In 2005 I received an invitation to have a solo exhibition in North America. The invitation letter from the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford, Pennsylvania was a welcome sight and I was so happy about it.
I felt proud to be part in the Spectrum Series program of the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford – the first Filipino invited to the prestigious multicultural and multinational event showcasing award-winning musicians and artists to well-known poets and photographers.
To me these kinds of opportunity knock only once in a lifetime. But in my case this is the second time. The first was the invitation for a solo show at Shaw College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, in 2002. That first solo art exhibition I had, titled BAGGAGE, was a dream come true in my career as an artist.
Although I was very happy for the US show, a silent hesitation clouded that sunshine in my mind. There were many things to consider. Among the most important are the body of works to be included in the exhibition, the time element needed for the preparation and completion of these artpieces and on top of these is the funding. I also became more concerned that, as a family man, I need to complete the commercial project of my own company before concentrating on the preparations for the exhibition so that I will have enough budget for my family and my trip.
All the above concerns are nothing compared to the most important requirement for the trip - the US Visa. This document, or its absence, could either make or break the whole project. I have not applied for one in my entire life simply because I have no plans of going to the US. Europe attracts me the most because of its art and history.
Anyhow, after resorting to the most important key in facing these kinds of predicament, everything went smooth-sailing. After sincerely praying to God the Father Almighty for help I waited for His answer while continuing my works to finish all the artpieces that I planned to bring.
Truly, everything was put in place in His own perfect time. Even my feelings as a father and husband leaving my family behind for a month was given reassurance. This was the reason why I have chosen the title FREE FLOW in my exhibition.
FREE FLOW is not just the exhibition itself in that excellent venue. It is the whole process not only from the very beginning of the preparations to the conclusion of the exhibition but from how I started my life as an artist and goes beyond towards the future in the succeeding chapters of my life and how it will be molded.
As a realization, I see that art is just a tool for spiritual as well as material survival. The talent could be used to earn a living. Most importantly, art should and must never be worshipped or given priority above life and most of all above spirituality. Art is just a tool for true spirituality to facilitate enlightenment but must never be abused as objects for idolatry and spiritual blindness.
To live a free flowing life is to glide in the wind of God the Father Almighty's statutes, like a bird resting in the caring hands of God the Father Almighty, and not forcing oneself against His will just because of selfish ambitions. The goodness of the messages that art wishes to convey must never be held captive and inutile within these visual tools only but has to be reflected and manifest itself in the lives of artists themselves.
Art must not be kept sterile and allowed to be reduced as a medium to express discontent or depict misery but has to be elevated as a vital tool in changing the artist themselves morally and spiritually for the better. In this way an artist's life could be free flowing as it is released from captivity to sin.