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Last year, people from around the world were hopeful for 2020 as it will usher a new decade in the Gregorian calendar. But in the Philippines alone, human violence and natural calamities instantly displaced the unpenned new year’s resolutions of many as the first month of the new year settled in. And before the first quarter even concluded, regions witnessed how the country’s capital was put under a lockdown because of a viral outbreak that turned out to be one of the most cruel and heartbreaking global pandemics humanity has ever witnessed in modern times.

From then on, everything has changed so quickly, and everyone found themselves obsessing about the virus. After years of complacency about the protection of modern medicine, the world was surprised to see things that were supposedly stoppable but can no longer be stopped, and things that were supposedly impossible but have already happened.

With everything, from our economies, to our priorities, to our perceptions, too different and distant to what they were at the outset of 2020, artists Aubrey Fajardo and Aubrey Caabay decide to use their artistic gifts to encourage everyone to still Persist.

In their second two-person exhibition, both artists focus on two visual elements that most people in isolation have used, adopted, or lived with—flora and cloth. One has been used to see new, certain life in isolation; the other for warmth and protection.

Fascinating viewers with the dazzling yet tranquil beauty of nature, Fajardo uses vibrant and energetic color palette to capture the peaceful yet dynamic visual effect of a growing life. Using a precise brushwork, he is able to capture and echo both water and land, while giving viewers the unusual perception of being in the moment.

Accentuating subjects in isolation, Caabay makes use of drapery to lead the viewer’s eye through a scene. She manipulates the artistic drape of cloth, the configuration of the folds, and the intensity of the lighting to heighten the emotional response of the viewers to her representations of solitude and strength wrapped in beautifully draped fabrics.

While it is important that we acknowledge the realities of our new and normal times and allow ourselves to actually feel things as we go through them, it is also important that we do not allow ourselves to be swallowed up by uncertainty, loss, and despair. It is in this hope that Fajardo and Caabay paint an exhibition with visual representations of resiliency and new life. Because for both of them, we need to see farther more sharply now than at any other time. We need to have a more profound sense of ourselves, our communities, and our future. And we need to believe that we will not be in this state forever, so we need to Persist.

- Prim Paypon

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