Tequi exhibit focuses on Perigord episode

Tequi exhibit focuses on Perigord episode 
By Walter Ang
August 25, 208
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Multi-awarded painter and printmaker Ofelia "Ofie" Gelvezon-Tequi was recently featured in the "100 Nudes" fund raising art exhibit of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) for the university's centennial celebrations.

Known for her still lifes and use of symbolism, Tequi admits that she does not usually tackle nudes as a subject matter. For the exhibit, on display were four nude sketches she executed for a class exercise when she took further studies in Rome at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma.

In addition to being included in the exhibit, Tequi was awarded the UPAA Distinguished Alumni Award for Culture and the Arts at the grand homecoming and reunion held in Araneta Coliseum. "It was a surprise for me. I frankly did not expect it," she says. "It's a nice feeling to be validated for what we artists do." Tequi adds, "While other alumni are getting awarded for causes like poverty alleviation, I'd like to think that we [artists] advocate the alleviation of the soul."

The road to UP Tequi was born in Iloilo but had a peripatetic childhood. "My father Ramon G. Gelvezon was a military man. We moved from place to place as he was assigned to different camps in the Philippines," she recounts. "But when we needed to go good schools for more 'serious' education, we stayed put in Manila."

"My mother, Milagros L. Lucas, graduated from the UP Conservatory of Music and we always had music in the house - the popular songs of her youth and classical music. We learned to be eclectic in our musical taste although none of us made music our profession. Nor the military for that matter," Tequi adds.

Growing up, Tequi always liked to draw, but when she got to college, she initially enrolled in AB English. "I thought I'd wanted to be a kind of Brenda Starr (a comic strip character). During my time, there was still no real journalism degree," she says. "But I was thankful for the literature courses I had to take. These later became sources for what I would express visually. It was possible then to cross register in two different colleges and take up two courses simultaneously, which was what I did."

Tequi double enrolled in Fine Arts and there she met "wonderful people, great human beings both in the classroom and outside" that helped mold her artistic talents. "I had several National Artists as teachers like NVM Gonzalez and Jose Joya. Joya was not only a mentor but was also a friend. I remember riding the bus with him that went on EDSA as he lived all the way in Pasay then, while I got off at the Crossing on Shaw Boulevard."

Colors of home 
After college, Tequi has had over 30 solo exhibitions since 1970 in Manila, Paris, New York, and Monaco, as well as numerous group shows since 1968 in various countries around the world. She was the first female recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artist Awards.

For painting, Tequi usually uses acrylic on canvas or rag paper, collage and mixed media, and aniline on silk. For her printmaking, she usually does colored etching on zinc or copper plates and engraving on copper.

"My maternal grandfather, Pablo Lucas was the first Filipino director of the Bureau of Printing. Perhaps I inherited the genes for printmaking from him. I also, later on, was a book designer for the UP Press," she says. The major themes or topics that Tequi deals with in her works revolve around "politics, our relationship with the Almighty, and time."

In the home Tequi shares with husband Marc, a retired banker, in France, practically all of the artworks are by Filipino artists. "We have a number of works by Joya, of course," she says. "Macario Vitalis, BenCab, Claude Tayag, Phyllis Zaballero, Popo San Pascual, R.M. de Leon and many more. I also have a 1928 Amorsolo landscape that I inherited from my mother."

Tequi's husband was actually her French teacher when she was in college. "He was teaching in UP and the Alliance Française in lieu of the military service that was obligatory in France at that time," she recounts. They married in 1977 and moved to France the same year. Her daughter and two sons are now all married and have given Tequi five grandchildren.

Between two lands Her last exhibit in Manila was two years ago at the Hiraya Gallery. This year, Tequi will be sharing a glimpse of her life in France with Filipino art lovers. Tequi is currently preparing for an exhibit to be featured at the Alliance Francaise.

"It will be called `Périgord Still Life.' Périgord is the region where my family and I live and my still life paintings show, in some way, my life there in that village. There will be around thirty pieces of acrylic on linen and they will range from small to big sizes."

"I've used Périgord as a theme off and on starting with my exhibit with Budji Layug in Reposo but more consistently so starting with my show at Dr. Joven Cuanang's Pinto Gallery," she says.

Despite living away from the Philippines, Tequi clearly has strong ties to her land of birth. In fact, she foresees a "rich and varied future for Philippine art." She notes, "There is a lot of public interest in local artists who can satisfy a great range of tastes with works of high quality from the experimental to the conservative. And not just in the visual arts. Theatre is very much alive and fecund. In France right now, Filipino cinema is included in the Paris Film Fest. We Pinoys have something to say to the world, we `say' it in our language and we are sure the world will hear us."

For details on "Périgord Still Life," contact Alliance Francaise Manila at 895-7441.

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Ballet Philippines announces 39th season line-up, new co-artistic directors

New beginnings for dance, courtesy of Ballet Philippines 
By Walter Ang
August 25, 2008
Manila Bulletin

What many people don't know is that Ballet Philippines is a dance company that not only does classical ballet, it also does other forms of dance like neo-classical, jazz, modern jazz, neo-ethnic and even post-modern.

For its 39th season, the line up of productions has been carefully and thoughtfully planned to showcase its dancers' strengths in these different kinds of dance to as many types of audiences there are. This formulation is the initial output of the company's two newly appointed artistic directors Max Luna III and Alan Hineline.

Hineline, an internationally seasoned choreographer and ballet master, was on the faculty of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet as resident choreographer for 11 years. "I am thrilled and honored that the board has chosen the two of us to guide the company and its artists into its next phase," says Hineline. "This is a company brimming with talent and history in a city and country that is bursting with passion and energy ? what an extraordinary combination!"

Luna, on the other hand, is a former BP member and has had an internationally celebrated dance career with Ballet International de Caracas, Joyce Trisler Danscompany and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, where he was a principal dancer and in whose school he also taught for 20 years. "I've been very fortunate to have worked with different companies and now I want to share the knowledge and experience I have gained throughout my career and give back to the company that opened my eyes to the world of dance," says Luna. "Returning home to Manila and Ballet Philippines brings my life and career full circle. This is a dream come true!

Both have already been very busy infusing new ideas into BP, including a revamp of the company logo to reflect its entry into a new chapter of its lifestory. "The season's theme is `A season of new beginnings," because it's the next logical step for the company. It's been around for a while and the question is `What now?' It's time to mature, to grow, to take that next step," says Hineline.

Founded in 1969 by Alice Reyes with the support of Edie Elejar and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, BP has done over 400 works including full length classical ballets and indigenous works of Filipino folklore. Even though the dancers are all classically trained and perform many of the 19th- and 20th-century ballet standards, their repertory almost always includes modern works. "This season, we'll have classical ballet, innovative contemporary works and major new productions. There are shows for young people, for the chic and hip, for families, for everyone!" says Luna.

From tradition to neo-Filipino As a nod to Philippine and its own history, the season premiere opening in September will be Agnes Locsin's acclaimed retelling of Apolinario Mabini's "La Revolucion Filipina" With music by Ryan Cayabyab, "La Rev" was was first performed in 1997 in celebration of the Centennial of Philippine Independence.

"New Beginnings," the second show for the season, to open in October, brings in a touch of international flair with Alvin Ailey's "Night Creature," one of his most classically choreographed ballets with music by jazz-legend Duke Ellington. Audiences will also finally get a chance to see the choreography of the new artistic directors with Luna's "Mga Awit," featuring the music of Michael Dadap, where the many cycles of male camaraderie are explored, and Hinelines' "Thresholds II," with the music of Jerome Begin, described as "an angular, sexy, and fast-paced work that pushes classical ballet to its edges and audiences to their feet."

In December, families will have a chance to enjoy a comic ballet with Hineline's restaging of "Coppélia," a "timeless story of young love and one of the last great Romantic ballets ? a light comedy set in a quaint country village which tells the story of a young man who falls in love with a doll."

The season ends in March 2009 with "Neo-Filipino," featuring a revival of Alice Reyes' "Amada," a work inspired by the "Tadtarin," the annual three-day summer solstice festival of women that mixes pagan rituals with the Feast of St. John. The show will also feature two world premieres, one by Luna and the other by resident choreographer, Alden Lugnasin.

Audience favorites from this season will be included in the national tour, which will commence once Neo-Filipino ends its run. The tour will feature the Philippine premiere of Vicente Nebrada's "Our Waltzes" and will be brought throughout the country.

As it works toward bringing in new and more audiences for dance, Ballet Philippines allows its longtime (and any new) supporters to be part of its endeavors. The company has long had a Pointe Shoe Fund and a Sponsor-a-dancer Program where supporters can help subsidize dance shoes or the training for company dancers. It also gives perks, such as sneak peeks at rehearsals and invitations to exclusive receptions, to the donors of its annual fund.

BP board member Sofia Zobel Elizalde will chair a black-tie fundraiser titled "New Beginnings Gala" on October 16 at the CCP. The fundraiser will be co-hosted by honorary gala chairperson, Elizabeth Roxas.

For details on shows, call Ballet Philippines (551-0221 or 551-1003) or CCP Box Office (832-1125 loc. 1801-1806). For details on the New Beginnings Gala, call Steps Dance Studio ( 757-2984 or 843-8472).