THE DIVA AS PAINTER
Kuh Ledesma returns to her first love
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The celebrated chanteuse Kuh Ledesma, after remarkable success as a pop diva (and still counting concerts), has gone back to the love of her childhood: painting.
Growing up in Manila, Kuh discovered she could draw and paint well. And so she did, while as a grade-school student at College of the Holy Ghost (now Holy Spirit) and a high-schooler at Malate Catholic School.
The students were encouraged to show their works, and Kuh mounted her own exhibit. After the show, she rolled up her paintings, took a taxi—and then absentmindedly left all her works in the cab. The paintings were not returned, of course, because the driver did not know her from Eve.
Kuh being a Born-Again Christian, I ask her: “Did you consider it a sign from God?”
“No,” she retorts, “it was a sign of stupidity! Maybe the plan of God was different.”
After high school, Kuh wanted to study Fine Arts at the University of Santo Tomas but her mother firmly said no. (Irony, because the family was creative and the mother herself dabbled in painting.) The usual reasons. There’s no money in art; get a profession, etc.
Today, decades later, Kuh muses: “Parents should see what their children really want. That’s why there are a lot of unhappy people.”
To please her mother, crying all the way to the City of Smiles, Kuh took up nursing in Bacolod, Negros Occidental, and finished her studies. Then fate, you might say, intervened.
There was an invitation from friends to join the Music and Magic band and that launched her on a career in music. Later, she became a famous soloist.
The idea of being a visual artist (and nurse) was dropped, but her interest in the field continued. She collected paintings and antiques, and visited museums during trips abroad. She was attracted to abstract art and surrealism, and influences included early 20th-century masters such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Max Ernst.
Finally, last year, Kuh went back to painting with a vengeance.
“I graduated from high school 40 years ago,” she announces. “And so I have come up with 40 paintings.”
Those not familiar with the singer’s background in the visual arts will be surprised by the professional polish of the works.
As an anonymous admirer put it: “The paintings are done with strong, bold colors that somehow manage a sense and spirit that calm the soul. She paints happy pictures. Her brushstrokes are swirling, curving and graceful. Her colors are magnificent. Some abstract, some representations of modern art.”
These works—most of them, anyway (the artist is still deciding)—will be displayed in Whitespace Gallery (2314 Chino Roces Ave., formerly Pasong Tamo Extension, Brgy.
Magallanes, Makati City) on Sept. 13, 6 p.m. It is only a one-day exhibit, but interested persons may view the works Sept. 12.
And so our chanteuse has found or rediscovered another true love, and she will combine painting and performing from now on. She even plans to open a gallery.
“Everything is in God’s plan,” she concludes.
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