A lot can be said about a person who believes in the concept of gratitude. There is a sense of calm and understanding in an individual who has probably seen and experienced all of life’s ups and downs and remained steadfast in his faith.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise that in his exhibition “Blessed” at The Art District—a new contemporary gallery inside Calvo Building in Escolta—Martin Nieto’s abstract works are reflective of a man who exalts a higher being. “Blessed” ran from September to October.
“Kwento ng buhay, pag-asa at ng isang may kapangyarihan na nagpapakilos ng lahat,” Nieto says.
At the age of 70, the proud grandparent of 18 looks back on his life as a family man, an architect, a businessman and his current turn as a full-time artist.
One can glean wisdom from him as he recounts the various moments that made him who he is today. The Bulaqueño discovered his love for art as a student at Jacinto Ponce Elementary School in Tangos, Baliuag.
He finished architecture at the University of Santo Tomas and went on to run his own successful billboard company. Through hard work and perseverance, he was able to give his family a good and comfortable life.
And while his love for art never left him, it was only in 2020 that he returned to painting and creating artworks that “represent the fullness and holiness of our Almighty God’s creation, the salvation of mankind through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Indeed there is warmth that emanates from the canvas of Nieto’s works—the same kind one senses when he speaks about his wife Zenaida with whom he has eight children, including actor and Manila Vice Mayor Yul Servo.
“She is my biggest fan and believes in my best capacity as an artist,” Nieto says. “Mula nang mapangasawa ko siya, naging relihiyoso ako.”
Naturally, he made sure to immortalize on canvas their humble beginnings in “On the way to the top” as well as the graces they have received in “blessings from above.”
The exhibition was a practice in healing and self-awareness as it helped Nieto—who considers Picasso and Da Vinci as artistic influences—reconcile with the past. Viewers were shown one man’s spiritual journey, and his gratitude to have lived a full life and still remain optimistic with what the future has to offer. —CONTRIBUTED