The paintings and sketches of Ruben De Vera were set up on the second floor of an unpretentious building owned by the Davao City Government. The building is the Museo Dabawenyo, not far from the Legislative Building in the heart of the City.
Every person entering the Museo is told to sign a logbook. The employees of the City Government act as guides to the visitors.
I was led up the stairs.
I walked into a large room. On the walls were the Ruben De Vera oil paintings, which were not framed. No titles. How fortunate for the artist, I thought. He did not have to supply a title for every work; he did not worry about the expense of frames.
I was previously told there were no drinks served during the opening of the exhibit. Another expense avoided.
Soon, a bird with a fantail flew in. There were few people, and they did not see the bird. It flew, close to the ceiling, making its own guided tour.
Deep within myself I felt happy seeing the bird.
Because, when it suddenly appeared, it was the “Sign” of a good future for the Artist and his friends.
His depiction of the human face was like mine.
He could draw hands, figures in motion; also he could paint a shoreline dividing the blue sea, and the earth, a rare achievement.
I specially liked the portrayal of a group of smiling folk, one young woman, holding a cigarette, and all beside the seashore.
Indeed, this was an inspiring show, and it pushed me to resume my own painting work.
I was reminded of what Henry Miller wrote: “The Artist works to restore the innocence of humanity.”
Joan Edades is the daughter of the late National Artist Victorio Edades and Jean Garrott Edades. She is an artist, and a writer and editor at the Davao Mission in Bangkal.