The Uncommon Thread: Raffy Napay
Raffy Napay is a simple man. He’s dressed casually in black as he greets guests and sips beer from the bottle during his opening exhibit in Silverlens gallery. You wouldn’t immediately know he was the artist of the massive work of art hanging by threads [pun intended] in the long part of the gallery unless you Googled him prior to coming or listened to murmurs as people whispered his name and pointed in his direction.
I observe him as he participates in consecutive small talks, fleeing from group to group, until he finds himself in a particular one that seems to be his comfort zone for the night—with his family. His mom in particular. She was, after all, an integral part in Raffy’s discovery of a new medium.
He used to work with oil, but he suddenly found himself in a bit of a pickle when doctors told him he was allergic to it. But that didn’t stop the artist from looking for a way to express himself. He wanted to work with something that was readily available to him, and what he saw was his mother—a seamstress—working with thread. He asked his mother to teach him how to sew, to weave the colors together, to use the machine, but ultimately what he learned was more than just a skill.
He learned how to see thread as something fluid he could create his visions with and turn it into beautiful tapestries of ideas, experiences, and dreams.
His exhibit, ‘Ugat’, is a metaphor for life’s interconnectedness, among other things. Raffy talks about how it is also where blood flows, and blood is what keeps you alive. ‘Ugat’ also describes his creative process and ideology in that when he begins to sew and weave, he doesn’t know where it will lead him.
Well, it’s led him here, to this place and moment where people have followed the path he’s woven for himself. And if you find yourself being led by Waze towards the South of EDSA, you should drop by and check out his exhibit as it is on display from January 13 to February 10, 2018.
Silverlens is located at 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City. For inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +63917-5874011.
Photos by Chris Clemente