Ms. Rosalie preparing a pre-activity of the life map artwork
“Eagle, kasi nakaklipad siya at natatanaw niya lahat ng bagay. Gaya niya, gusto ko rin matanaw ang mundo”, says Cokie, a 15-year old Sendong survivor, when asked what his life symbol is.
Just like Cokie, most artists take inspiration from one's dreams and aspirations to create masterful art pieces. That is why Ms. Rosalie Zerrudo, facilitator of the Arts and Handicrafts, Environment and Art Workshop held at Xavier Ecoville on August 11 to 13, opens her sessions by encouraging her participants to share pieces of their life story among one another.
“Your story is your legacy to the world”, she says -- a legacy worth sharing through art forms.
The participants take pieces of scrap cloth to create artworks with the following themes: life before, during and after Sendong. As they stitch and cut, they share their individual experiences- some with a dose of drama, some with a punch of humor. A mother shares the tragic tale of losing her 8-year old daughter; another woman shares of her new found friends at an evacuation center.
Lives intertwined. Individual stories made one.
Meanwhile, the younger participants are making mandala artworks, a type of artwork expressing what is within a person and manifesting it outside, through a communal and concrete artwork. As they share their life symbols to the group and make their mark in the mandala art, they get a better grip of the meaning of one’s life experiences -- such as that of Sendong and its relation to the environment.
The children and youth now take organic materials and create pictures of birds, trees, mountains and people as they interpret an environmental story through their own artworks. The activity, called Kanta-Storya, speak of their relationship with Mother Earth and how human race can both be the destroyer and savior of the Earth’s existence.
With what they have been through coupled with their inventive nature, they are able to create works of art that both unleashed their artistic skills and deepened their appreciation for the environment. Through the art workshop, they are able to share their community’s story – a story of environmental respect, healing, and a hope for a brighter future.
At the end of the workshops, the participants created a life tapestry, a mandala art and other artworks bearing the story of their community. The shapes and colors spoke of their rich history, their hopeful present and their bright future.
Through art, Cokie’s life story and those of the other participants can now fly like an eagle. They can reach other communities and inspire people with their sense of hope and resilience.
The art workshops are initiated by the Xavier University (XU) Center for Culture and Arts’ Sining Galing: The Xavier Ecoville Arts program for the Youth. It will run from August to November this year. The program also offers recurring workshops on: cultural dance, children and teen’s theater, guitar, teen chorale, photography, visual arts and storytelling.
It involves the XU students, giving them an opportunity to reach out to the Sendong survivors by sharing their artistic talents and skills. These students who are also official talents of the XU Center for Culture and Arts help the community’s youth find their artistic side so they can creatively express their emotions and tell their stories to the world.
The program aims to provide the youth with a venue for healing through art therapy, to develop appreciation for culture and arts and to introduce them to possible livelihood ventures from their handmade products.
Catch the Sining Galing showcase in the university-wide celebration of the XU Festival Days to take place on November. Come and enjoy the participants’ proud display of their artistic spectacle and be a part of their victorious story as survivors.
Xavier Ecoville is the XU-led resettlement site for Sendong survivors in Brgy. Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro City.