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Between Palm Springs and Bacolod City

Even before the hard lockdown, Dr. Orlando Canlas and local artist Tey Sevillano were busy looking for a space to make into a gallery and studio for artists. Their goal was to make an art collective that can help the community have a sustainable income while practicing their craft.

Artfull Gallery is now open at the Montelibano Apartments in Lacson-18th Streets. Home to creators of art, the gallery will also house a café lounge, collab shop, workshop spaces, and artists’ studio.

I call Dr. Canlas “Obee” since I’ve met him way back when he was opening his Angel Burgers’ franchise in the island, together with his hubby Peter Meehan. A 24-hour coffeeshop diner was later added to the business. Then, after settling in a new home in Eroreco Subdivision, I lost track of them since I was busy travelling back and forth to Paris. I would see a post or two of them enjoying Palm Springs in the US but that was about it.

Masked (l-r) Dr. Obee Canlas, Chita Reyes, and Coffee Culture’s Thomas Sproten; middle photo, millennials Pio and Jamie came in their fashion gear; right, AAB-N artists*
Bacolod’s Artfull Gallery + Cafe at Lacson Street*
Artfull Gallery’s resident artists (from left) Tey Sevillano, Vicky Jasper, Dr. Orlando Canlas, Maymay Camarines, Beto Tiano, and Ramon de los Santos*

And then, I got a call from Obee, saying that he’s in town and would like to invite me to the opening of this art gallery.

Well, Dahlinks, I’m quite impressed with what I’ve seen in this Artfull Gallery. I was given a whirlwind tour by Obee himself since I was finicky with crowds in air-con environments and wanted to leave immediately after taking some society photos. I was introduced to the five other resident artists besides Dr. Canlas himself, who is into fluid acrylics and resin art. There was Tey Sevilleno (mosaics, watercolours, printmaking), Vicky Gaspar (oil, acrylics, pastels), Beto Tiano (abstracts in watercolors and acrylics), Ramon De Los Santos (sculpture), and Mayday Camarines (pastels, oil, portraits).

Unlike the usual “avant-garde” galleries that dominate Bacolod’s art scene, I was treated to a lot of old style Amorsolo-inspired pieces in oil on canvas. I also found refreshing the bucolic works that reflect nature which is threatened now by the world’s climate change.

Unmasked coosome twosome; middle, Dr. Canlas’ installation “1,000 wings”; right, “Kite Builder” oil on canvas by Maymay Camarines*
Tey Sevilleno mosaic “Sway”; middle, Rodney Martinez’s “Flowers and Ferns” pastel; right, “Transporter” oil on canvas by Maymay Camarines*
Ramon De Los Santos’ terra cotta bas relief on acrylic-painted canvas “Tumbang Preso”*

Dr. Orlando Canlas has been living in between Palm Springs, California and Bacolod City for the past 15 years. A retired dentist, Dr. Obee helped artists in Bacolod by supporting events, such as ArteKalye, the Art Association of Bacolod-Negros, and the AAB-N Gallery and Café at the Art District.

I’m optimistic of what Artfull Gallery will serve in their café and shop. They plan to support local producers of coffee, breads, and vegetables. The shop has already started selling merchandises like bags, masks, and mugs with artworks. Thank you, Obee, for giving Bacolod another facet in showcasing art!

My Prayer: Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Psalm 73:23-24, NIV*

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October 2022

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