FOR THE 9th installment of its ongoing Of Art and Wine series, the Conrad Manila features the works of Filipino-Chinese artist Elizabeth Anne “Lizanne” Uychaco, who is known for combining modern art and the art of feng shui. It is ongoing until Aug. 11 at the hotel’s Gallery C.
“I grew up with a feng shui master [organizing our homes]… In one of our homes, there was like an area missing in the ‘wealth area’ and so he had given us this really, really big sculpture of gold coins that drove the interior designer crazy. So I painted and sculpted some coins… and showed it to the feng shui master and asked if I could put [my work instead of his in the ‘wealth area’] and he gave his blessing. The started a niche for me… that there are people looking for feng shui art,” Ms. Uychaco said during her speech at the exhibit’s opening on June 11.
Feng shui or Chinese geomancy is the belief that energy forces can be used to harmonize individuals with their environment.
Ms. Uychaco is widely considered as one of the few (if not the only) feng shui artists in the country, but her love affair with lucky Chinese symbols started when she was young when a feng shui master gave her a Chinese gold coin (which is used as a symbol of wealth and prosperity) to “protect me from sickness and bring me luck.”
The gold coin became her signature as it is found in almost all of her artworks. The works in Of Art and Wine: Heaven and Earth are no exception — the 24-piece exhibit features the gold coin among other Chinese symbols of luck and Filipino symbols like the bulul (the carved figures of granary gods from the Mountain Province).
Some pieces of note are Origins of Wealth which features the Chinese gold coin in the center with a border made of bululs, and Best of Times which looks like a king from China’s Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1636-1912) whose ears are made from jade bangles and a necklace from Chinese beads.
“I’m not a feng shui master and usually their feng shui masters do the choosing,” she said referring to her clients. [But] I did learn a bit because my father was friends with a feng shui master,” Ms. Uychaco told reporters.
Her exhibit features largely mixed media work as she took classes in “sculpture, pottery, jewelry-making, silver craft, gold-gilding, calligraphy, painting in watercolor, oils, and acrylics,” said a press release.
Her artworks were described as “clearly rooted in Oriental art [while] utilizing miniature Philippine objects that are symbols of protection and prosperity,” said the release.
It took her two years to complete the 24 pieces as she only had time to work on her art on weekends — on weekdays she works as SM Investments’ Senior Vice-President for Corporate Services.
“This is two years in the making… I also took a vacation leave to paint because this is bigger than my normal every year [exhibit which usually has] about eight to 10 pieces,” she said.
“I think [my art] is very easy to recognize and when I was studying painting and art, one of the professors actually said, ‘you know people shouldn’t have to read an artists’ name to know [who made them].’ You need to have a unique style and some originality that really reflects yourself,” Ms. Uychaco explained.
Ms. Uychaco’s Of Art and Wine: Heaven on Earth exhibit in on view until Aug. 11 at Conrad Manila’s Gallery C in Pasay City. The artworks are for sale with prices ranging from P208,000 to P888,000.
For more information about the exhibit and the price list, call (632) 833-9999 (Angelica Restivera) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. — Zsarlene B. Chua