Below are some speeches and interviews I gave, that might help you to understand better my creative world. Let me share with you first this recent article featured in Art+ Magazine (June 2019); it summaries a bit the journey.
Speech during opening night solo exhibition “City and Poetry”, May 2019, Manila
Thank you for being here tonight. Thank you for coming and seeing this exhibition. I hope you enjoy it, I hope my paintings allow you to stop, to take a short break in your busy day,
I hope they also make you feel something, maybe they make you think about your town, about your life, about our planet Earth.
Art is made to be shared, so if you were not here tonight, my paintings would be meaningless.
When I booked the date of the exhibition, a bit less than a year ago, I did not realise this exhibition will be such important. Indeed, as you know, my family and I just decided to leave the Philippines in 2 months, so it might be the last exhibition in Manila!
Really, each solo exhibition is an accomplishment, but this one, therefore, means even more.
It symbolises the end of à cycle, and, if there is an end to something, that also means there is space for something new, for a change, for a start.
I guess, somehow, it is not completely a coincidence, that this exhibition here is a tribute to Manila, city that hosted me and my family for 10 years! So much happened in 10 years, Manila has been the witness of so many important events and stages in my life. It could only inspire me.
The way I represented Manila on my paintings might call something in you. That might remind you something. A view from the top of a building, the city appearing in the middle of the clouds when you drive back from the beach, or from Tagaytay, and you suddenly see this towers, breaking up the skies vertically, looking beautiful and massive at the same time.
My paintings might also remind you some of the dreams you made, or they invite you to dream.
Really, we all know the city we live in is chaotic, oppressing, polluted, grey. But there is more. À city like Manila, you need some time to like it, to adopt her. And if you give her time, she will please you, you will find your ways, if you work with yourself to find beauty in it.
Because there is beauty, there is passion, there is poetry in Manila. It is just a question of seeing it, making space in your mind, in all your senses, to find it.
I hope this poetry, this beauty, can be seen or feel in my paintings, through the clashes of vivide colors such as pink, red, yellow or turquoize, through the peacefulness of the brushes strokes, the soft texture of the clouds.
But not only the city itself, nature around us also inspires me.
For those of you who followed me during all those years, you remember that my first inspiration was nature in Asia. Coming from Europe, I was amazed to see how wild and powerful nature is in South-East Asia. The shapes of the leaves, the size and weirdness of trees, the blues, greens of the seas and the skies… That was my first main inspiration here.
Even if my painting has changed since then, even if it has evolved as I have, I have not abandoned this nature, it is - and will always be - present in my art: you can clearly see around you how natural elements influence me: you may guess the colors of the skies, the transparencies of water, texture of sand, holes of bright lights in the dark clouds, between realism and abstraction, you will see leaves, trees or nature trying to take over the cities and human civilisation, trying to find a way to live together.
Because life is like that : it is made of contrasts.
Like the Philippines, between Nature and massive cities.
Amongst chaos and amongst hard time, we need to continue to work on finding pieces of beauty and poetry inside our own world.
That might bring peace inside of you, even inside chaos.
TRANSFORMATIONS, EXHIBITION IN MANILA, 2017 – speech, March 22 2017
Thank you for being here tonight. This exhibition means a lot to me and I would like to take the opportunity to express some thoughts with you. I chose the title “Transformations”, as my art has always represented the different stages of my life, and the last 2 years have been full of changes and transformations. My friends know that I prefer not to talk about some things, and keeping my thoughts or emotions secret or hidden. But as a painter unveils her masterpieces on the night of the opening, a painter also reveals at the same time a part of herself. May I please remind - or tell - you some of the events I have been through - that might help you to understand better the art works around you, as well as the labels written next to them.
My previous exhibition in Manila was in November 2014, in a gallery on Pasong Tamo. Many of you were there. In my speech during this opening night, I dedicated this exhibition to my son, Gaspard, as he is, I said on that night, one of my most beautiful and special creations. I did not know, at that time, he would leave us, 5 months later, just before his third birthday. That was his journey. It took me a long time to understand that his journey was different than mine, that we won’t be together forever, that my main source of inspiration was gone.
Since then, life has been tremendously chaotic and beautiful at the same time. Few weeks after Gaspard left us, I got pregnant. That was a gift, from him, from life. And I was pregnant of two babies! But the process of grieving had just started and I was sent into a very tough pregnancy. My heart was in the state of death, but my body was creating 2 lives. I was thankfully carried by the community here, my family, my husband Fred and my first 2 children, Sarah and Hugo, my friends, my school, my students. Thank you to all of you. You kept me going. I did not paint at all, for more than a year. I had no inspiration. I gave birth to my twins, it was exactly a year ago, in March 2016. 2 healthy and beautiful girls. Our home, which was full of emptiness and sadness, was suddenly brought back into joy and happiness.
As most of you know, I completely passed out during the delivery, my body was broken and I lost all my blood - I stayed 8 hours in coma and few days in ICU - yep, I know what you think, I keep my life interesting! ; The community in Manila was fantastic, they - you!- gathered together to save me. Everyone did something - coming to the hospital and giving me your blood, if you did not have the right blood type, some of you came to give us your presence, or you help by calling and messaging around, finding donors, sending positive vibes, prayers or lots of love. And I am here tonight! Look at me, it worked quite well! Please, give me the opportunity to say thank you tonight. Thank you to Fred who stood up and managed to keep his nerve during this highly demanding situation, and thank you to all of you, who responded to his calls. Well, I got 15 blood transfusions on that day, that is more than a complete renewal, and I survived. And my girls are healthy. And Gaspard is in my heart. Then, I felt ready to start something different. I went back to painting. I stopped teaching. After all of this, I felt the urge to create and dedicate all my time to my passions! I have been writing a book about the value of life, as a tribute to my son, and a testimony that might help other people facing their own struggles and issues. I am also using this year to my art: painting again, finally, and letting myself expressing all of these very mixed emotions.
So, let's go back to the specifics of tonight: the art! You heard my story, the last 2 years have shown a lot of changes, a lot of transformations. You can see it in my art - my previous neutral colors have been moved to vivid ones. The pure abstract and peaceful cloudiness I used to paint has moved to portraits hidden behind clashes of colors, dragonflies ready to take off, paintings of Nature keeping my body grounded with my head in the stars, or even paintings of my city, Manila, wearing green or pink dresses… All these paintings are the evidences of transformations happening in my mind, my body and my heart. Thank you for being here tonight, it is a privilege to share them with you. For the anecdote, many of these paintings were painted first few years ago, but they were apparently not totally finished. I took them back on the easel this year, one by one, and I gave them a second life by adding these colors and changes on them. And I think they are even more beautiful now.
Finally, I would like to share some things I tell myself every day. Just remember that we are all alive and healthy, today, right now. Let’s be grateful for that. Gratitude is something that my little boy gave me. And when you feel that life treats you badly, take each difficulty as a challenge, as an opportunity to grow, to change, to transform. Nobody says it is easy, but you need to give it a try. Surround yourself with love, good vibes and energies. Find that strength inside you. Accept your changes. Accept you are not thesame person than before. It is not about was it better or worst beforehand? Things happen, we change. And we carry on. It is a slow and long process, but embrace these changes in your life. Embrace the transformations.
Thank you very much.
Tell us more about your inspirations? - interview
My serie of portraits shows the Transformations that can happen to all of us. We all have different periods in our life that shape our personality. Here is my take on the complexity of life, what happens to all of us and how we transform.
Finally, emotions, feelings, senses, are my main inspirations. You can't put words on it, you can't always explain. You maybe don't want to explain and only want to be guided by your feelings. That is why abstractions is art on its purest aspect. Abstraction allows me to leave conventions, representations or judgements. As an artist, abstraction allows you to focus on mix of colors, shapes, lights and shadows, aiming to a result that inspires.
Cities: I have been living in a vivide Asian city for many years now. Busy, polluted, crowded... Those cities can be oppressing. Although, there are also our home, where we build up our life, where we have your memories and where we experience emotions. Amongst chaos, those cities also bring their own passions and poetry. These cityscapes are my representation of this beautiful and ever changing place we may sometimes call Home.
Mother Nature also inspires me. She is the Womb of everything. She provides life, peace and quiet. She is resilient and always finds new expressions to design Life. She sometimes has to fight to still find a place in our busy world. She was here before us and will survive us. She is the expression of Harmony. She inspires me everyday.
Trees have been one of my main inspirations, for many years. I see Trees as a symbol of strength and wisdom. Trees provide beauty, shelter and life. They can be hurt. They can be hit by a storm. But they keep up. I take them as an example to follow. Being elevated, head up, your feet deeply rooted on Earth and your head in the sky.
I hope my paintings call something in you, bring a connection you might not have expected. I hope they spread something IN you and you may enjoy the beauty of what human beings are able to do : art.
Solo exhibition November 2014, NOW Art Gallery, Manila - speech during the opening night