Art With a Heart

The Philippine Star

October 10, 2012

Almost a decade ago, I first heard about Fr. Gerard Deveza when I saw a poster announcing a date for a healing Mass and talk in our parish church, the Santuario de San Antonio. Not paying much attention to it, I felt there were more desperately ill patients and people who needed his attention and care.

Soon after, I would bump into this gentle and low-key priest and enjoy his Masses and homilies as he went straight to the point with his commonsensical messages and even humorous tidbits on how to deal with life with its many twists. I particularly remember him saying during a special healing Mass for a sick friend that before one asks to be healed physically, one has to be healed spiritually and emotionally. One’s ill feelings towards others and oneself should be eradicated so that the physical self can imbibe positivity and only then can the body start to heal itself.

Since 2007, one of Fr. Gerard’s advocacies has been focused on the education of 360 students at the Divine Healer Academy in Cabid-an, Sorsogon. It relies solely on donations for financially challenged pupils and has grown by leaps and bounds, thanks to the generous and tireless souls led by the Healing Servants Foundation, Inc. Their aim is to ask for a minimum of P50 per person — a sum that most everyone can afford.

Their latest project was a fundraising dinner with the assistance of Gov. Raul Lee who brought in the Singing Ambassadors of Sorsogon to regale the guests with their songs that got many of us singing along. The evening ended with the donors dancing happily to the delightful music and some even ended up giving more contributions while they exited out of the Manila Polo Club.

Should you wish to donate and for more information, view the website: www.healingservants.com; Facebook: healingservants.gerarddeveza@facebook.com; telephone numbers: (02) 7246721/ 7247210 c/o Ecyl.

Breast cancer is a scary disease and with a huge number of Filipinas succumbing to this illness, it was time for artist Sequi CuUnjieng to stand up and be counted by generously donating all the proceeds of her latest exhibit “Transcending Boundaries” to support the Carewell Community Foundation and the I Can Serve Foundation which promote breast cancer awareness and early detection in underprivileged communities. It is a sad fact that the Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Southeast Asia with a mortality rate in excess of 60 percent. And yet breast cancer, if detected early, is one of the most treatable forms of cancer.

The successful exhibit was held at the Ayala Museum and curated by Missy Sanares Reyes with portraits of real women impressing their breasts on the canvas. Surprisingly, many, if not all, of the female friends and family that Sequi asked to use their breasts for her artwork gladly acceded to this super worthy cause.

The beautiful Sequi shared her views on her love of painting: “I paint because I must. I get up most mornings with an irrepressible urge to enter my studio and start painting. Self-discovery is what motivates me today. Having defined myself for most of my life as either a daughter, a wife or a mother, I know now that there is so much of me — as me — to unearth. My self-discovery happens when I paint.

“The challenge is to trust my instincts and surrender to the flow. Part of the adventure is to struggle through the process and commit myself to the effort required to create something meaningful. My goal is to keep my paintings simple, to express my message through the interplay of color, texture, and the surprise of unplanned subtleties. I find deep satisfaction when my work moves people.”

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The Diaz family is known for their beautiful women starting with our very first Miss Universe, Gloria Diaz. She made the country proud by bagging the elusive title in 1969 with her morena beauty, confident air, and intelligence during the question and answer portion that brought the house down and made the judges unanimously award her the sky-high crown.

With 10 lovely sisters (including another beauty queen/movie star, the late Rio Diaz, Maid of Cotton Benjie Diaz and model Didit Diaz) and two brothers, this family has further contributed to the Philippine art scene with Isabel “Pempe” and brother Ramon’s recent exhibit at Greenbelt 5 that had a standing-room-only crowd. It was the perfect place to find familiar faces and long-lost friends.

From the start of the cocktail opening, most of the huge colorful art pieces already had reserved signs, prompting a friend to say, “To get a head start on the painting of my choice, I should have been here yesterday while they were setting up the exhibit.”