Not all broken things are useless. In fact, they can be beautiful. This is how Demi Padua chooses to view art – and life.
Born in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, Philippines, Demi Padua’s interest in art emerged when he was 6 years old, as he turned to his creativity both as a means of escape and expression. His passion for art became deeply ingrained in his being, and he decided to study Fine Arts, with a major in advertising in the Far Eastern University, in Manila.
Demi has carved a successful name for himself as a prolific contemporary painter in the regional art scene. Even with the success and recognition Demi has received in his artistic career, he has always remained refreshingly candid about his humble upbringing.
“My art then and now are the products of my childhood. I know what it’s like to struggle. We were poor, and sometimes we couldn’t even eat three times a day, making do with just one meal. Growing up, I never knew what buying new clothes or toys were like. But every difficult moment and unfortunate circumstance ignited my creativity – I learned how to recycle.” ~ Demi Padua
As a young boy, Demi would gather broken toys whenever he could. “I separated all the good parts, and when I completed a section, I joined them together so that I could make a new and unique toy of my own design,” he recalls. This served as an empowering catharsis from the gaping absence of resources. Such grit and resilience spilt over to his creative philosophy, showcased in his latest exhibition, “Transfigured,” to be unveiled by One East Asia on December 2, 2022, at the Philippine Embassy in Singapore. The exhibition is part of the 14th edition of the Philippines Art Trek in Singapore, an annual event eagerly awaited by art aficionados especially following a two-year hiatus owing to Covid-19.
In his newest collection, Demi presents eight portraits,marked by the Filipino artist’s delicate approach and use of Trompe-l’œil, an optical illusion of three-dimensional space and objects on a two-dimensional surface, drawing from bits and pieces of inspiration from pop culture and everyday life. “I choose all good parts of each face and combine them to form a new bright face, to create a new being,” he says. These portraits created in Demi’s unique collage-like approach portray the eyes, noses, lips, and features of different men and women from all walks of life.
The diversity of his subject matter was intentional in Demi’s efforts to showcase that there is the beauty behind the eyes of every stranger – particularly in their ability to reinvent themselves. “It’s a reminder that a new life is always possible,” he says. “They are all survivors in one area of their lives – and they are symbolic of rebirth and strength of the human spirit. I want to show that when you combine beautiful things, you can create a new being. This has the power to overcome even the most broken pasts.”
Venue: Embassy of the Philippines, 20, Nassim Road, Singapore 258395
When: 2 – 8 Dec 2022, 12noon – 5pm