By: Ritchie Landis Doner Quijano
Reprinted from the Sunstar Life & Leisure, Cebu, February 20, 2001
In her latest bustle with ’artrageousness’, Paulina Constancia learns to quilt. Quilting, that dying homeroom activity engaged in nowadays mostly by grannies.
No, not that I am against that age-old craft as fine art nor am I suggesting we call the artist, Grandma Paulina. It is however, my intention to commend her daring move to show local art lovers and collectors alike what they are unaccustomed to seeing inside galleries.
Miss Paulina ( she’s single I’ve learned) gives quilting a new life and fresh introduction, challenging local art’s long-established conventional taste. Paulina opted to employ the quilt as foundation to apply paint on in her never-ending quest for innovation to present her most recent body of works collectively dubbed "Secret Garden". Certainly she’s found this intimate secret garden, a place close to her heart inside that world of her own which her art provides. So evident her art visually yells of eureka exposing a playful environment of Utopian dimensions and dream-like shambala where people, plants and animals mingle together without inhibitions enjoying nature’s composite wonders. A kind of scenario talked about in the book of Genesis. She makes good her belief that " in our hearts of hearts, there exist a secret garden in which lies the seed of goodness". Her frolicsome brush applications super-imposed on stitches and needlework result in a successful fusion of folk tradition and contemporary art making brought about by her seriousness in the discipline without forgetting the fun in play. Her huge playful canvas just seems to come alive with figures in their most vibrant choice of paint applications with those curious eyes and friendly smiles, as if calling the charmed viewer to be one of the paintings. I too, was a victim to this bewitching quality of the paintings for those animated characters in glossy canvas and it’s uneven surface are a silent invitation to experience a tactile feel. Touching them, I felt a bounce of cushion in between layers of canvas and found out what quilts are actually made for, they’re good to sleep on or used as blankets. Quilts therefore are functional devices for a comfortable rest. Composing the folkloric imagery of the works are joyful expressions of it’s hospitable characters, our native red antuwanga flower, birds of paradise, pets and sunflowers are distinct attributes of an authentic Cebuano landscape and customary tradition. The facial features of the people as subjects however, are very Latin and resembling the Frida Khaloesque form and are likely to be residues of Paulina’s Mexican wanderings in 1999. In the world of art the artist as a dreamer can never stop dreaming. Dreams are the infinite source of ideas and at times a place of sanctuary. Just as Madonna dreams of a childhood playground in one of her songs, Paulina dreams of nurturing her very own secret garden. There is one strong denominator all of us artists have in common, that is we each live in a world of our own.