Bouncing from one country to another making art
by Michael Vincent Manalo
It all started in early June, when the artist-in-residence program created by the Galeria Bielska BWA accepted my proposition to make a light box installation featuring surreal and nostalgic images of Bielsko-Biala. At first, I had no clue as to where to get funds for this amazing opportunity to be a success but I never stayed down, I fought on, since my family was on my side; so I wrote a Proposal for a grant to the Mayor and Vice-mayor (Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice-mayor Joy Belmonte) of my city and through luck and hard work, they responded with a good tune.
I was able to get some funds for my travel and project expenses but it wasn’t enough, I needed more. I, then wrote a proposal to a good friend of mine who is an artist lawyer and also a curator (Anna Veloso) to do a project for her spa/gallery/café business wherein my light boxes would the source of light, and luckily she agreed. With that, I was able to cover the necessary budget that I needed for the trip.
On July 9, my plane landed on Warsaw, Poland and was taken by a kind couple (Jarek and Magdalena Wozniak) who is leading the ED-Wall Art business (an interior design company that features works by several artists including me).
I was in Bielsko-Biala the day after and here I met amazing artists from the USA (Esperanza Cortes) , Poland (Izabela Oldak – coordinator) and Japan (Yasu Onishi) and the associate coordinator (Justyna Labadz); the great staff from the remarkable Galeria Bielska BWA who all inspired and changed me as to who I am today.
The following weeks, I started taking photos of Bielsko-Biala through a tour by a dear friend (Magda Ramach who has helped me in so many ways) and started creating my surreal artworks. The artworks I have created are shown below:
After doing these, I had ordered the construction of my light box here in Bielsko-Biala, which wouldn’t have been possible if not for the technical drawings created by a great interior designer friend from the Philippines and from the good staff of Galeria Bielska who helped me in finding a person who could build the light box.
While waiting for this 80x80cm light box to be created, I had asked help from the good staff of Galeria Bielska to help me find old and inoperative monitors which I would also be using to create my light boxes. When I’ve received them, I then printed out my works and began the deconstruction and transformation of these monitors into light boxes. In order for these to be created, a helpful hand from the gallery staff offered me his arm in disassembling the monitors and putting plexi-glass and fragile glass on to its front.
The results are as follows:
A lecture was then presented to the people of Bielsko-Biala about the projects that I’ve done and the project that was to be conducted.
As soon as I got the light box, I began working on it immediately. I was aided by in some way by a Dutch artist (Guy Bosch).
On the Final Exhibition day, important people from the art industry in Bielsko-Biala and some citizens of the city came to gather at 11Listopada street in the heart of Bielsko to witness the finished project where my project is temporarily installed.
After the final exhibition, I then proceeded to the mural work and installation work I was commissioned to do in the Fellini Gallery in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The artists commissioned to do work here came from all parts of the globe.
As I got on the bus station in Kaiserdamm, I met a Ukrainian girl who then went with me throughout half of my stay in Berlin, she had helped me paint and get around Berlin with much high spirits.
My work in the Fellini Gallery, Berlin is shown below:
I came back to Bielsko-Biala, full of content and excitement after completing the projects I was commissioned to do in Berlin.
As soon as I came, I began working on my upcoming multimedia exhibition in Galeria Wzgorze in Bielsko-Biala which will be held on the 31th of August. A poster for the exhibition is shown below:
On a more emotional note, I want to say that the overall experience in Poland with the people that I’ve met and the adventures I had with my friends was something that has definitely changed who I am. I will come back to the Philippines, a changed man.
For more information, you may visit the following galleries or their websites:
Galeria Bielska BWA
ul. 3 Maja 11
tel. +48 33 812 58 61
fax +48 33 812 41 19
Mittenwalder Straße 6