Filipino freelance filmmaker paints beauty of UAE corals and sea


Malaya Roxanne Santos explains to Indonesian Consul General in Dubai and Northern Emirates Candra Negara her concept on one of the ‘Dance of the Corals’ panels as Off The Hook Managing Director Rolly Brucales watches. John Varughese / Gulf today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior reporter

Eleven years after her first visit, a Filipino independent filmmaker who dabbled in abstract painting, having been exposed to the visual arts since childhood, staged her first international one-man show in Dubai.

Sunday evening and since the opening in the open air of the “Splash of Hope-Journey of Healing and Optimism”, the Consular Attaché of the Consulate General of the Philippines Antonette Peralta, congratulated Malaya Roxanne Santos, for having been an inspiration and for having demonstrated that any epic episode such as the new coronavirus, is a dichotomy through which faith and optimism germinate.

Another special guest, the Consul General of Indonesia in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, Candra Negara, praised Santos for the two series of six paintings which invite calm, serenity and absolute happiness despite the tragedy, the pain and loss.

Exhibition venue, the general manager of the seafood restaurant Off The Hook (Ibn Battuta shopping center), Rolly Brucales, was happy to welcome Santos. Their partnership had fueled the advocacy for the promotion of the visual arts, because “the culinary and visual arts are tapestries of life”.

Santos, mother of three with her son Geo, a former student of her alma mater, the University of the Philippines (Diliman Campus) – College of Fine Arts Department, and her daughter Annie, who engaged in multimedia arts in high school – could have chosen to take home the six paintings to display directly in his own Likha ni Malaya (Creation of Malaysia) studio and gallery in Quezon City, Metro Manila: “So why bring home when possible to have my first solo exhibition right here United Arab Emirates and Dubai had me painting during a hiatus.

With the United Arab Emirates and Dubai as the cause of the “Dance of the Corals” (diptych set of two acrylics) and “Songs of the Sea” (polyptych set of four acrylics), Gulf Today, who met Santos for the first time 11 years ago, asked of his impression: “The UAE was beautiful back then. It’s more majestic now. In terms of architecture, Dubai has always been at the forefront. With the advent of the Louvre (visited recently), Abu Dhabi has become much more interesting as a center of arts and culture.

Delighted that she and her children returned to the UAE in time for Expo 2020 Dubai and alongside the opening of seasonal tourist spots, Santos added, “It’s all like a breath of fresh air. This includes people who exude warmth and kindness. It’s the little things like sharing food when we went for a picnic at Love Lake; I stop to entertain my crying baby at Legoland. Small acts of kindness but that mean a lot.

Santos, whose first name means “free” in Filipino because his parents played a major role in the fight against human rights at the height of Marcos’ tumultuous two-decade dictatorship, added: ” lights and sounds of Expo 2020 was such a great inspiration. It looked like a light at the end of the tunnel. Life in the midst of all these sicknesses and sorrows and deaths. A much appreciated sanctuary and refuge.

Therefore, both the “Dance of the Corals” and the “Songs of the Sea” are her contribution to the central message of the World Expo of “sustainable flows and resources”. The two sets of acrylic paintings also refer to the significance of the Bangkota Filipino Pavilion in the Sustainability District: “The Philippines and the Filipino people have so much potential and resilience, courage, courage, grace and hope to heal ourselves and our nation. The coral is called the “garden of the sea” which symbolizes wisdom, modesty, happiness and unity. We dance, sing and laugh in the midst of all adversity. We follow the current of the sea, the Filipino diaspora. We thrive where life takes us and one day, like sea turtles, we return home to lay eggs. Eggs of hope, progress and prosperity for all.

Santos is strongly influenced by her two “maestros” (teacher) Romulo Galicano who patiently mentored her on “classical realism” and Fernando Sena, the father of Filipino art workshops, including the American painter Jackson Pollock. She is appalled by condescending art critics, saying that while everyone is interconnected, everyone has their own story to tell: “Everyone has an opinion. We have the right to express ourselves.


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