Ivi Cosio’s early paper works on view at Archivo | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Avellana Art Gallery presents “Journey: Art: 50.”
Avellana Art Gallery presents “Journey: Art: 50.”

When Ivi Avellana was born, the die was cast that her lot would be in the arts. Now with a compressed eight-page resumé, it is without doubt that the artist of the hour, Ivi Avellana-Cosio, has made her mark on the Philippine art scene.

Many things have been written about her being a child star and being born into Philippine cinema royalty.

But how many really know that at 7, she, with the Trinidad brothers Noel, Corky and Ferde, were radio voice talents? She recalls her parent would write the week’s events in drama form and when a child’s voice was needed, they were the go-to “actors.”

By age 9 she was cast by National Artist Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero on stage, and, by her teen years, she was on TV.

It must have been nurture corroborating with nature that egged her on to take up Fine Arts, major in Advertising, in University of Santo Tomas.

Now, Avellana Art Gallery presents “Journey: Art: 50,” a whole-year celebration of Ivi’s works at different phases of this artist’s development. Displayed at Archivo are her works on paper—each with a story to tell.

Photography is not one of many genres Ivi is known for. But she holds her own with photographs she has taken through the years. Her immediate subjects, her daughters and her husband, cannot be far behind.

Captured in candid moments, the series of images shows Ivi’s sensitivity toward her subjects. She caps them off with images of La Rambla in Barcelona and Paris, always a delight for artists.

Another series focuses on flowers. One particularly stunning piece is the bromeliad, lipstick variety. Using just one color, a fiery red, she delineates each petal while keeping the background to black.

The green center of the entire flower acts like a bulls’-eye. Minimal but very effective. There may be a hint of O’Keefe but the comparison ends with the subject matter.

In 1971, Ivi bagged the top prize at a Printmakers Association of the Philippines competition. Together with Brenda Fajardo, Ofelia Tequi, Meps Endaya and even Nelfa Quirubin-Thompson, she was doing print. They were all females despite the physical demands of the medium.

Ivi says maybe it’s the meticulous nature of women to pay attention to small details that draws them toward printmaking. She demonstrates how it was to turn the press while she was pregnant with her daughter Ina!

As to the nude, she rues they were never allowed to do it when she was in advertising school. When the opportunity came, as a member of the Saturday Group, she felt like she was making up for lost time.

I knew she and her husband Allan had a singing group, 1st Monday Music Club. What I wasn’t aware of was the quality of the voice that would come out of the tiny physique.

There is a soothing, almost gentle, rocking motion to Ivi’s voice. The repertoire couldn’t have been more perfect—no torch songs, just gentle melodies that can send you to reverie.

Allan and Ivi were once talking about how Ella Luansing never took on the name of husband Rolando Tinio.

“But it was your choice to attach my name or not to your name,” Allan says.

“I thought it was natural that I did it because of our status. You mean you don’t mind if I didn’t?” asks Ivi.

“No,” says Allan.

Now she thinks it’d too late; people will think they’ve separated if she stops using Cosio.

This must have always been a dilemma Ivi had to contend with: daughter of, wife of. But she’s her own woman, as her signature says: Ivi. —CONTRIBUTED

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