.

Usually, the art exhibit’s opening happens in the basement of the Sining Makiling Gallery. However, the opening program was held at the DL Umali Hall lobby for Howling Winds. Then, the audience was led downstairs for the formal opening of the exhibit as an introduction to the Howling Winds experience.

In attendance were CAS dean Dr. Maribel Sese, CAS-DHum chair Dr. Katrina Ross Tan, CAS Visual and Performing Arts Division head Dr. Mary Cita M. Hufana, former OICA director Jerry R. Yapo, students, and art enthusiasts.

The exhibit is also part of the celebration of UPLB Arts Month and the launching of the 5th AGORA research focus area, Social Justice and Cultural Flourishing. Howling Winds is available for viewing at the Sining Makiling Gallery in the basement of the DL Umali Hall until April 21, 2024. (KEAraguas with information from UPLB OICA)

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