by Zarelle Glen Dorothy A. Villanzana
“Doors are openings and closing moments in life, with this fundraising event, this will open opportunities to help others,” stated Michael E. Bacol, a member of Pasundayag Theatre Company.
Entitled, “Energy Exchange,” “The title itself describes how this concept of sharing your energy is, thus this belief that everywhere and everything around us is energy, and money is energy too.. so this initiative allows anybody who is willing to share their energies through the arts,” explained further by Denise Mordeno Aguilar, the current Artistic Director of Pasundayag Theatre Company.
The online auction is the highlight of the project, consisting of a series of artworks, “Doors of Resilience” created by Michael E. Bacol, recognized both nationally and internationally in the area of visual arts, and is the current president of the Cagayan de Oro Arts Guild since 2014. He paints about sociopolitical, socioeconomic, and socio-religious themes, and for this particular project, he advocates for the impoverished, most especially the homeless.
Four artworks are up for bidding: three of Bacol’s solo pieces, and one entitled “Purtahan sa Kasikas sa Kinaiyahan,” of which was a collaborative effort with his team, the Pasundayag Theatre Company. Aguilar said that the entire team was piqued at the idea of using arts to raise funds since they all experienced hardship. Most families of the group hail from Cagayan de Oro City, a great venue of impact by the typhoon Sendong, and Surigao City where a member’s home has been completely wiped out by the recent Typhoon Odette. Many of the artists have also lived through homelessness and observed the great struggles of a Filipino household, one of them being the artist of the door artworks, himself.
Living in a remote area with houses set side by side, Bacol had met people with struggles that seemed to be at the forefront of crime in our country. Prevalent were the sights of prostitutes clumped together as men stared to their hearts’ content, drug addicts sitting languidly on the street pavements, and robbers who battled against poverty through sharp eyes and swift hands. His neighbors had their pockets pulled outward, searching for money, searching for jobs. He even witnessed the wrath of Typhoon Sendong as it struck their place in Brgy. Consolacion, Cagayan de Oro City. He would say their hardships were only getting worse.
But despite all that, he continues to highlight the resilience of the citizens: “People are looking for ways to be happy and hopeful,” and uplifting everyone’s faith, believing that “There is still God to protect and guide [them].” With all the inspiration, it has led him to create the art of resilience, depicted through doors.
Each 4 by 3-foot door artwork, though hypnotizing with its high contrasts begging to be looked at, took about two to three weeks to finish. Present in each piece are symbols representing the different cultures of the Philippines which each family could closely relate to, be it religion or food. Being a mixed medium series, it may seem abstract from afar, but at a closer inspection, you will find the errors it portrays that don’t show themselves at first glance. Doors are often depictions of portals to another world, but this story opens the eyes of the privileged with doors smeared with poverty and struggle, whilst coated with brushstrokes of blasting colors — the classic image of Filipino resiliency.
Bacol’s paintings will be auctioned online with the bidding starting on February 14 from the Pasundayag Theatre Company Facebook page, and ending on February 28. A chance to steal the highest bid amount could be done during the online event on March 5, with a 200 peso energy exchange as the pass to get a Zoom link. The registration amount will also already serve as a donation, while participants are offered a chance to see two performances by the Pasundayag Theatre Company: one specifically for the Typhoon Odette survivors and another titled Kasikas sa Kinaiyahan. Two guided meditation segments will be included, one at the beginning and another to wrap the entire event together. Proceeds will cover the auction logistics and the donations to the community of Barangay Zaragoza, Surigao City, and as part of the intention of energy exchange, the company members also intend to provide an Arts for Healing workshop to the said community after the fundraising event.
With each of the team members’ artistic capabilities being used for the benefit of others, it shows the intent of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), through this year’s Arts Month theme: Sining ng Pag-asa, being put to action. A source of expression for the horrors within communities that are easily overlooked, and a source of hope for the fallen to rise back up again as doors are opened wide.