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Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi Celebrates The Filipina In New Show At The National Museum

The France-based printmaker and painter Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi is in Manila this March for her show, Shifts in Context, which opened March 7 with a walk-through with the artist. The exhibition was held at a newly opened gallery in the National Museum whose campaign is to highlight the works of Filipina artists for the whole of Women’s Month.

The France-based printmaker and painter, Mrs. Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi against two of her artworks

 

Gelvezon-Tequi is definitely one of the most awarded Filipinas in the art scene, having been a recipient of various local and international recognitions: among them the Quatrième Mention at the XVIII Salon Ile-de-France at Bourg-la-Reine in 1985, and both the Michiko Takamatsu Prize  and the Lucien and Suzanne Jonas Prize at the Salon des Artistes Français in Paris in 2002. Gelvezon-Tequi was one of the first ever printmakers in the Philippines to employ etching as her main technique. She is known for her witty interpretations of the colorful culture of Pinoys, touching on anting-antings, town fiestas and barrio beauty contests.

 

Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi brought along anecdotes to share during her gallery walk-through

A printmaker’s guidance - Gelvezon-Tequi gives the museum guides a step-by-step explanation on how she does her print work.

 

Although she has already made a home in Limeuil (pronounced as li-meuy), one of the most beautiful cities in France, she has never forgotten to look back. Her frequent visits to the Philippines would mean reconnecting with her family and friends and accommodating a few galleries requesting to showcase her artworks.

Shifts in Context speaks of how Ofie, as what her close friends and family call her, interprets the role of women in society—vital and very present—be it the role of a beauty queen or a mother, or be it the artist herself. “Women artists have strong things to say,” she told her audience during the walk-through after taslking about two of her paintings with women as subjects. “We try the best we can to put women forward. I think, mas affirmative ang mga women now. So I think there is a chance that we will eventually be on equal footing [with men].”

Aside from paintings, some of her prints are also on display including her 1984 St. Ofelia which uses her etching and viscocity color printing. Placed almost at the middle of the space is one of her works presented with a deliberate step by step process. Female museum guides meticulously listened to her soft and gentle voice as she explained her method.

 

Placed in the middle of the gallery are two of Gelvezon-Tequi’s paintings with Filipinas as the main subject.

One of her most famous prints, the Retablo

 

Women’s Month at the National Museum of the Philippines boasts the works of Filipinas who are pioneers in their own craft. The shows are one of the tools in which the National Museum aims to address the gender imbalance in the organization. “If you noticed, most of the staff here in uniform are women. We want more inclusivity. In fact, what we’re doing in terms of our program for our women staff is increasingly becoming more sophisticated,” she said. From 88 to over a hundred, the number of their female employees have gradually increased throughout the years.

Labrador also reiterated their campaign to expand their artwork collection from Filipina artists. With a very encouraging tone, she hopes to see more women actively be part of their journey to equality.

 

A display of her artworks exhibited at the Gallery XVIII of the National Museum

 

 

Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi: Shifts in Context will be displayed at Gallery XVII, 3rd floor of the National Museum of Fine Arts until June 3.