Wawi Navarroza is known for her use of photography in her artmaking, producing exuberant environments caught on film which occasionally finds her at its center (those are usually the most memorable, no small thanks to her striking, elegant features).
She furthered her knowledge of this chosen practice several years back as a fellow of the Asian Cultural Council (a shared grant with Silverlens Galleries). Wawi found herself working in a studio with a loft in the creative district of Williamsburg, New York, exchanging ideas with fellow artists, and soaking in all that the city had to offer.
“The ACC Fellowship was very effective in that it championed immersion and exchange primarily,” says the artist now based in Istanbul. She would install her works in her studio and invited people to view so she can talk about her process. “On some nights, we also had group slideshows from different artists who were my neighbors on our shared rooftop at Point B. At 3AM, somebody could knock on my door and ask ‘Are you up?’ And we’d spend the night talking about art and the many questions we ask ourselves about our work.”
This time, by joining our circle of tastemakers for the upcoming Asian Cultural Council Auction 2022, Wawi Also www.wawinavarroza.com is in a way wishing the next batch of ACC grantees their own memorable experiences. Part of the proceeds of the sale this Saturday, March 5th, will fund residencies of deserving Filipino artists who want to deepen their art practice. Meanwhile, Wawi shares with us her picks from the wealth of offerings in the ACC auction presented by Leon Gallery, and co-presented by ANCX. They reveal her independent spirit and penchant for bold use of color.
Oh Happy Days by Pacita Abad
Signed and dated 2003 (lower right), edition of 4/6, stencilled, hand-coloured pressed paper pulp, 66" x 52" (168 cm x 132 cm)
“A quick burst of life-affirming celebration, this painting to me is pure delight. The confetti of colors is essential Pacita Abad, who I deeply admire for her vibrant works, playfulness, and ease of joy. We all need a dose of it at this time, for sure.”
A Typical Filipina Beauty by Fernando Amorsolo
Signed and dated Manila, 1926 (lower left), oil on wood, 14"x10"(36 cm x 25 cm)
“Quintessential Amorsolo and his golden light! I’m drawn to the thoughtful portrayal of typical Filipina complexion. She is morena, dewy from the heat, in the shade, contra luz to the tropical sun behind her. Identity at home in her own skin represented in a masterful portrait as this is not just idyllic at first impression but can also be empowering.”
Lot 131 Olazo
Diaphanous Anthuriums #105 by Romulo Olazo
Signed and dated 2011 (lower right), oil on canvas, 24"x18" (61 cm x 46 cm)
“I fell in love with this piece at first sight. Nothing more needed to be said. ‘Anthurium.’ And you just enjoy the stillness and get it — more like, feel it. It’s an evocative piece, diaphanous, it whispers.”
Portrait of Doña Nene Quimson in Valentino by Betsy Westendorp
Signed and dated 1991 (lower left), oil on canvas, 64" x 48" (163 cm x 122 cm)
“I caught myself thinking I wish I can make a memorable portrait just like this. Timeless, exquisite. Elegant, commanding, but quiet. The reticence speaks volumes and is a fitting reification of a great woman. Comme il faut comes to mind. Properly, respectfully.”
Lot 123 Nena Saguil
Still Life with Flowers by Nena Saguil
Signed and dated 1950 (lower right), oil on canvas, 22" x 28" (56 cm x 71 cm)
“This still life is one of the important figurative pieces of Nena Saguil before her significant shift to non-objective art, before her translation from Manila to Paris. She is my personal heroine, a symbol of independence of artistic thought and practice as a transnational seer.”
Odalisca (Odalisque) by Juan Luna
Signed and dated Roma 1982 (lower right), watercolor on paper, 251/2" x 361/2" (65 cm x 93 cm)
“This piece resonates with me more since I now live in Istanbul, the so called ‘East’ where odalisques and the harem originate. ‘Orientalism’ held sway in Western Europe during the time of Luna where there was a fascination for the exotic east and the other. To me, Juan Luna who is from the far east himself painting an odalisque is like a double mirror face to face, showing us the Orient(al) painting the (idealized) Orient, in the style conforming to a Western gaze (not unlike Jean-Léon Gérôme). His subversion came in the form of besting them with utmost skill and mastery. (If it must be said, this work is in watercolor no less!) Juan Luna is complex and this piece is enough to open more conversations to his intriguing life and milieu.
[The Asian Cultural Council Auction 2022 is set on Saturday, March 5, 2PM at the G/F Eurovilla I, Legazpi Street corner V.A. Rufino Street, Legazpi Village, Makati. For more information on the auction, visit the Leon Gallery website. Interested parties may view the auction lots in the gallery until Friday, March 4.]
Images from Leon Gallery