Tuesday, July 21, 2015


When Deej told me that the theme for this month's art exhibit was on disability as July is the month for disability awareness, I became particularly interested. It was because he was very excited on how we were going to express the subject matter through our art and also because the topic of disability is close to my heart having certain disabilities myself like tourette syndrome, sleep paralysis, and obsessive- compulsive disorder since I was a child.

It was difficult growing up with a disability like tourette for instance during a time when having one was a social stigma. I could be termed deviant and be a laughing stock among my peers. I am thankful that I had a father who looked at my disabilities from a more positive angle, fostered my creativity and put pride in my academic excellence. This made me take the bull by its horns. I faced my disabilities and managed them properly throughout the years- from my student days as an academic achiever to becoming an international flight attendant, a hotel manager, a consultant on speech and personality development, and now as a full time artist. Yes, now an artist and you can call me a disability artist. I am in fact one.

What do I want to say here? That all of us will suffer disability sometime in our lives. But this should never deter us from pursuing our dreams and doing what we love to do. Manet did an exquisite flower painting while he was dying of syphilis, Goya did his black paintings while he was deaf and ailing, Monet painted his garden in Giverny, France as he was losing his sight, Van Gogh suffered from bipolarism yet created intensely beautiful paintings, and Frida Kahlo came up with surrealistic paintings which were expressions of her sufferings.

Let us not then be silent and be embarrassed of our or anyone else's disability whether it is a physical, a mental, an emotional, an inborn, or an acquired one. Our disability should never define us for we are more than our disability. It is only through a genuine acceptance of our condition that we become whole, that we are able to explore, develop, celebrate our distinctness, rise above our disabilities, attain empowerment, and soar high like an eagle.

"A World Without Sense" under "Katha" is our art exhibit for this month of July at the Rizal Park Visitors Center to commemorate the month for disability awareness. It runs until August 12, 2015 and is participated in by six independent artists- Gilda Pasion- Balan, Manuel Ibarra dela Cruz, Analee Angeles, Dan Abaygar, Datu Noo Jainal, and me. We present our thoughts and feelings on disability using different styles and media. A brainchild of Deej Respicio Salenda, the project officer of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC), "Katha" is a series of art exhibits that showcase the talents of young and independent artists.

Everyone is encouraged to show his support for the local arts by visiting the Rizal Park Visitors Center to check out "Katha". The place is open to the public for free everyday of the week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

For inquiries, please contact John David Salenda at 3027079, 09394280771 or at deej.respicio.salenda@gmail.com.

With John David "Deej" Salenda, project officer of NPDC

Deej, artists and guests

Artist Dan Abaygar and his "Even I can see or not", ink on paper

Artist Analee Angeles and her "Desensitize", acrylic on canvas

Artist Arlene de Castro- Anonuevo and her "Silence", oil on canvas

Dan Abaygar's " The Inborn Blind", mixed media

"the world is described by others to someone who is blind."
-Dan Abaygar

Gilda Pasion- Balan's "Looking for Eddie", part of "Walang Pondo" series", acrylic on canvas

"There is not enough funds for the disabled."
-Gilda Pasion- Balan

Dan Abaygar's "Don't Just Walk, Fly", acrylic on paper

"Even the disabled has  dreams. Someday he will attain his dreams."
-Dan Abaygar

Analee Angeles' "Desensithize", acrylic on canvas

"Being numb to the things around us is the worst kind of disability. We always have the choice to be numb or not."
-Analee Angeles

Adecastroan's "Silence", oil on canvas

"We become silent about our disability because of the social stigma attached to it."
-Arlene de Castro- Anonuevo

Manuel Ibarra dela Cruz' "Mad, Mad World", mixed media on canvas

"Others do not understand the world of the disabled."
-Arlene de Castro= Anonuevo

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