Culture and the Arts Diaspora News

Two Pamana ng Lahi visual artists respectively doing solo in Los Angeles and PH

Fil-Am artist Johnny Esj Otilano in front of his works at Erehwon Gallery in Quezon City.

TWO visual artists who participated in the Pamana ng Lahi art exhibition during the Filipino American Heritage month in the United States recently got themselves solo shows here in Los Angeles and in the Philippines.

Here in Los Angeles, 65-year-old unconventional artist Sal Floriano, better known as Sal Budhz, brought out his full collection of his so-called “Tawas Series” at the Vape Goat Gallery at 5054 York Boulevard.

I think I was able to build up this collection for about two years,” Sal Budhz told reporters during the exhibit’s opening night last January 13.

His works, which included several pieces of sculptures, will be on display at the gallery until February 8.

The sculptures, according to Sal Budhz, has been gathering dust in his backyard.

Nilinisan ko uli para maisali,” he said smiling.

The artist created the sculptures when he was still working for Tiled Guild Incorporated and later for Jeffrey Tiles Company, where he stayed for more than ten years.

Nagulat ‘yung boss ko nung makita niya ang mga iyan (tile sculptures). Hindi niya akalain na magiging ganyan kaganda ‘yung mga scrap,” Sal Budhz narrated.

Hollywood actor John Savage (middle) shares a light moment with Fil-Am artist Sal Budhz Floriano and wife. Photo by Abner Galino

The Tawas Series Artworks are pieces made with sand, colors and mixed media on canvas. Budhz said he used fine red sand from Utah. He pours them on the canvas while beating a brush to form images.

Salbudhz has a fine arts degree from the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) in Manila. But while here he took classes in ceramics at Pasadena City College and sculpture at Mount San Antonio College to improve his artistic skills.

Meanwhile, another Pamana ng Lahi participant artist Johnny Esj. Otilano is also in the middle of his first solo show in the Philippines at the Erehwon Center for Arts at Villa Beatriz Subdivision, Old Balara, Quezon City.

The show is titled, My Old Guitar Series, is a collection of mixed art canvasses revolving around the theme of the artist’s worn-out guitar that his mother gifted to him.

My works that revolve around my old guitar depict my emotional and mental journey here in the US as an immigrant,” Johnny explained.

In 2013, his work “My Old Guitar” received Margaret Hudson Choice and the People’s Choice Award at the Pink Show here in the US.

Eccentric in his art, Johnny’s works, aside their old guitar theme, mostly contained what appeared like an “all-seeing” eye.

He explained it as: “The eye on my paintings symbolize my Father when he got into an accident as an overseas worker in Saudi Arabia he lost his right eye. Since then I started putting one eye on my paintings as a tribute for my hardworking Father. I would like to thank him for where I am now, for everything he taught me and for everything he had done for me.

Aside from being a visual artist, Johnny is also a singer and songwriter. He earned a bachelor’s degree on Fine Arts from Feati University in Manila, majoring in advertising design.

Sal Budz and Johnny were part of 10 artists who participated in the first Pamana ng Lahi art exposition at the Filipino Cultural Center on Temple Street in the Historic Filipinotown Los Angeles.

The Pamana ng Lahi was jointly organized by the Philippine Institute of Language, Arts and Culture (PILAC) and the Filipino American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA) as part of the month-long celebration in October of the annual Filipino American Heritage Month in the US.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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