Artist Sagayno draws beauty from lockdown, launches exhibit ‘Otso’

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“OTSO” is Lucilo “Jojo” Sagayno’s eighth solo exhibit of his abstract works. The artist said that he did not even dream of being a visual artist. He was taking up Electronic Communication Engineering in college, before he felt the call for the arts, and so shifted to Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines-Cebu. He completed his course in 1988, concentrating on abstract expressionism.

The latest exhibit, Jojo explained, might somehow be the result of boredom caused by the lockdowns during this pandemic. With nothing much to do, he said he would wake up and see the glorious morning sun out of his window in his hilltop abode, its rays caressing the hills, valleys, trees. Often, the scene inspired him to put his thoughts of what he sees on paper.

First, he said he would draw a sketch. Then, he would color it using watercolor. If he liked what he saw, he would convert it into a painting on canvas using mixed media. For this exhibit, he said there is a sense, a feeling of water flowing through his abstractions.

In Abstract Expressionism, he explained, “it takes a lot of courage to finish the work.”

“I have considered it a mind game, an obstacle to be solved wherein your enemy is no other than yourself. In my creative process, I have to connect with my inner self with ideas often pure or sometimes raw, but always treating art as a product of my spontaneous undertakings.“

Because of the current lockdown, Sagayno could have chosen to postpone the exhibit (which opened August 14) at ArtPortalCebu but he insisted on going ahead “to be positive, even in the midst of uncertainties brought about by the spread of Covid-19.”

“We should not stop being creatively productive. Artists should take this pandemic as an opportunity to explore artistically, rather than take it as a problem. We should have faith and believe in a more positive future.”

In “Otso,” Sagayno has 14 works with sizes ranging from 24 inches by 15 inches to as big as five feet by six feet, and 17 smaller paintings 12.75 inches by 12.75 inches in octagon shape. The works are mostly colorful, visually pleasing, really almost like an ode inspired by the vision of a sun-drenched valley.

The exhibit runs until Sept. 15. Due to the lockdown restrictions, ArtPortalCebu (in Consolacion, Cebu) will be receiving guests by appointment only.

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