“Art for a Living,” an online art auction by artists for artists, is being held until June 21 in support of visual artists badly hit by the pandemic. Over 70 artists led by Kublai Millan, Hermes Alegre, Remy Boquiren and Marge Organo joining this auction spearheaded by Danny Rayos del Sol, a pioneering ostrich egg sculptor and head of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts-National Committee on Art Galleries (NCCA-NCAG), with brass sculptor Richard Buxani.
The auction closely follows two simultaneous initiatives in support of medical front-liners: “Art for a Cause-CovAID,” a joint project of Mirasol Outreach Foundation Inc. (Mofi), UPLAW-97D and friends of ManilART; and “Fight Against COVID-19,” organized by Secours Populaire Francais and Mofi. They have donated 4,000 cover-all personal protective equipment (PPE), 9,700 KN95 masks, 15,000 nonwoven surgical masks, 6,000 disposable shoe covers and 100 bottles of isopropyl alcohol.
“Because of COVID-19,” says Rayos del Sol, “our humanitarian efforts were done differently. We have to do everything at home, online transactions from purchases to payment to deliveries. Social distancing prevented us from asking help from our volunteers. Packing of PPE sets was done solely by our family. Our house was turned into a warehouse.”
Since the city was in lockdown, distributing goods to target recipients was difficult, and they had to partner with the civil military operations group of the Philippine Navy as logistical arm to reach the front-liners.
In November 2013, a simple Facebook shoutout by Rayos del Sol to help the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” generated an overwhelming response. Considered the deadliest typhoon in the country’s history, it left more than 7,000 dead or missing, destroyed more than a million homes and displaced about six million workers.“Everybody wanted to help,” said Rayos del Sol. The post raised a significant amount from his friends here and abroad. An Indonesian partner of a nonprofit organization, Secours Populaire Francais (SPF) saw the same post. “He contacted me and proposed a very generous amount of donation for the ‘Yolanda’ victims. I was happy!”
However, after the lengthy email exchanges and several telephone calls, the Indonesian asked if Rayos del Sol could advance the money for the project.
Del Sol recounts: “I asked myself, is he for real?”
With much thought, yet still apprehensive, Rayos del Sol pooled his savings with funds from his good friend Sheila Garcia Macatulad of another nongovermental organization, Children International Summer Village, to keep the project rolling. “My sister asked, ‘Why did you agree to do that? What if he fails to deliver?’ I simply replied, “If he does (fail), then Tess (Rayos del Sol’s wife) and I will have made a very handsome donation to the victims.”
But SPF proved true to its word. A couple of days before their “Yolanda” humanitarian relief operations, representatives from Indonesia came with the funds.
Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” The trust that Rayos del Sol gave SPF and vice versa led to more relief operations through the years.
Apart from building schools and a community center in Busuanga, Palawan, while crafting sustainable development programs for women, they also helped victims of cyclone “Ida” in the remote islands of Vanuatu in Micronesia. They were also involved in the recovery and rehabilitation of Nepal when it was hit by the Gorkha earthquake, and in a number of calamities that hit Indonesia. The most recent was in Mozambique in Africa.
From the partnership rose the Mofi. Now a regional coordinator in Asia for SPF, Rayos del Sol and wife Tess are helping in emergency relief operations as well as in recovery and rehabilitation efforts in many countries reeling from disasters.
The Rayos del Sol couple was busy helping Zamboanga typhoon victims when Taal Volcano erupted Jan. 12. According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Jan. 18, a total of 16,174 families or 70,413 individuals took shelter in 300 evacuation centers, and a total of 96,061 people were affected.
Because of what they see, people give him their fullest trust. He says, “In a casual chat with Marge Organo about what I do for the Taal victims, she readily donated a piece of her work. Another artist from Switzerland also donated her artwork.” The pieces and his ostrich egg sculpture raised P225,000 in an auction. Losing bidders donated their bid funds to his cause. Surpassing their targeted funds means being able to help more people.
He himself has donated many of his sculptures to Unicef, Gawad Kalinga, International Care Ministries through the invitation of artist Addie Cukingnan, among others.The “Art for a Living” auction that runs until June 21 is a self-help project. “I invited artists to submit their works with their corresponding artist price (AP) and gallery price. The artists get their AP if their artwork were sold, while the excess amount will go to an artist’s pool for distribution to artists in dire need,” says Rayos del Sol.
“Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together,” said Goethe 200 years ago. These words of the great German literary figure ring even louder at this time of COVID-19, and kindness is manifested in many ways and forms. Individually and collectively, people from all walks of life have come forward to join this fight. —CONTRIBUTED INQ
Alma Cruz Miclat is president of the Maningning Miclat Art Foundation Inc. The foundation announces the postponement of this year’s Maningning Art Competition due to the pandemic. However, the Maningning Trilingual Poetry Competition will proceed in 2021 and will accept entries April 15 next year. Visit www.facebook.com/brilliant.maningning