Tuesday, March 3, 2009

When a Sculpture Roars

When a Sculpture Roars

by Dexter R. Matilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 02, 2009 (Monday)

ARTIST Seb Chua Jr. is feeling good these days. And with good reasons, too.

He was commissioned by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to do a sculpture symbolizing a mother’s love. He created a mother breastfeeding her child, an image that could tug at anyone’s heartstrings. Every purchase of the sculpture benefited the Unicef’s fight against neonatal mortality.

Next, he was commissioned by the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) to do “The Guardian.” It depicts a child who, despite not having facial features, shows empathy toward a dog. It begs the question of who’s guarding who, who’s taking care of whom.

Most recently, Chua was commissioned by the Lions Club of San Juan to create an image that would symbolize the new breed of Lions while keeping the old tradition and objectives in mind - that of serving the people above all else.

The lion is poised in a somewhat protective mood, owing to the artist’s belief that Lions Club members may look intense but are also approachable and friendly.

“Confident of their place in society, they don’t have to show how strong or how intelligent they are,” Chua says. “A true king or leader is not measured by his strength or power alone but more by his compassion to help others in need.”

“I approached this work thinking how to best represent the Lions in modern times. As an artist, I was very much inspired to do this artwork, knowing that this will not only be cherished for its aesthetic value but more for what it will represent.”

“The Serving Lion” measures 10”h x 14”l x 7.5”w. Lions Club San Juan president Patrick Dy Buncio says the first three casts will be given to the club presidents from Hong Kong (Francis Lee), Taiwan (Tzann Tian Shiau) and Manila (Geary Barias) during the 50th-anniversary celebration at Gloria Maris, San Juan. Guest of honor will be former President Joseph Estrada.

Chua is the proprietor of Art Asia gallery at SM Megamall. He has been a consistent honoree in the sculpture category in the annual Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) competition.

A second life-size sculpture of “The Guardian” is scheduled to be installed and unveiled at the SM Mall of Asia during the first quarter of this year, to help PAWS promote its cause.

He is working on another sculpture for Unicef with a theme on spreading literacy and education to children.

Dy Buncio says Lions Club is an international network of 1.3 million men and women in 205 countries and geographic areas working together to answer the need that challenge communities around the world.

While the organization is known for working to end preventable blindness, the members are also involved in projects such as medical and dental missions, outreach projects, gift-giving, and monthly feeding in public elementary schools.

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