The Red Traveler Speaks Her Mind: An Interview with Ms. Con Cabrera of Artists’ ARREST

Ms. Con Cabrera, a member of the Artists’ Response to the Call for Social Change and Transformation, or Artists’ ARRREST, in this interview shares with Bulatlat her views on arts, issues confronting Philippine society today and some personal things that she wanted to share with her audience.

BY NOEL SALES BARCELONA
Correspondent
Bulatlat
CULTURE

Ms. Con Cabrera, a member of the Artists’ Response to the Call for Social Change and Transformation, or Artists’ ARRREST, in this interview shares with Bulatlat her views on arts, issues confronting Philippine society today and some personal things that she wanted to share with her audience.

This young artist had shown her prowess in an exhibit last year, MissBehaving, together with Ms. Bunch Garcia, another superb young artist and a member the Neo-Angono Arts Collective, which garnered a lot of applauses and commendations.

The young artist, who graduated from the University of Santo Tomas (UST), is now making waves in the art scene with her unique style of presenting the people’s struggles, particularly of women, in her immaculate white canvases.

Our first encounter was in October 2008 at the Lunduyan Art Gallery in Kamuning, Quezon City. She and Ms. Garcia had hung their paintings on the walls of the 30 x 30-meter gallery. These were pictures of women of different types, shapes, sizes; showing different moods, ideals, intellect. Ms. Cabrera’s series of pieces was titled ��The Red Traveler”.

MissBehaving was indeed a success but between the exhibit and this interview I hardly heard from Maria Consuelo G. Cabrera, or Con.


Con Cabrera (left) with Bunch Garcia during the “Fact Sheet” exhibit. (Photo courtesy of Con Cabrera)

The 28-year old Pampangueña artist hails from a family of well-known artists. Ben Cabrera (BenCab) and the late Salvador Cabrera are her uncles (“They’re my father’s cousins,” she said in an email interview). And some of her other kin are also into arts.

Noel Sales Barcelona (NSB): After your two-woman show with Ms. Bunch Garcia, what has made Con Cabrera busy? Is there any new work?

Maria Consuelo Cabrera (MCC): After the October ‘08 show, I joined several group shows in Novermber, “boXed 3” organized by J. Pacena II (Cubicle Art Gallery, Pasig), “TutoKKK: Anong K mo?” organized by the artists’ alliance Tutok Karapatan (Blanc Compound, Mandaluyong and Blanc Makati), and Artists’ ARREST’s “Fact Sheet” exhibit last December where I helped curate.

I’m currently employed as an art director in a publishing company. Aside from my day job, I’m busy helping ARREST in organizing for their events and campaigns. I’m also busy with my upcoming group shows, and another volunteer project where my friends and I paint on bare rooms and walls of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center. We started this last Christmas break, and do it on scheduled weekends of each month. So far, we were able to paint two rooms, including the Hema room where cancer kids have their chemo sessions, and the wall of the OPD waiting area. I also started a project, “Naku! I’m FIRED!” — which addresses the issue of mass layoffs. It’s a cross-disciplinary art project patterned after “Wrapped” by Mark Salvatus where the outputs are multimedia and participatory. I plan to collaborate with other artists in this project and try to bring them to pickets and rallies of workers to do their art and interact with the people.

NSB: What/who are your influences in art?

MCC: I am fan of women artists like Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian early baroque painter; Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi, Filipina painter and printmaker who lives in France; Brenda Fajardo and Karen Flores. I admire their perseverance in being the artists that they are, especially with the art field being dominated by men. I am also inspired by works of the masters Juan Luna, Amorsolo and Botong Francisco, also by artists BenCab (of course), Manny Garibay, Jose Tence Ruiz, young artist Wire Tuazon, and red artist, Parts Bagani. I also draw inspiration from contemporary street artists like Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Bansky and painter Ian Francis.

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