Published On: Tue, Aug 6th, 2019

Conchitina Sevilla-Bernardo: Empowered passion for painting

Share This
Tags

Published 1:00 PM, August 06, 2019

Updated 1:00 PM, August 06, 2019

GILDED GRAPHITE. Conchitina Bernardo holds her first solo exhibit. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

GILDED GRAPHITE. Conchitina Bernardo holds her first solo exhibit. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

Conchitina Sevilla Bernardo has been on the Executive Committee of Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) for many years – during which hundreds of Filipina beauty queens were under their tutelage. Today, pageants celebrate the empowered woman who breaks the stereotype and the norm. And in many ways, Bernardo was ahead of her time in being an empowered woman replete with the social graces and refinement admired by many.

Queens need to look no further for an inspiration of strength, determination and passion. Her “Gilded Graphite” Solo Exhibit held last July 27 at the Frabella Corporate Center is a testament to the iron clad will power of this woman coupled with masterful strokes of an artistic angel.

OPENING. Conchitina Bernardo opens her solo exhibit, with support from Stella Araneta and Betsy Westerndorp-Brias. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

OPENING. Conchitina Bernardo opens her solo exhibit, with support from Stella Araneta and Betsy Westerndorp-Brias. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

Looking at her artwork, it may seem like Bernardo has always had the golden touch. But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the journey to get there was anything but golden.

She recalled a time when her Chinese teacher told her to look for another hobby – short of saying she had no talent. But true talent can never be suppressed. It eventually found its outlet when she met her mentor, Fidel Sarmiento, President of the Art Association of the Philippines.

About four years ago, she was diagnosed with a heart condition and had to get a pacemaker. Although this was a life-saving operation, it also meant changes in her lifestyle.

She said, “Three years ago, I was very low. I had just had surgery in my heart. I had a pacemaker implanted and I somehow wandered around Sunshine Place and saw Fidel. I asked Fidel, ‘Maestro, matuturuan niyo ba ako?”

Sarmiento replied, “Every human being has an artist inside of him. It’s just a question of bring it out.”

Bernardo then gestures to the numerous paintings behind and as her proud mentor looks on and says, “Look what Fidel has done for me in just three years. Maestro, maraming salamat.”

Divine intervention

Bernardo shared that like any convent-educated girl, she still practices Lenten sacrifice. During one lenten season, Bernardo decided to give up painting as her lenten sacrific because she loved it so much.

While most cheat with a cup of rice of a bite of chocolate during the fasting season, Bernardo spoke to God. She asked if she could at least sketch using graphite and finished it with gold, copper, and silver leaf she brought back from Spain.

Upon finishing a painting, she took it to Fidel Sarmiento who told her: “Yan ang magiging style ng painting mo.” That is how Bernardo’s gilded graphite drawings came into being.

Beyond art

Bernardo’s artwork is much more than the confines of the frames and on the canvas – it’s about the passion that travels from her her fingers onto canvas. It’s about the love for family and friends who have given her support and encouragement.

During her opening remarks she said, “This is a gathering of people that mean a lot to me.”

Her in laws, Francis and Bella Tiu-Laurel, graciously hosted the her first solo exhibit at the Frabella Corporate Center, Salcedo Village Makati. She was joined by her closest friends Betsy Westerndorp-Brias, a celebrated and well-known artist, and Mrs. Stella Marquez Araneta, BPCI Chairperson.

SUPPORT. Conchitina Bernardo Stella Araneta and Betsy Westerndorp-Brias during the exhibit. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

SUPPORT. Conchitina Bernardo Stella Araneta and Betsy Westerndorp-Brias during the exhibit. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

Bernardo said that as long as their schedules are free, they meet every other Thursday. “We not only paint, we have merienda, we gossip, we chatter, and she gives us pointers on how to make our canvasses better.”

There is beauty created beyond the artwork. Upon finding out her artwork would be exhibited, Bernardo’s daughters, Lia, Faye and Liza, decided to take charge of the event. Bernardo said, “They actually cocooned me. They put their arms around me and said ‘Mom, you have a bad heart. So we’re taking over. We’re going to do this exhibit for you.’ Look at the marvelous job that they’ve done.”

FAMILY IN ATTENDANCE. Bernardo with her family, who took time to support the exhibit. Photo by from Lia Bernardo

FAMILY IN ATTENDANCE. Bernardo with her family, who took time to support the exhibit. Photo by from Lia Bernardo

Lastly, she thanked her husband, saying: “And of course, my ever present, ever supportive, ever… whatever… husband of 53 years, thank you.”

Passion and purpose

Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados, shares the same elderly care advocacy as does Bernardo. Ganados was excited to be able to celebrate Bernardo’s personal accomplishment as an artist. She was described the paintings as “radical yet vulnerable. Powerful and at the same time, fragile.” She also said that, “It’s very heartwarming to know that the proceeds will help the elderly. Mrs. Bernardo is an inspiration.”

 QUEEN. Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados poses by one of Bernardo's paintings. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/ Rappler

QUEEN. Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados poses by one of Bernardo’s paintings. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/ Rappler

All of Bernardo’s artwork were sold out during the exhibit. Unfortunately for people who may have wanted to see these works of art in person, the opportunity has passed. However, this is great news for the San Lorenzo Ruiz Home for the Elderly where Bernardo has chosen to donate all the proceeds. This elderly care facility takes care of displaced elderly with dementia and it is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

During one of her visits, she told one of the nuns, “Cleaning a child is quite not agreeable but cleaning up an old person is very disagreeable.’ The nun replied, ‘When I clean them, I think I am cleaning Jesus’ wounds.”

ENDANGERED. The Visayan Spotted deer Fawn and the Cebu Flower Pecker.

ENDANGERED. The Visayan Spotted deer Fawn and the Cebu Flower Pecker.

LIGHT. Bernardo's painting of 'Let there be light.'

LIGHT. Bernardo’s painting of ‘Let there be light.’

Very seldom do people find their passion and pursue it. Bernardo has proven that critics, health issues, age, or any reason for that matter should never hinder one from pursuing one’s passion. And should you be given the opportunity to pursue it, you must also make sure that there is a bigger purpose other than personal gain.

BEAUTIES IN ATTENDANCE. The 2019 Bb Pilipinas queens attend the opening of the exhibit to show support to Bernardo. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

BEAUTIES IN ATTENDANCE. The 2019 Bb Pilipinas queens attend the opening of the exhibit to show support to Bernardo. Photo by Voltaire Tayag/Rappler

We hope that this sold out solo exhibit inspires Bernardo to go back to her studio and create more masterpieces. — Rappler.com

Voltaire has 10 years experience in the fashion industry. He previously worked with a luxury clothing and accessories brand in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated magna cum laude from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, major in Fashion Design. He also holds a BS in Applied Economics and BS in Marketing from DLSU. He is now doing real estate but finds ample spare time to pursue his passions.

Source link

About the Author