"Is this a magic show?" my nine year old nephew, Onin, asked as he saw this barefoot, long haired, reed-thin guy in a cacha floor length gown chant words in a foreign language (Aramaic) as he set his cacha rug on fire.
Such was the beginning of last Saturday's program that launched Razceljan Salvarita's artPAIX exhibit at the Luce Auditorium Foyer Gallery. This exhibit, which runs until January 3, 2009, includes paintings, photographs, installations, performance and videolight projection.
Here's a collage of some of his works.
Gracing and making the launch possible were:
(1) Dessa Quesada-Palm, my beautiful and earthy director in Usaping Puki, who sang two songs in Tagalog by Joey Ayala. I did not know Dessa could sing so well!
(2) Susan Vista-Suarez, my friend since high school, and now choir conductor and designated University Cultural Officer
(3) Yen Ocon, Susan's music student, my friend and idol vocalist, who I do believe can hold a concert all her own! She is so small and yet her voice is just so heavenly. She can hit the high notes with seemingly zero effort.
(4) Quddus Padilla, restaurateur, patron of the arts and owner of Boston Cafe Art Gallery. I heard from somewhere that cooking is the most passionate of all professions. Was it Ratatouille? Or was it The Devil Wears Prada? I'm not sure now.
(5) And of course, Kuya Moe and Ian, the dynamos of Silliman, were there, they being the movers and shakers of everything artsy and cultural hereabouts.
(6) Rianne Salvarita, the artist's brother who is a painter and photographer himself, presently has an ongoing exhibit at the Boston Cafe Gallery.
(7) Razcel and Rianne's parents
(8) The audience, whom Razcel kept thanking for coming
So was it a magic show? I don't know. What I know is that the dried leaves that Razcel splayed on the Luce Foyer Gallery floor brought me magically back to adolescent summers when the shed acacia leaves in the Silliman Campus would pile ankle deep on the ground, and we would plow through them, reveling in the crackling of the crisp leaves beneath our feet.
Leaves and trees and soil are close to Razcel's heart for he is an environmental activist of such caliber that has earned him the distinction of representing our country in two United Nations Climate Change Conferences in Montreal, Canada and in Bali, Indonesia. Just in his early twenties, Razcel has been featured by The New York Times, BBC and Reuters. And next week, he'll be in Boracay for a SolGen (Solar Generation) Youth convention on climate change. Dare we hope that something great and good for our environment will come out of this Boracay gathering?