Art gives a sense of renewal since, like water, it can clean and transform. This is also one of the ideas examined by the Iloilo-born artist Michael Delmo for his third solo exhibition titled “Balod” (Wave), which opened March 20 at Museo Iloilo in Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City.
Influenced by his exposure to Dinagyang Festival, where he worked as a festival production designer, he continues to express his narratives and collection of meditations through the vibrancy of colors and the intricacy of details. But his recent works do not aim to exude the same festive energy. He, instead, captures moments of tranquility.
Representing the “masked figure covered in colorful scalelike skin,” as described in the exhibit notes, he plays with different connotations of the wave, “the waves of a Great Flood, the ebb and flow of life, or the waves of changes that the Flood brings.”
The title piece shows the suspended upturned figure before plunging into the water, as though having a final look at the abundance of flora. The figure is arrested in time, not to freeze it, instead to make them forever in motion. The figure’s composure is serene, similar to the figures in other works like in “Huyo” (Free fall), “Tipas” (Confused) and “Pintol” (Remnant).
“For this exhibit, you can say that most figures are in a meditative or contemplative state, but I didn’t mean for the exhibit as being about prayer or meditation per se,” says Delmo in an online exchange. “They are products of how I process the world around me [my environment, current events, my relationships] and how they affect my perception of and connection to my inner world, my intuition and imagination,” he notes.
Delmo mirrors his figures, for he continues to contemplate the current situation of his environment. This is also how the works challenge the viewers—to reflect the same state of the figures, to embrace moments of stillness and isolation, especially in the current state of the pandemic, to come back to the world transformed. —CONTRIBUTED INQ