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FRESH-FACED and optimistic, the works of nine-year-old Hamzah Marbella may be a revitalizing turn for the local art scene.

Already blessed with a technical aptitude that rivals older peers, the youngest member of the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) has been recognized by numerous local and international organizations, and is a recipient of more than 50 awards that have acknowledged not only his impressive technique, but his unique vision. His awards include an Outstanding Artist Award, Special Citation from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and a Certificate of Recognition at the UN International Children?s Art Competition.

?Naif: A Solo Exhibition by Hamzah? will formally open Jan. 22, 6 p.m., and will run until Jan. 25, at the Atrium level of The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center. The exhibit will then move to Galerie Joaquin, lower ground floor (B13-14) of The Podium, Jan. 26 to Feb. 4.

The Cavite-born artist is known for using bold, thick brushstrokes and bright palettes that reflect a cheerful and hopeful demeanor. The almost narrative-like compositions of his works revel in childhood preoccupations. There are motifs of smiling women, cats, and fish in rural settings that perhaps befit the upbringing of the artist. The abstraction of features, i.e. elongated necks and flat-dimensions, serve only to entice the viewer to enter a dream-like visualization of the world.

Already, the visuals are rich in character and strong in artistic merit?it will be interesting what direction Marbella will take his vision in the future.

The exhibition is organized by Galerie Joaquin and PMAX International.