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Adhika Group: Showcasing Pinoys’ artistic talents in Kuwait

Five Kuwait-based Filipino professionals who share a common passion for painting have banded together to show the talent and skill of the Pinoy artist in the Middle-East through an art exhibit.

Jojo Cabrera, Dave Constantino, Ding Bautista Jr, Everlito Villacruz, and Rolly Patilla are all working under the same company in Kuwait when they formed Adhika Group.”

They are planning to hold their very first show in Kuwait and Dubai at the end of the year to showcase their artworks, paintings and sculptures.

Of the five, Dave has stayed the longest in the Middle East after leaving the country some 15 years ago.

The rest of them have only gone to Kuwait for a year. Some are working in the advertising and design firms under the mother company, Warba Group.

Ding, Jojo and Dave are art directors for Warba Advertising, Ever is an interior designer for Integrated Design Factory while Rolly serves as the Production Site Engineer for Integrated Joinery Solutions.

The Beginning

Adhika was conceived after Jojo was commissioned by his general manager to provide some artworks for its head office in Kuwait . Jojo would then busy himself after work to finish his masterpieces at home.

“I’ve asked the rest of the group to do some paintings as well,” Jojo recalled, having known the rest of the team in the past.

“We basically did all aspect of the design for the head office, from interior to production until the last decorative fine art inside,” he added.

After the successful installation of their artworks, Dave thought of formally forming the group and calling it ‘Adhika,’ meaning, mission.

The group seemed to have started off on the right foot.

“After all was finished, we got so many praises from visitors to our own General Manager to our Chairman himself,” Jojo said.

Their next challenge is to mount Adhika’s first-ever exhibit in Kuwait to showcase their individual artworks.

Portrait of the Pinoy artist in Kuwait

While most in the group did not have formal training in the arts, Jojo’s family seemed to have sealed off his destiny.

Jojo is the son of the late Salvador Cabrera, a painter, cartoonist and illustrator who was the older brother of fellow Filipino painter, BenCab.

“Whenever I’m in a foreign land and people look at artworks made by Pinoys, all I hear are praises,” he said, referring to the warm reception he has received abroad.

“I think we Filipinos are blessed in many aspect of the arts…we have always been in the forefront. This, I think, is because of our diverse heritage,” Jojo added.

Ding shares this insight with Jojo: “Bilang Pinoy artist alam ko na angat tayo sa iba. Malawak at ‘di kontrolado ang ating kaisipan sa paglikha at malaya nating naipapahayag ito sa pamamagitan ng artwork.”

Kung kaya saan man tayo naroroon nagugustuhan nila,” Ding added.

For a self-confessed amateur like Rolly, working with the group is an extension of himself where he can fully show his culture and share it with other people.

“Most of my artwork represents my true identity to show my personality. Maybe I am the only one who knows the real meaning of my painting,” he said.

Dave sees the Filipino’s artistry as a God-given talent that is at par with, if not better than, our Asian counterparts.

“I have seen so many works of Asian people but for me Pinoys are very talented and really good not only in the arts but in any kind of skills,” he said.

But being an artist in a conservative environment like Kuwait can have its restrictions.

“Some are receptive, but you cannot please everybody especially the old generations or conservative people,” Dave said.

However, to exercise their creative freedom, Dave tries not to please everyone and maintains to just create what’s in his heart and mind.

For his part, Ever shrugs off the challenges faced by the group and treats them as a new experience. He also turns to painting to “kill homesickness.”

“Because we are new group here, there are a lot of challenges… the Adhika Group takes this as a good experience,” Ever said.

But for Jojo, the biggest disappointment is the lack of appreciation of some Filipinos for their own culture especially in the arts.

“The only downfall I see is that we Pinoys have little or no knowledge of our own culture unlike our other Asian counterparts like the Thais, Indians, etc. who have a very strong cultural background,” he explained.

The group’s mission

Despite being exposed and influenced by the life in the Middle East , Adhika refuses its exhibit to be restricted to one theme.

“There will be no target market, our position is just to show the artistic capabilities of Filipinos as artists,” said the group.

In December, they are planning to gather all their individual artworks and possibly open their exhibit in Kuwait and Dubai .

“We are very excited about the future for the group. Hopefully we could share our works around the world,” the group added.

Even before showing their actual artworks at a gallery, Adhika has already received some praises from fellow Filipinos who visited the group blog.

Sa kabila ng distansya at pagkakaiba ng dalawang kultura ay nakakapag palawak pa kayo ng inyong husay at talento sa sining. Isang malaking tagumpay para sa ating mga Pinoy at sa mga kabayan pa natin na nasa ibayong bansa,” wrote one Derrick Macutay.

However, the group shared a feedback from a fellow overseas Filipino that really moved them: “Nakatutuwa at may mga katulad n’yong grupo dito sa Kuwait . Matagal na ako dito pero ngayon lang ako nakakita ng ganito.”

Ever as an interior designer shrugs off the challenges faced by his talent and treats them as a new experience. He also turns to painting to “kill homesickness

” It basically gave us the chills… a pride of being a Pinoy artist.”

Mark J. Ubalde, GMANews.TV

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