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“It’s in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it.” Thus said Nelson Mandela, the South African anti- apartheid activist and philanthropist. These words, borne from a lifetime of experience, has inspired countless others around the world to lend a helping hand, no matter how humble, to the less fortunate. Hands, after all, are humanity’s symbol of doing, of taking action, of work. Hands are the first to lift up the downtrodden and the helpless; and hands, of course, are the active instruments of healing….and of creation.


To heal. To create. The providential confluence of these two noble human acts – one ministering to the physical body; the other, to the fulfillment of the imaginative spirit – was the driving force behind the formation of The Visual Arts Helping Hands Foundation, Inc. Envisioned as a fund-giving body, the Foundation, as its first task, aims to giving a helping hand to the medical needs – with special emphasis on emergency situations – to the members of the artistic community. Moreover, the Foundation will extend its scope of assistance to other needy sectors of society. This year’s beneficiary is The Center for Possibilities Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that aims to be a sanctuary for special children and their families.


In May 2016, artist Daniel dela Cruz started with an initial invitation to Elmer Borlongan and Plet Bolipata to help him give shape and reality to an ardent advocacy and the means to achieve it: a fund-raising art exhibition. The artists’ community being a small circle of kindred spirits, such was the surge of interest and the ensuing offers to participate that the number of artists finally reached twenty four: Juan Alcazaren, Max Balatbat, Renz Baluyot, Zean Cabangis, Mariano Ching, Alfredo Esquillo, Emmanuel Garibay, Renato Habulan, JC Jacinto, Romeo Lee, Ferdie Montemayor, Raffy Napay, Veronica Pee, Christina Quisumbing Ramilo, Arturo Sanchez, José Santos III, Pam Yan-Santos, Soler Santos, Yasmin Sison, Kim Hamilton Sulit and Reg Yuson.


As befits the name of the Foundation, the concept of the exhibition is centered on…. human hands! As a novel idea the casting of the artist’s hands were used to serve as the pivotal vessel of meaning, message, and medium. The hand is the fulcrum upon which each artist must articulate and convey – in sculptural, and not just painterly, terms – the essence of each artist’s art, with all its distinguishing style and character.


The outcome is nothing short of a revelation: expressively mobile and eloquent, the unique hands, singly or in pair, gestured in poses triggered and impelled by a specific motive or emotion, each seemingly in the grip of disquiet or ecstasy, terror or guilt, joy or desolation.


All their collective works will be presented in an exhibition and sale, billed as Helping Hands: Chapter 1. It will be held at the Pinto Academy in Antipolo, from September 24 to October 8, 2017. The event serves as the formal launch of the Visual Arts Helping Hands Foundation, Inc. A Board of Directors, consisting of well-respected art collectors, Joven R. Cuanang M.D., Patricia Maria C. Lopa, Miguel S. Tomacruz, and Jonathan T. Que, alongside artists Daniel Anthony A. dela Cruz, Emmanuel R. Garibay, and Reginald R. Yuson shall oversee the activities and projects of the Foundation.


Despite the prevailing commercialism that is said to distinguish the art scene today, a spirit of generosity, selflessness, and civic-consciousness still exists among the artists’ community. Truly they have never lost sight of humanity’s single mission on earth, addressed to each younger generation: we must leave it a better place than when we lived in it.


Cid Reyes

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