Filipina-Canadian Painter Makes U.S. Debut at Philippine Center in New York

  • Page Views 9810
  • Last Tuesday evening, a crowd braved heavy rains to gather at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue, where a Filipina-Canadian visual artist debuted her first solo exhibition outside of Canada. Esmie Gayo McLaren, a Vancouver-based painter, presented over a dozen watercolor paintings of figures, landscapes and scenes of everyday life.

    The show, titled Expanding Horizons, represents McLaren “expanding into the world”, she explains, both as her solo exhibition artist, as well as her global travels, which she had started doing more frequently in recent years. These travels brought her to the Philippines. “It is a celebration of a land I had rarely experienced, a foreign land because I left it early in life,” explained Ms. McLaren, who moved to Canada when she was twelve. Having grown up in North America, “visiting the Philippines, you’re almost like a tourist,” she said.

    Her Agoo Harvest series of paintings depicts rice workers in the farmlands surrounding her family’s home in Ilocos. In one painting, one woman waits for her share of the rice next to a worker operating a threshing machine, while in the foreground, a laborer approaches them carrying freshly-cut stalks.

    One wall of the exhibit depicts scenes from a trip to France. Lavande features rows of lavender planted in front of Sénanque Abbey in the south of France. McLaren explained that the monks sell lavender products to help pay for the monastery’s upkeep.

    Well-wishers and art lovers surrounded McLaren throughout the evening, including Consul General Claro S. Cristobal, who called her “a pride of the Filipinos.”

    McLaren is also a self-described “flamenco enthusiast,” and three of the most colorful paintings of the exhibit are of different styles of dancers.

    Expanding Horizons is presented by the Lenore RS Lim Foundation for the Arts, which is registered in the Philippines and has sponsored numerous exhibits in New York and Vancouver. Ms. Lim, herself an acclaimed artist, met McLaren six years ago in Vancouver, where they worked on projects together to promote Filipino culture, artists and their works. When Lim mentioned her New York-based foundation, McLaren thought it would be “so cool” to be able to exhibit in New York. Planning for the exhibit began in 2016.

    Lim said of McLaren, “I observed that she is not only a good artist, but she is also passionate about connecting communities and women’s issues.”

    Ms. McLaren and Ms. Lim also both have works currently displayed at the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa, Canada, in an exhibit titled Essence, which celebrates the roles, struggles and triumphs of women. Produced by Ms. McLaren, Essence first opened in North Vancouver and was invited to travel to Ottawa by Her Excellency Ambassador Petronila P. Garcia.

    Expanding Horizons is on display at the Philippine Center New York, 556 Fifth Avenue, until September 28th. McLaren’s work can be found at Jeunesse Gallery of Fine Arts in Vancouver, and online at https://esmiegayomclaren.com

    by Paul Gullas

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 28 July 2022
      1 week ago No comment

      BBM states in SONA: “We will endure”

      President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. struck a hopeful note in his first State of the Nation Address or SONA on July 25, 2022. Marcos delivered his speech before a joint session of Congress, with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez behind him. “We ...

    • 28 July 2022
      1 week ago No comment

      Tips to Stay Cool and Safe During Extreme Heat

      Surrey, BC – With warmer than average temperatures arriving, the City of Surrey is reminding residents to take the necessary steps to stay safe in extreme heat, how to spot the signs of heat exhaustion, and where to find public pools, spray parks and air-conditioned civic facilities for heat ...

    • 21 July 2022
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Ed Lantin exhibit, Buto-Buto play showcase Filipino artistry in Vancouver

      Filipino artistry is once again in full display in Vancouver with two shows, and the Philippine Consulate General is at the forefront of promoting these events. One is the Edgardo Lantin Art Exhibit, and the second, a theatrical production titled “Buto/Buto: Bones are Seeds”. The Lantin art exhibit and ...

    • 14 July 2022
      3 weeks ago No comment

      “Heaven Can Wait”: ART ALAFRIZ

      To all of you who have shared my 84 year journey through life no matter how brief, I thank you for being part of it as every moment adds spice and color to a life I consider well lived. LIVING WITH CANCER June 16, 2022 at the Surrey Memorial ...

    • 07 July 2022
      1 month ago No comment

      88 Supermarket Celebrates Canada Day

      88 Supermarket celebrated Canada Day by giving away gift certificates and prizes plus a 2022 Mitsubishi RVR for their annual raffle. Present for the raffle was 88 Supermarket President and CEO Ken Chau, and General Manager Khalil Qureshi as well as James Green of Mitsubishi and Rey Fortaleza, official ...

    %d bloggers like this: