Water is one of the natural elements that can sustain life. Clean water is drunk to keep people dehydrated and healthy. Meanwhile, other daily activities, like washing and bathing, also require water to be efficient. And yet there’s still so much that water offers to humanity.
Those looking for a serene getaway from the busy city often look for bodies of water, such as seas and rivers. They find peace in watching the water ebb and flow from the shore. However, water can also be powerful, as evident in the numerous storms that passed through the Philippines.
This beauty and power of water are what European and Filipino artists hope to show the public through the Ebb and Flow: Return to Nature exhibit at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati. They collaborated for their advocacy to nurture water through their masterfully crafted paintings and sculptures.
Ebb and Flow: Return to Nature is also a part of the Viva Europa cultural program to celebrate Europe Day and the founding of the European Union (EU). It also symbolizes the prosperous cultural partnership between the European Union and the Philippines.
Luc Véron, EU ambassador to the Philippines, even described the exhibit’s title as an invitation to meditation.
“An invitation to meditate on life. No life without water. Yet, as we sailors know very well, water is indomitable. Our planet is blue, yet man cannot conquer the ocean. We are just its humble servants,” Véron said during the opening of the exhibit last May 19, Wednesday.
He added that water also symbolizes life and its fragility as typhoons, rising sea levels, and the risk of tsunamis are just a few natural dangers from the surrounding waters that remind people in the Philippines about their fragility.
Despite these risks, Veron also calls on mankind’s duties to protect the waters and prepare for its threats to mitigate their impact on society.
Curated by Spanish artist and curator César Caballero, “Ebb and Flow: Return to Nature” features artworks by Louis Dumont of Belgium, Réne Reiter of Germany, Caballero, Henri Etéve of France, Viviana Riccelli of Italy, Radha Makitalo of Finland, Jeanette Kamphuis of Sweden, father and daughter tandem Ramon and Romina Diaz of Italy and the Philippines, and Philippine artists Fara Manuel Nolasco, Kizel Cotiw-an, and Ann Pamintuan.
Most of the artworks on exhibit highlight the natural beauty of water as artists used precise brushstrokes and vibrant colors to capture the depths of water in its many forms. Some paintings had other elements like sunsets and marine wildlife to further emphasize the water’s beauty.
On the other hand, other pieces on display also feature the dangers of water as some artists also depict powerful storms and their impact on humanity, much like the Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, which devastated the province of Tacloban, Leyte.
The exhibit also coincides with the EU Green Week from May 30 to June 5 and the lead-up to the United Nation’s Ocean’s Conference in Lisbon from June 27 to July 1.
Ebb and Flow: Return to Nature is open to the public until May 31.