Elemento Art Light Flow interweaves art, environment, community

“Elemento art, light, flow” welcomes viewers to come together during this festive holiday season, to a space transformed by the unifying elements of light, creative force, and community.

Elemento art, light, flow layers art and environmental consciousness. It is an extraordinary exhibit celebrating the power of art to inspire, connect, and illuminate. An otherworldly outdoor installation by contemporary artist Leeroy New takes centerstage. The 8000-square-meter canvas at Ayala Triangle features two installations, “Elemental” and “Nautilus of Dreams.”

“Elemental” and “Nautilus of Dreams” at Elemento Art Light Flow
Ayala Triangle is home to Leeroy New’s “Elemental” and “Nautilus of Dreams” until January 14, 2024

The “alienesque” structures are made of pods that nestle 700 solar lights by Illac Diaz’s Liter of Light. Liter of Light is a non-profit organization and a global, grassroots movement. Its commitment is to make solar lights affordable and sustainable for those who have no access to electricity.

Contemporary Artist Leeroy New
Contemporary Artist Leeroy New

“Elemental” is a dynamic constellation of art pods akin to the web of life, celebrating our interconnectedness and unity but also our diversity and individuality. The installations consist of PolyAl boards, steel, collected plastic bottles, bamboo, cableties, paint, solar-powered LED lamps, and live plants. These are powered by Liter of Light.

“Elemental” is a dynamic constellation of art pods akin to the web of life
“Elemental”

Meanwhile, the spiraled “Nautilus of Dreams” welcomes all to an inner exploration of self. It is a symbol of expansion and renewal, fostering support for community programs like Liter of Light and Art House. At sunset, during the opening, New expressed his happiness about being in “such a public and beautiful space as Ayala Triangle park.”

He invited the audience to notice how “bit by bit all the solar powered lights from Liter of Light are turning on on its own” explaining that it’s automatic for the lights to turn on as it gets dark.

“Nautilus of Dreams” at Elemento Art Light Flow
“Nautilus of Dreams”

New and Liter of Light invite viewers to reflect, engage, and contribute towards a sustainable world. The artistic endeavor is in fact, a tribute to Typhoon Yolanda’s 10th Anniversary. It serves to remind society of our collective responsibility to take care of the environment. The endeavor also collaborated with bambike during the opening day for guests to experience.

Elemento art, light, flow” ribbon-cutting ceremony: Carmen Ong, Makati Vice Mayor Monique Lagdameo, The Art House president and CEO Carlo Pineda, Dina Arroyo-Tantoco, Search Mindscape co-founder and project director/Elemento curator Ayni Nuyda

READ ALSO: Clay With Heart: Ceramicist Rita Badilla-Gudiño Champions Us All Through Art

Tremors to open the vernissage

The Elemento art, light, flow vernissage opening featured “Tremors” performed by Daloy Dance Company choreographed by director Ea Torrado. Daloy Dance Company is a contemporary dance group based in the Philippines that realizes the works of Torrado.

Tremors, Daloy Dance Company
Daloy Dance Company performs “Tremors”

In an exclusive interview with Lifestyle Asia, Torrado shares, “When Ayni Nuyda invited me to craft a performance piece for the Elemento exhibit, all I could see was it will be in a garden teeming with foot traffic. The idea is that the exhibit has an environmental statement, utilizing recycled materials and waste. And Daloy Dance Company will be adorned in wearable art crafted by my longstanding collaborator, the visual contemporary artist Leeroy New.

Daloy Dance Company, Tremors

Defying Conventions

I call the performance piece, ‘Tremors.’ No story. It defies conventional narrative constructs. Instead, it morphs into dynamic installations, enlivening the garden’s integral spaces. No aim for a linear storyline; but it aspired to be kinetic sculptures, inviting visual and visceral moments, both for the audience and and the performers themselves.”

Tremors within the “Nautilus of Dreams” | Photo by Jovel Bon Llanza

The multi-disciplinary dance artist elaborates that she did not dwell excessively on defining the messages of the performance. She preferred to provide scores, structures, or set movements to the performers. This allowed the audience to naturally weave their own stories or meanings based on what they saw and experienced. Torrado continues by saying that in motivating the dancers to interpret the scores and structures, she encouraged them to associate visiting the park with a sensation akin to entering a space of prayer. It is a place for regenerative connection, something profound and hopeful. She intimates that the moment they gathered around the “Nautilus of Dreams” became a conduit for receiving messages or intuitive nudges.

Living and creating amidst life’s complexities

This is reminiscent of the wisdom found when connecting with nature–be it a tree, mountain, or sea. It is about listening intently, for a prolonged period, to other-than-human species and living beings. Torrado shares, “When the performers stepped onto the grass-level staircase, the score was to tremble as if immersing oneself in the complex emotions and exhaustion evoked by having only a small patch of land and grass, amidst towering structures symbolizing progress, ambition, and achievement.”

She said, “In the finale, dancing on the staircase was an ode to continuing dancing. And more passionately than ever before. As a means to embrace the responsibility of ‘living’ and ‘creating’ amidst the complexities of existence–navigating wars, spiraling inequality, environmental collapse, and more. ‘Tremors,’ for me, encapsulated the exploration of faith while trying to be rooted to the earth, to the ground. Even with embellishments and life’s crazies, and all.”

The finale is an ode to "continuing dancing"
The finale is an ode to “continuing dancing”

A Deeper Dive

Torrado dives deeper into the movements of the performers. They had a repertoire of simple gestures–deliberate, unhurried movements, trembling or shaking, and a measured pace of walking. These served as foundational elements, from which they would erupt into expansive and dynamic movements that filled the space with the latter part of the performance. The costumes were vibrant, playful, crafted from plastics which are typically frowned upon for their environmental impact. They are also massive and dominating on the dancers’ bodies, so as a deliberate contrast, “we paired it with meditative music.”

Ea Torrado of Daloy Dance Company | Photo courtesy of Ea Torrado

Dance as a personal spiritual experience

Torrado shared further, “And despite the perceived necessity to perform when adorned in such elaborate costumes, I dared the dancers to resist that urge. Instead, I pushed for every subtle movement to hold significance, urging them to step onto the stage and embrace their absolute humanity.”

She continued, “I told them that this echoed the essence of being a professional performer–despite adversities, challenging circumstances, or the pressure to be objectified, criticized, or expected to merely entertain, every second of their experience had to be deeply personal.” 

Daloy Dance performers at Ayala Triangle | Photo by Jovel Bon Llanza

She asked them to delve fully into their humanity–questioning, wondering, praying, longing, breaking, expressing, holding tension, breathing, and everything in between. “If they could embody and express the complexity of being human to its fullest extent while engaging in stillness, trembling, and dynamic movements, I believe that’s when it becomes captivating. That’s when a performer becomes a mirror reflecting the depth of vitality and spirituality that some of us in the audience yearns to explore within ourselves.”

Following the enthralling performance by Daloy Dance Company, the audience was led to the indoor gallery of Elemento art, light, flow. The Digital Section features contemporary masters Botong Francisco, Vicente Manansala, Abdulmari Imao x Toym Imao, and Jose Joya x Andre Baldovino.

Elemento art light flow
“Elemento art light flow” indoor exhibit runs until December 23 at The Shops at Ayala Triangle Gardens while the outdoor installation is for public view until January 14 at Ayala Triangle Gardens

Athena’s Whisper

“Athena’s Whisper,” a FIFTHWALL short film produced by Search Mindscape Foundation is a tribute to the late master, Justin Nuyda. It brings to life one of the painter’s last creations. Viewers are reminded of its compelling statement of the divine feminine. 

According to Search Mindscape Foundation, “The film promises an encounter that softly echoes the strength of the unseen.” In addition, “the painting encapsulates the divine feminine, seamlessly merging the subtle yet potent strength of womanhood into a compelling testament of enduring grace, vulnerability, and power.”

Brightness Within

Aaron Virata Mempin speaks about his creative process, saying that his art is a one-of-a-kind fusion of abstract and figurative expressionism. Mempin shares that “simple shapes and colors collide to create stunning, unforgettable works.” He adds, “Each piece is a product of my boundless imagination, designed to transport you to another realm. My artworks, in general, are like a love letter to the Philippines, a tribute to the breathtaking beauty of this amazing country. Through my eyes, you’ll see the majesty of the mountains, the vastness of the sea, and the wonder of nature.”

Aaron Virata Mempin with featured work (right bottom), “Brightness Within” 2023, 36 inches x 24 inches, mixed media on canvas
Aaron Virata Mempin with featured work (right bottom), “Brightness Within” 2023, 36 inches x 24 inches, mixed media on canvas

Inspired by the Philippines’ beauty

Mempin draws inspiration from the natural beauty of the Philippine seascapes, where he sought to capture the sense of peace and tranquility in his art. He elaborates, “Looking intently at any of my pieces, ‘Brightness Within,’ for example, it immediately evokes a sense of calm and hopefulness.” According to Mempin, he embarked on a journey of self-discovery, pushing past his comfort zone to find new horizons of artistic expression. This path led him to a newfound sense of freedom and passion. He intimates, “My story is a reminder that when we dare to take risks and seek out new experiences, we open ourselves up to wondrous possibilities.”

Tindera 

For “Tindera,” Ronna Manansala assembled strips of used gift wrapping paper and incorporated them into a harmonious tapestry of colors and patterns. Manansala shares, “The vibrant remnants, once destined for the waste bin, found new life as they create a visually dynamic form. Layered over this canvas, discarded lace fabric is carefully arranged, draped, and fastened in a way that imitates the organic flow of connections in our lives.” Manansala finds the opportunity to make use of things that would have otherwise ended up in the trash bin. She shares, “Marami pong matatagpuan sa ating mga basurahan na maari pa pong pakinabangan. (There are many ways to make use of items found amongst trash.) Considering the state of our environment, we need to think of ways to save it.”

Ronna Manansala with featured work (top two) “Tindera”, "Ang Pagmamahal Ng Ina," and "Sungka," (bottom left), 2023, 26 x 30 inches, mixed media on canvas
Ronna Manansala with featured work (top two) “Tindera”, “Ang Pagmamahal Ng Ina,” and “Sungka,” (bottom left), 2023, 26 x 30 inches, mixed media on canvas

The Humblest Of Things Are Fireflies. They Shine In The Darkness Of The Night.

Abe Orobia tells Lifestyle Asia, “I wear many hats, I am first and foremost an artist.” He continues, “I am forever an educator. I consider myself a passionate writer although I haven’t finished journalism.” Orobia adds, “I am a curator, a cultural advocate, and most of all a nature lover.” He shares that his first project with advocacy on nature preservation was a TV commercial launched by United Nations Fund. The artist says, “It was directed by Socsie Topacio when I was eight years young and filmed using oil pastels.”

A Deep Love for Nature

Orobia’s love for nature turned him into a cyclist. He shares, “To recharge my creative juices and to keep myself sane I will ride alone if not with my brothers or with friends even before the pandemic happened and much more during the lockdowns. It made me reflect more about life with all the chaos that was happening during those times. I took photos and etched in my heart and my mind the beautiful scenery, dramatic sunsets, and the majestic dawn I have laid my eyes everywhere I travelled.” He adds, “I then turned these reflections into works of art using them as metaphors about existence. I understood fully that everything in this world is ephemeral and there is time for everything under the sun.”

Abe Orobia at the vernissage of "Elemento art, light, flow"
Abe Orobia at the vernissage of “Elemento art, light, flow”

Orobia believes: “Fireflies have built in light switches in their system and as humans I believe we are good by nature although that we chose to drift away from our moral faculties and choose wickedness over kindness. The crumpled aluminum does not only represent human frailties but their capacity to shine in darkest of times. We are like fireflies.”

Multidisciplinary curatorial approach

Elemento art, light, flow is an avant-garde art activation presented by The Art House and Search Mindscape Foundation. It is curated by Ayni Nuyda, co-founder and project director of Search Mindscape Foundation.

Ayni Nuyda

Ayni shares, “We would really love for people and artists to experience the art. Tap into your five senses from smelling, breathing, feeling-you can engage with the installations. And as far as the curatorial approach, we wanted to be multidisciplinary: we have art, light, and flow.”

The Art House president and CEO Juan Carlos Pineda with family
Leslie, Andreas, Carlo, and Maritess Pineda

Carlo Pineda, president and CEO of The Art House shared his sentiments, “How art can play an active role in the community and by doing that we hope to inspire the younger generation to be more conscious and to activate them to be part of this whole creative process and journey.”

Elemento art, light, flow indoor exhibit runs until December 23, 2023 at The Shops at Ayala Triangle Gardens. The outdoor art installation is available for public view until January 14, 2024 at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. The catalogue can be viewed here.

Banner photo courtesy of The Art House.

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