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In UPLB exhibit, 12 women artists reinforce gender equality, empowerment

Twelve women artists showcase their work in an art exhibit here that will run up to April 17. The exhibit, part of the observance of the National Women’s Month, aims to reinforce what the organizers called “female narratives” in art and Philippine society.

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LOS BAÑOS — Twelve women artists showcase their work in an art exhibit here that will run up to April 17. The exhibit, part of the observance of the National Women’s Month, aims to reinforce what the organizers called “female narratives” in art and Philippine society.

“Let this be a celebration of humanity,” artist Joy Jacinto said during the opening program of “Herstories: On Women by Filipino Women Artists” last March 19, 2019, at the Sining Makiling Gallery in DL Umali Auditorium, UP Los Baños.

Jacinto, Elena Domingo, Inna Vitaza , Reef Jusayan, Karla Sta. Cruz, Rosa Mirasol, and Ness Shien were among the 12 women given the privilege by UP Los Baños, through the Office for Initiatives in Culture (OICA) and the UPLB Gender Center, to share their work focusing on female narratives.

“For me, it’s not just a celebration of women’s month but really my relationship with my daughter. It’s like a double win for me,” Jacinto said, referring to daughter Reef Jusayan, one of the artists in the exhibit.

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Brazilian Ambassador to the Philippines Rodrigo do Amaral Souza (left) and UPLB president and general manager of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. Ronald Mascariñas officially open the art exhibit.

“I am so proud of these women artists,” OICA director Jerry Yapo said in his opening speech as he highlighted the importance of art and its role in Philippine society. Yapo shared the challenges that the institution faces in proposing art exhibits like “Herstories.” “Certainly, in a science-oriented community like Los Baños, we are also a wellspring of talented students engaged in the different art disciplines.”

UPLB Gender Center director Eric Peralta believes that the art exhibit will help to send a message to the nation to assert gender equality and empower more women. “We strongly hope that our message becomes clear and strong enough to be heard within the halls of the university and reverberate toward every household, community, society, the country, and the whole world,” Peralta said. He added that everyone should be of aware of the need “for absolute empowerment of women and (of) all genders.”

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Rodrigo do Amaral Souza, Brazil’s ambassador to the Philippines who was also the guest speaker, said Brazil and the Philippines are experiencing similar issues in terms of gender disparity and women empowerment. “In Brazil, women are still underrepresented in politics. The Brazilian national congress currently has only 54 women among its 513 federal deputies,” Souza said. “Women in Brazil as well as in the Philippines are bridging the gender gap but there’s a still long way to go,” he said. “The path ahead, nonetheless, seems irreversible.”

UPLB alumnus Ronald Mascariñas, president and general manager of Bounty Agro Ventures Inc., challenged the women artists in the exhibit. “You provide inspiration to our country. You give pride to our countrymen with your works of arts,” he said.

The OICA and UPLB Gender Center are planning to mount a similar exhibit next year, with Filipino men sharing the narratives of women. Jacinto believes that the planned exhibit is a good way to further assert gender equality.

“Herstories” will run up to April 17, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm.

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