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|Arte visual y poes’a: Brazos abiertos de Paulina Constancia! /|
Andrea Gallo, Revista Filipina
English translation by Carolina Lemay
Carolina Lemay is a Guatemalan-Canadian professor of the Spanish language based in England
Brazos abiertos is the title of the first published book in 2003, Canada, by the Cebuan artist Paulina Constancia (Cebu, 1970). It is a collection of bilingual poems Spanish-English. As other contemporary Filipino authors, amongst them Lozada and Farolán, Constancia has also chosen to express herself in her first literary work in the two European languages of her country. This has allowed her to conjugate the desire to be understood by her national public, without giving up that intimate language, that one that is more sentimental: the Spanish language, the language of the 'grandparents' as it is seen by every Filipino.
Differently from other authors from the archipelago whose mother tongue is Spanish, Paulina, who lives between the Philippines (Cebu) and Canada (Toronto), has rediscovered in Spanish her expressing power and her ability to sing the Filipino soul after a stay abroad, due to artistic reasons, a kind of 'self creative exile' as she has defined i,t in Mexico in 1999. That circumstance allowed her the opportunity of immersing herself in a complete Spanish speaking context. Paulina has as well, had the possibility to recuperate something proper of her own cultural tradition, this meaning, that Latin vitality that represents a substantial feature and typical of the vision of the world as a Latinoamerican as well as a Filipino.
From those experiences, human first than artistic, the collection of poems Brazos Abiertos was born. It contains thirty poems of different lengths, all of them in free verse, the volume divided in four sections (Alegrías sencillas, Sobre la naturaleza, Vida y muerte y Cosas de amor) collects texts written between the years 1997 and 2002. The form is essential, the rhythm of the verses is in prose, informal, the style is different from any other rhetoric form; the highlight of this collection is a lyricism naif that celebrates the small aspects of life, in fact, Brazos abiertos tries to be a naive, but sincere song to life, a celebration to the simple experiences and those of the day to day existence, after all, poetry is that "bunch of words" that can only stop "for one moment that beloved being".
However, there is no doubt that this small and interesting book can not be appreciated completely without considering the contribution of the other art that encourages the activities of Paulina and that is the main vocation of our writer. Constancia, in fact, is an Artist, she does visual arts, mainly paintings with acrylic, but she doesn't leave aside other techniques; all her work is about representing the emotions of life, it is about communicating them and recalling them. The genesis of this text is not only the verbal expression, this text was born with the firm intention of "accompanying my paintings" completely. A complete art, an old and a modern idea at the same time. According to this idea, the variety of techniques and the different arts melt together and they complement each other to obtain a single result, that is the total communication with the reader/audience. Brazos Abiertos is therefore, an intimate and poetic diary in which poems, thought for every painting-illustration show the soul, "the deepest of myself". Paulina's work, poetic and visual, is like a rainbow that shows all her diversity and "range of emotions"; and in this complete verbal and picturesque work, Spanish stands out as another colourful and decorative element and the crystal lightness: “...en medio de las flores aparecieron/ maravillas aladas de cada color y encanto” .
All the graphic work of Paulina is intensively human, its round forms, vibrant colours and over elaborate atmospheres represent a natural landscape;it is exuberant an in it the human figure stands out as the most perfect synthesis of that harmonic nature. “Como un caleidoscopio,/ la vida está llena de pedazos/ de vidrios de colores que reflejan/ un espéctaculo de imágenes./ Aprecia el caleidoscopio que es tu vida/ ¡Siempre vela a la luz!” .
The title Brazos Abiertos exemplifies well the whole art of Constancia, in which the human figure never appears represented alone, but always together with its double in the most tender gesture existent, the hug: the hug of a mother to its child, the hug of two lovers, the kiss of a couple, the hug of friends. This art-poem, with certain taste naif, is an interesting example of synthesis between ethnic translation and an academic one.
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