October 2021, University of the Philippines Los Baños. Efflorescence, which means “the action or process of developing and unfolding as if coming into a flower”, posed a double meaning for artist Meg Yandoc in her Sining Makiling Gallery Exhibit last August 1, 2021 at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) – FEED’s first and longest serving Philippin ally. The exhibit entitled “Efflorescence” highlighted both the blossoming of plants, and Meg’s passion for painting.
Before the pandemic began, Meg went back to painting as an outlet after work. Despite what was happening in the outside world, she found that creating, doing something she loves, could help keep her sane in such a difficult time. Painting, to her, is the “perfect hobby” – it channels her creativity, relieves her stress and can be done at home. Even better, she conveniently lives near an art shop, and she could even resurrect the plants she struggled to keep alive in her house. For aspiring artists, she believes that your passion should be something that gives back to you and makes you happy. If it does not spark joy, then it isn’t something worth pursuing.
As an avid plant and flower enthusiast, as well as a lover of nature and the outdoors, she chose to paint florals through acrylic on canvas. In her words, “God’s work is so amazing – you can’t even imagine all the details he’s put into all these plants and flora.” In the same way that greens bring her comfort and brighten up a space – her vibrant, nonrealistic canvas artworks of various plants that contrast boring and dreary reality cheer up every person that sees them. Receiving feedback about her refreshing and beautiful paintings reminds her of her goal to bring joy to people through her craft – which is why she agreed to participate in the Efflorescence exhibit.
When she was tapped by Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA) Director Jerry R. Yapo last December 2020, Meg was hesitant at first, but eventually decided to take this opportunity to showcase what she is capable of. As an artist that was never formally educated in the arts, and one that always killed her plants – it was a great achievement. Driven by the indescribable joy painting brings her and others, and the support of her family and friends, she took on the challenge of creating 12 large pieces featuring different endemic species. Without losing her style, she was able to create multidimensional and stunning works with elements of her old collection to add a sentimental touch. These now-sold-out paintings highlighted species including Medinilla magnifica, Medinilla myriantha, Cinnamomum mercadoi, Halconensis sampaguita, Alocasia sanderiana, Strongylodon macrobotrys (Jade vine), Ixora palawanensis (Palawan santan), Antidesma bunius (Bignay), Rafflesia, Cananga odorata (Ylang-ylang), Garcinia binucao (Batuan), and assorted Hoyas. The exhibit not only instilled in her the values of discipline and balance, but it allowed her to recognize that “our Philippine flora is so rich and diverse.”
Her favorite piece which features the Strongylodon macrobotrys, commonly known as the Jade vine, paints a picture of positivity and hope. Its bright yellow background, vibrant colors, lush greenery and dancing jade vines remind us that there is always light, and that we will survive. It also contains elements from her old collection, even from her first very serious painting, further emphasizing growth and blooming.
Outside art, she handles development communication work as a part of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), helping manage and produce usable climate information so that vulnerable countries can cope better with the increasing climate variability and make better decisions on climate risk mitigation. Unlike with creating art, her profession allows little room for creativity, “It’s mostly technical and science based.” After college, after working at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), she realized that this is what she wants to do – allow science to be heard and understood through her stories – to do work that changes people’s lives. However, despite the differences between her career and craft, she says that essentially, they are both about being a catalyst for positive change and helping people at different levels. To her, “even a small difference is a difference” when talking about the impacts you can make in the lives of people.
FEED, an organization devoted to protecting and preserving Philippine biodiversity, appreciates Meg’s work. She reminds us of the beauty and life in our flora, and of efflorescence – that we too can blossom into positive changemakers.
More on Meg Yandoc
Support her Lupe fabric line! It consists of ‘affordable, wearable and usable art’, with her art printed on note cards or different fabrics like aprons, tote bags, throw pillow cases, sarongs, pot covers, etc.
What’s the future of her art? She plans to accept more commissions, branch out internationally, translate her art into more merchandise like kimonos, put up an online store and come up with even more creative ideas.
Contact the Artist:
The exhibit featured UPLB alumni Meg Yandoc and Helga Payawal-Vergara. The exhibit took place at the Sining Makiling Gallery, DL Umali Hall Basement, UPLB, from August 17, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The exhibit may also be viewed at OICA’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UPLBOICA2007
Jessie Cruz is a Management Engineering student in Ateneo de Manila University. Beyond her academics, she pursues her environmental advocacy by working with various environmental NGOs and social enterprises such as FEED.
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