Of Peace and Light­ness

Stephanie Zu­biri-crespi ex­plores the es­capist land­scapes and imagery in the paint­ings of her glam­ourous mother, Vicky Zu­biri

Philippine Tatler Homes - - STYLE - Vicky Zu­biri’s re­cent sold out solo exhibit at The Gallery of The Penin­sula Manila was for the ben­e­fit of the Child Pro­tec­tion Net­work.

Con­trary to what peo­ple may think, my mother paints for her­self. It is, in fact, so dif­fi­cult for her to part with her pieces, that right be­fore the exhibit I re­ceived a bar­rage of calls and con­flicted mes­sages from her. “Are you sure I should sell it?” “But it’s so beau­ti­ful.” “I don’t want to sell it…” And I al­ways have to re­mind her that it’s okay, she can al­ways paint more.

“Paint­ing is a form of re­lease for me,” she ex­plains, al­lud­ing to her chronic pain due to six dam­aged nerves from har­row­ing back-to-back dou­ble brain surg­eries about 15 years ago. “It’s a form of es­cape. That’s why I al­ways love to paint birds fly­ing away!” she shares with a laugh.

There is a lot of love and time put into her art­work, and de­spite it seem­ing hap­haz­ard at first, when you look at the full opus, she has con­sis­tent ar­che­typal themes. Of Peace and Light­ness is an es­capist ex­plo­ration of land­scapes and imagery through acrylic and wa­ter­colour. “It’s peace, love, and free­dom. The sky, the moun­tains and the sea give one a peace­ful feel­ing,” shares Vicky Zu­biri.

In to­day’s hec­tic world, where we are con­stantly plugged into our de­vices, traf­fic is in­cred­u­lous, and stress from big things and small per­me­ate our every­day ex­is­tence, it seems that we are al­ways look­ing for a lit­tle bit of peace. Through her art, she hopes to bring respite for the weary souls no mat­ter how brief, just like it does for her.

An avid trav­eller, much of my mother’s work are rep­re­sen­ta­tions of places she’s vis­ited, but also places she just finds sim­ply beau­ti­ful. She also has a fas­ci­na­tion for flow­ers and birds, at­tracted by their nat­u­ral vi­vac­ity and bold colours. Some­times my brother Miguel and I like to tease her that they are too bright, and she touch­ingly just laughs at the crit­i­cism and says “Who cares! I like it!” This pen­chant for the bold and bright is very much a re­flec­tion of her own per­sonal fash­ion style—glam­orous and cre­ative.

This year, how­ever, is her first foray into ab­stract and into a paler, sooth­ing, al­most neu­tral pal­ette. Her open­ing piece is some­thing I per­son­ally en­cour­aged her to do and it was the very first in the theme. The idea was to cre­ate a large show­piece for the new apart­ment that I’m dec­o­rat­ing for her. Con­trary to her cur­rent home, the new piedà-terre will be done in a more con­tem­po­rary style. Still keep­ing some­what in theme, the ab­stract pieces are in­ter­pre­ta­tions of

seascapes in acrylic with a lot of use of the pal­ette knife. The re­sult is some­thing rather sen­sa­tional with cer­tain el­e­gance and dis­creet movement as there is some in­ter­est­ing shad­ow­play when the light changes due to the tex­tu­ral na­ture of the paint­ings.

I per­son­ally love ab­stract and its ca­pac­ity to adapt to any space. I love how an ab­stract work can trans­form de­pend­ing on your mood and each in­di­vid­ual’s per­cep­tion. Her ab­stract work was an im­me­di­ate hit and the pieces were the first ones to sell out, with com­mis­sions be­ing re­quested.

I hope to en­cour­age her in this di­rec­tion as it is a bet­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tion of who she re­ally is. Un­like her usual work, which is straight­for­ward, my mother is mul­ti­fac­eted and com­plex. She has more depth, strength and re­silience than the glam­orous, bub­bly socialite that peo­ple like to think she is. “This may be my last exhibit as it’s get­ting more and more dif­fi­cult to see with my left eye. But I sup­pose, in life, the harder you think it is for you, the more you need to suc­ceed in achiev­ing it.”

“IT’S PEACE, LOVE, AND FREE­DOM. THE SKY, THE MOUN­TAINS AND THE SEA GIVE ONE A PEACE­FUL FEEL­ING,” SAYS ZU­BIRI

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Peace Flower; My Favourite Drink; Ab­stract Seascape; Free­dom Bird; Land­scape in Burma; the artist at work PRE­VI­OUS PAGE Ital­ian Land­scape

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