Saturday, September 8, 2012

Life weaver

“Life weaver”
Sun.Star Davao, Sept. 8, 2012

Oftentimes, when the baby is nearly on its way, the expectant mother will feel an uncontrollable urge and a burst of energy to organize and prepare the home for the new arrival. This common phenomenon is termed as nesting.            

But, for Dr. Marianne ‘Yanyan’ Navales-Cuezon who will be welcoming her first baby Malaika anytime soon, her pregnancy did not only trigger her nesting instinct but her creative juices as well. 

During the 38th week of her pregnancy and amidst the hustle and bustle of decorating her nursery last month, the doting mom-to-be staged her second one-woman art exhibit dubbed as “Weaving a Life: Discovering the Life of the Unborn” at the Museo Dabawenyo. 

Young artist  

Yanyan’s supportive parents Chester and Dr. Marilyn Navales exposed her to art at an early age. “My parents say I loved to scribble and draw ever since I learned how to pick up a pen”, she shares.

Wanting to hone their only daughter’s talent further, Yanyan underwent summer classes at the Ford Academy of the Arts (formerly known as the Learning Center of the Arts) with resident artist Jimmy Ang. 

“My interest in art intensified when I went to college at Silliman University where I joined an artist’s group, Order of the Golden Palette (OGPA). We would have constant interactions and stage group exhibits. This developed not only my love for art, but a deeper passion for it, especially as a form of expression”, Yanyan, who is happily married to her Manila-based husband Carl, reveals. 

Artist, interrupted 

Yanyan’s artistic endeavors, however, came to a standstill when she decided to enroll in medical school.

“With it came the hope that someday, I would be able to go back to my love for art—after medicine. And, so after I finished med school and became a doctor, I fulfilled a promise and had my first one-woman exhibit three years ago, just before going into residency training.

The Davao Christian High School alumna’s first exhibit was entitled ICTHUS (Greek word for fish but was used in Christianity back then as an “actrostic” or a secret symbol with each letter summing up the phrase, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior”).

“The exhibit was an artistic shout-out of emotions and experiences I have waited to express. It was basically an acknowledgement and profession of my Christianity and God's faithfulness in my everyday life”, Yanyan says.

Weaving a Life: Discovering the Life of the Unborn

During her speech for her second and latest exhibit last August, the multi-talented doctor enthuses that “motherhood is like being a weaver of life”.

“Like carefully weaving a tapestry, understanding the patterns and patiently knitting them into place; you realize that motherhood takes time, and that it does not take place overnight. It takes the whole nine months to patiently learn. You don’t become it, motherhood becomes you in the process”, she reflects.

Yanyan’s heartwarming artworks delve into her Mindanao culture and roots, too. This is creatively woven and intertwined with her emotional experiences as a mother: “Bursting into colors and swirls, celebrating the life weaver that I am becoming”.

Gracing the exhibit were Yanyan’s dearest family members and close friends, Datu Bago awardee and esteemed artist Aida Rivera-Ford, Museo Dabawenyo Board of Director Dr. Malou Monteverde, Quota International officers and members, among others. 

As if the art exhibit was not enough to keep Yanyan on her toes, she also found time to organize a belly art painting activity for pregnant moms with their hubbies and other family members. She did this in coordination with The POD’s equally busy mom Alex Morris-Hao.

“My belly art painting started when I was about 26 weeks pregnant. Because I had to take a leave from my residency training in the hospital, I wanted to document my pregnancy, and so I came up with the idea of painting my tummy every week thereafter. I took photos for keepsake”, Yanyan recounts.

The half-day affair at The POD gathered seven very pregnant mommies ready to be pampered and decorated with artwork on their bulging tummies to celebrate the joy of welcoming God’s greatest and priceless gifts.

Yanyan was extremely pleased with the enthusiastic response of the participants during Davao’s first belly art painting activity. “It was a lighthearted moment and so much fun!”, she observes.

Pregnant or not, Yanyan, the doctor-artist, knows what she loves the most and follows her heart. She believes that “one will never run out of things to pursue when it is run with passion”.

Special thanks to Bert Tomas for the art exhibit photos and Ryam Yap for the belly art painting pictures.

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