Thinking Over a Cup of Coffee

A post “meditation” of the recently concluded solo exhibit of Ms. Bunch Garcia – A Cup of Memory – at the Sigwada Gallery, 1921 Oroquieta St., Sampaloc, Manila; November 14 – December 5


Carl Gustav Jung said, “Dreams are a way of communicating and acquainting ourselves with the unconscious.”

The four dreamlike, melancholic, and gold-like paintings that the author had encountered, for the first and last time, hanging on the walls of the old house-turned-gallery – just across the ever popular Catholic Trade-Manila of the Missionaries of the Divine Word (SVD), which is also at the back of one of the most beautiful parishes in old Manila the Holy Spirit Parish – the Sigwada (Turbulence or the sudden onslaught of the wind) gallery, are “old” yet refreshing.

The said paintings, all of them mixed-media, was first exhibited at the home of the Franciscos – the icons of contemporary arts. It was a requisite for Ms. Bunch Garcia’s artist-in-residence application to the Neo-Angono Artists’ Collective.

She brought the paintings to Manila, for everybody to see and to share a piece of her as a person and an artist. As Garcia told her audience, “Manila, being the center [of commerce, arts and culture] is a good place to re-exhibit my works.

In the beginning, all are dreams and realities

Garcia’s works, according to the artist herself, are combination of dreams, realities and memories.

Painful memories are completely depicted with the artist’s piece, “Forlorn”: Two empty chairs, with two cups of coffee—one is half-empty while the one is tumbled, an unfinished cigarette, and a blank paper on a table, on a sunny golden background.

Garcia shared that it is a picture of an unforgettable part of her childhood, a memory that keeps coming back.

Will the saying, “Venisti remanebis donec denuo completus sis”* become a reality to Garcia? Or it will be proven untrue?

But let the author, also caution himself, ars ita sunt intelligenda ut res magis valeat quam pereat—art is to be understood such that the subject matter may be more effective than wasted.

Entertaining curiosity of the uncurious

Curiosity, Garcia said, is her primary subject. “I often daydream about being old.” The painting is that of a young girl trying to reach for a white cup on a red saucer in a high cupboard.

One might ask: Is it a symbol of the desire of the artist to reach a high dream or is she just reaching out for something elusive? For the Cinderella-like outfit of the young girl can bring another interpretation.

However, one might also say, vita summa brevis spem nos vetat incohare longam—the shortness of life prevents us from entertaining far-off hopes. Does this idea perfectly describe the girl holding an empty cup in the pinkish-tangerine gown in Garcia’s Elucidating to a Princess? The author hopes not.

On the other hand, one can say that Garcia is really romanticizing the “ephemeral” or the worldly desires of the body as the After Symposium signifies.

But what’s does the boy’s face tell? Is it dissatisfaction, guilt or the combination of both? No one can tell.

The last notes

Garcia never fails to excite her audience with her combination of textures, shades, hues and shapes in her paintings.

Her works can make you shiver, giggle, quiver. They can bring back old memories that are hiding in the dark or dim lighted corners of your mind.

She shares her Cup of Memory a concrete reality that no one can or had escaped the past or their memories.

She had proven that memories are chains that connect you to today and binds the morrow to the present.

That somehow, we sometimes need to be intoxicated with the caffeine of memories so as not to forget that we are humans; and to be human is to grasp the realities that our dreams suggest by making it a reality. (

*From whence you came, you shall remain, until you are complete again.

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