03 February 2008

Well Wishes for Recovering Artists

One of the country"s best and upcoming young sopranos, Alexis Edralin has just been released from the hospital and is now recuperating in their house. She won the championship of the National Music Competitions for Young Artists when she was just 17! Her solo concert at the Philamlife Auditorium last June 2005 impressed an audience that included critics and musical aficionados. She has also done a benefit concert for people who have lost their voices due to throat cancer. Now at 25, Alexis was diagnosed to be suffering from acute myologenous leukemia last September 2007 and spent Christmas and New Year at the Makati Medical Center for chemotherapy and blood transfusion. Yesterday, I talked to her mother Cherrybong and was glad to hear that Alexis is now happy to be home and feeling better. The Edralins are our family friend since childhood when we were still living in Makati City. We're praying for your complete recovery, Alexis, so we can hear your great voice once again! . . .

Another artist, Ramon Diaz, is also back home from the Makati Medical Center where he was confined during the holidays and now recovering well. I had a long talk with him over the phone and I promised to visit him and wife Silvana Diaz when I go to Manila. Because of the long traffic and the distance, I rarely get to see most of the exhibitions except the ones sent to me by email. I curated one of his exhibition at the Madrigal Center. Hang on, Ramon and stay cool. Ramon's works can be viewed at www.galleriaduemila.com

Meanwhile, the visual art community is still missing one of the best curators we have in the person of a good friend and colleague, Bobi Valenzuela. Bobi had a stroke last 2006 and is still having therapy and medications in his house in BF Homes. Bobi was instrumental in bringing new artists and powerful works and exhibitions in Manila. He has handled curatorial work in Hiraya Gallery, Boston Gallery, Kulay-Diwa Art Galleries and major projects in the visual arts. Bobi was part of my editorial team for the Handbooks on Art Management project under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Artists and friends who wishes to visit him and spread good cheers can do so during his visiting days, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays by calling his sister Angie at 632-8254481. Please pray for him.

It is not easy for artists to pool together during emergency crisis. While SMS and email messages were sent for both Alexis and Ramon for blood donations, a lot of artists were not qualified (not in good health, are smokers, have tattoos, etc.) and there are no organizations to provide support for its sick members except for fellow artists and workers' pooling their resources to mount benefit shows, auctions, or simply to pass the hat. And since artists rarely have savings it is really helpful for the art community to raised funds for them. For Bobi, the long road to recovery has almost drained his family's resources and energy but their hopes are still high that Bobi will pull through this one.

Please pray for their complete recovery. The art community needs them.