Jane Arrieta-Ebarle’s exhibit featured eleven of her paintings including the “Ethnic Maranao” (left) and “Maranao 6” (right). Photos by J.C.A. BASSIG

THE INTRICATE designs used by the Maranaos in their arts and crafts have been interpreted with the skillful use of acrylic by Thomasian Jane Arrieta-Ebarle in her one-woman exhibit entitled Pinagmulan and running from July 4 to August 1 at the UST Museum.

The exhibit is a follow-up on her previous one last year, which also featured ethnic patterns from the tribes of Kalinga, Tausug, Manobo, Bontoc and Maranao. This time, Pinagmulan showcases solely indigenous designs of the Maranaos.

“I thought it would be nice to highlight the ethnic designs by adapting each as theme of my future exhibits,” Ebarle said.

Aside from the ethnic theme, Ebarle also tried different designs, such as the “woman’s form” (dancers in the middle of a movement and women in repose). But she admitted particular fondness with the indigenous design.

“I have tried various styles in my paintings—realism, still life and impressionism. It was only in the ethnic-abstraction series that I was constantly awed about the outcome,” Ebarle said.

Each painting in her exhibit is titled Maranao, with only a number to distinguish one from the other. The only painting with a different name was Hibla which according to its sign, was “a work in progress.”

“Only the lacquering and framing are to be done.  However, my real reason for declaring it as work in progress is to subtly isolate it from the rest of the Maranao series as Hibla will herald my third one-woman show,” Ebarle said.

The Maranao-themed paintings show a pattern of diamonds and lines. Though her paintings may look the same, a closer inspection would reveal their uniqueness and individual meaning.

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The differences can be found in the play of colors, rendering techniques, and forms which are awash with eccentricities and which would sometimes unexpectedly deviate from its source to take a flow of subtleties, she explained.

Aside from Hibla, several other paintings stood out from the rest. “Maranao 7” features a white pattern on black background where a part overlapped by black or blue paint, with occasional splashes of white. It gives off the feeling of heaviness and a sense of familiarity as it resembles the urban jungle at night.

Her painting “Maranao 10” is a mixture of yellow, orange and blue acrylic hues within a pattern. This is almost covered by dark blue and black lines that make the picture feel very serious.

The abstract quality of the painting makes it hard to pinpoint its message, but it gives off  a sense of hope due to the bright colors peeking out of the dark lines.

“Maranao 12” is generally bright. It is composed of a white pattern over a blue background dribbled with white acrylic, making it reminiscent of a snowy Christmas eve. Its image would show spectators the early mornings in Lake Lanao where the Maranaos live.

If the bright colors of “Maranao 12” present morning, the purple tint of “Maranao 13” would probably be late sunsets or early evenings. The diamonds and lines that cover the whole canvas in the other Maranao painting are rarely seen in Maranao 13.

“I realized that I was unconsciously allowing the painting to run its natural process,” Ebarle said, adding that she had simply let the colors mesh together as they were being absorbed into the canvas, the effects of which were the beautiful abstractions seen in the exhibit. Maria Joanna Angela D. Cruz


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