In Metro Manila’s business district, where the human rush is routine and the landscape is dominated by dreary gray concrete, scenes straight from nature are effortlessly captured: wild stallions in mid-gallop, and mares trotting about with their young not so far behind.
It’s no trick of the eye. It is sculptor and designer Ann Tiukinhoy Pamintuan’s imagination running like the wind. At the Greenbelt ArtPark, her wrought-iron beauties come to life even as they are suspended in utter stillness.
The artist’s most recent public sculpture collection, “The Siblings,” is composed of 13 freestanding cocoon horses, whose bodies are life-size masses of intricately woven wire.
With each piece a tribute to one of the 13 Tiukinhoy siblings, every horse takes on a different character and is even named after its particular muse.
The horses’ detailed physiques are wiry, chiseled, and set in various poses—a feat, considering the medium. Pamintuan successfully arranges lines of braided metal to replicate strands of muscle in motion and translates this to metal in movement.
Much like her previous creations, “The Siblings” does not force aesthetics beyond what comes naturally.
“It is simple, devoid of clutter and noise,” said Pamintuan about her art. “It is always raw, but elegant without pushing it—you don’t push hard for ‘the look.’”
It was a gift-project-turned-small-business venture that led Ann to her passion. On a whim, the Business graduate, who was once discouraged by her father from taking up Architecture or Fine Arts, decided to gift her sister with bags and belts she designed herself.
Upon seeing the handcrafted items, Ann’s sister brought a handful to New York and began selling them. When they got good sales for the merchandise, Pamintuan knew she was on to something.
“That’s what sparked my creativity,” the artist said. “When I start something, I always want to improve because it becomes more challenging that way. I began electro-plating shells and flowers. That’s when I realized that I liked things ‘in the nude,’ so to speak.”
After trying her hand in jewelry design, Ann exhibited her work for the first time in “Roots to Gold” at the Ayala Museum in 1994.
Pamintuan’s career shot up from there as she drove herself to move past the ornamental and venture into functional design. This eventually catapulted Pamintuan to her claim to fame—the sought-after cocoon chair.
Pamintuan has worked with some of the biggest names in Philippine design and was the first Asian female designer to be spotlighted in the International Design Yearbook.
She is also a founding member of Movement 8, the country’s elite pool of Filipino designers. Most of all, Ann prides herself in being as hands-on a mother as she is an artist.
Pamintuan is working on applying her genre style to sculptural pieces and larger structures.
“The Siblings” will be on show at the Greenbelt ArtPark until Aug. 26.