Let’s ask the animals!
For many, many years, this pronouncement, silent or aloud, has been my knee-jerk response to dilemmas large and small. Sometimes, you just have to look at things from a different perspective than the one you find yourself stuck in!
The animals have always provided me with gentle nudges, playfully suggesting “What if...”
“What if the thorn-in-my-side-co-worker is playing the role of teacher?” asks Wolf.
“What if it’s time to practice being invisible?” says Fox.
“What if patience is what’s called for in this instance?” nudges Ant.
Animals help me tell myself a story about a current dilemma in a way that feels more like an invitation or an opportunity—perfect medicine that I’ve turned to many times.
I'm a visual artist so when I was ready for a “project of significance,” I shouldn’t have been surprised that creating a collection of animal art surfaced as a possibility.
For once, I didn’t have to ask the animals because when I happened to look through 20 years of sketchbooks, I discovered a theme: animals, animals, animals!
Thus, my passion project emerged.
Then, I discovered that long before the Spanish galleons arrived on the shores of my native Philippines, my ancestors were animists. Their worldview was encoded in oral traditions, in ritual, in katutubong kaalaman (indigenous knowledge) and looking to animal kindreds for guidance was part of everyday life!
This project is just the beginning, the call to balance my two experiences: my Western mind and my indigenous Filipino heart.
Each illustration begins with one of my original drawings. I apply color and texture in homage to my formal training as a printmaker. Like anything worth doing, this one will take time. Elk (devotion) approves!
I’ll be posting my art here as each animal is completed and sharing them in the form of functional and wearable art so you can keep your guidance close in some form. If you are interested in when I might be in your area, check out the events schedule.
Last but not least, know that every purchase you make also contributes to animal conservation and the preservation of indigenous cultures.
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