Jason Delgado started at the end. The day he arrived in Cavite for his art residency was also the day his family buried their matriarch in Iloilo. That is how uneasy he has felt ever since. His inability to rest from his constant ponderings is what Hilas (in Visayan) is all about. Hilas could also mean his uncertainty in entering the Manila art scene coming from his Western Visayas.
An obvious culprit why Delgado paints pillows is that sleep has eluded him in the three months he stayed in another abode. The irony is he is more active when he forces himself to rest—this is where his mind grapples with artistic concepts and he reminisces his past experiences and its painful lessons. To engage in this art practice, even abandoning his earlier pursuit in architecture, Delgado is committed that it is worth doing and engages it in his own terms.
For Delgado, pillows are our most personal accessory--next to underwear and toothbrushes. As you lay yourself to slumber, the continuation of your existence depends on it. They are soft and light yet pillows carry with them your darkest secrets and deepest longings. Pillows are pure comfort. At the end of the day, you long for it. You can rest but not quit on living. As Delgado is most secretive, pillows have been his silent confidants. They have become his creative venues for possibilities of form and meaning. It is the lieu of his sensitive internalization of the things around him.
After sketching his thoughts, he finalizes the set up as he composes the objects on canvas. He attempts to be as hyperrealist in his images as possible. He is even tempted to lie down on his references after painting them. The value of a visual representation in an occurrence through a concealed object can be juxtaposed by suppressing it.
Breathe Again is his biography in diptych. On the left is a sketch representing his dreams of being an artist; on the right is the eventual fate of his family. The imposed stethoscope refers to his sister-nurse who became exhausted after their father died. The presence of color means how the family hurdled its struggles and rise up to start anew with a hopeful future.
Delgado has also commented on happenings with the communities he involves himself in. After All the Bending is his ode to farmers; how hard it is to plant and harvest rice only to be compensated so meager. Why Centered Circle is his belief in non-violence in support of his friends who happen to be in the military and police force. He shares their fear in putting the law on your bloodied hands.
A pillow has all the possibilities to suit one’s needs. It is a poetic conveyor of our senses as it is Delgado’s propensity to de-familiarization of things with alluded meanings. Delgado’s brilliance is how he meticulously paints folds, creases and hidden figures in relief to reveal his intended purpose. The shapes that are created intimate the object; it is this tension between revelation and concealment that the greater significance is evident.
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