Women empowerment isn’t just about offering equal rights to women, but also about ensuring that they are an essential asset in the society’s workforce.

With this, a group of Filipino artists bonded together to celebrate the beauty and mystery of women through an art exhibit themed ‘Babae Sino Ka?—An Ode to Women’, which seeks to honor all works of women in the society.

The art exhibit, located at Fernando B. Sena Buenas Artes Art Facility in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, opened on March 1 and will run until March 14.

Nathalie Medranao, lead convenor of the ‘Babae Sino Ka?’ movement and exhibit facilitator, came up with the idea for the art installation as part of the worldwide observance of the International Women’s Day (March 8) this year and national Women’s Month this March.

It is in partnership with Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) and Community Health Education Emergency Rescue Services (CHEERS) Foundation.

Medrano said the purpose of the exhibit is to both raise women’s awareness through art and to encourage them to showcase their talents in arts as well as to prove that being creative is inexpensive.

‘BABAE, SINO KA?’. Participating artists convene together during the opening of the art exhibit on Sunday (March 1,2020) at the Fernando B. Sena Buenas Artes Art Facility in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The art exhibit showcases the beauty of women in all aspects of life. It will run until March 14. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

“This is about women of all ages, of all social classes being able to express who they are as Filipino—because there’s a misconception about art that it is only for the rich people, only for those who have time, and only for a certain age group, but it is really not,” she said.

She added that expressing oneself to others must be a right and must not be expensive as anyone thinks.

The “Babae Sino Ka?” movement has been launched four years ago which aims to give respect to the incomparable sacrifices of all women at no cost.

‘No artist left behind’

Medrano calls on all artists, especially women painters, to participate in the Freedom Art Society (FAS)—a non-profit organization composed of self-reliant, empowered, and world-class Filipino artists, which advocates culture and other movements through arts.

The “Babae Sino Ka?” art movement targets one hundred women to present their artworks mirroring their thoughts, feelings, perceptions, views, dreams, aspirations, and stand on womanhood, putting their stamps on this humble endeavor.

Ernie Salmon Grande, 65, participated in the art exhibit saying “it’s not too late to discover your talents and pursue your passion”.

Ernie Salmon Grande

For him, painting is not just leisure to ease boredom at his age. He said he finds painting an outlet of showcasing who he is.

“It was truly an honor to be part of this art exhibit, I’m not just expressing myself, I glad I’m also being part of empowering women to showcase their passion through arts,” he said.

Grande is enjoying his craft and calls on other emerging artists not to be afraid to start expressing themselves through art.

For 40-year-old participating artist Joanna Bernadine-Ramos, a mathematics teacher and a music lover, showcasing her artwork highlighting her passion made her realize of the strengths she didn’t know she had.

She said the art exhibit is an opportunity for her—as a starting artist in the industry— to express herself through her painting.

Ramos said her piece is presenting herself playing an instrument.

She said through art, she was able to express the things she could hardly express through words.

(Top photo: Joanna Bernadine)

She gave a piece of advice to those who wanted to be inclined with arts.

“Do not be afraid to start in the industry, just continue doing the craft and never compare your works to others. Just be you and love whatever the result of your artwork. That will improve your skills and don’t stop imagining how beautiful life is,” she said.

Art for a cause

Medrano said to make the Women’s Month observance more meaningful for the participating artists, part of the proceeds of the art exhibit will be given to the CHEERS Foundation.

Fifty percent of proceeds will be given to the participating artist and 50 percent will help affected residents of the Taal Volcano eruption.

PCW Commissioner Sandy Sanchez- Montano said the funds that will be raised through the ‘Babae Sino Ka?’ art exhibit will be used to build a multi-functional Aruga Center which will be piloted in the Batangas City.

The Aruga Center, she said, aims to provide assistance to the women affected by Taal’s unrest.

Montano said aside from helping the women through establishing an ‘Aruga Center’, the exhibit also aims to come up with a significant body of artworks that will reflect the women of today.

She also urges all women to showcase their artistic sides and all other talents they have this women’s month.

PCW has slated several activities for March—honoring the bravery and importance of women in our society.

“We are encouraging all the women to take an active part in the activities set by the Commission on Women. Let’s partake in women empowerment, gender mainstreaming, and advocate the beauty of women in all aspects of life,” Montano said. (Lade Jean Kabagani, PNA)