By LINDA MICHAEL
Racquel Gabuya is a multimedia visual communicator whose focus is in both traditional and digital artwork. She is a San Diego based artist, designer, and higher-learning educator. As an alumna of the University of Oregon with a master’s of fine arts and 15 years’ experience in academia, Gabuya had the privilege to inspire and mentor new upcoming designers to hone their skills and pursue their passions. Now, her focus as a seasoned designer is helping new and small businesses with their corporate branding.
Gabuya’s artwork honors her heritage and women’s contributions to society. It has been displayed in both the United States and the Philippines.
“Memory: Quotidian Life” is Gabuya’s current creative collection of paintings. These curated works depict her memories of the everyday ordinary way of life in the Philippines. They draw from the warm energy of the Philippine culture, capturing her emotional and spiritual link to the people and places of her homeland. She reminisced and revisited these treasured locales to recreate in her artwork the busy urban market streets and lush, tropical barrio landscapes. The subject matter of her work is closely related to historical records, archives, family anecdotes, and her personal memories living in the Philippines.
This collection captures the essence and energy of those who live the time-honored traditions of working under the sun. Filipinos are communal people as a whole and most of their livelihoods are passed down through the generations. This is exhibited in works with Filipinas tending “sari-sari” market stalls, selling farm produce and common home goods to support their families. Creating colorful and fun artworks of that nostalgic time has allowed Gabuya to view ordinary life through a romantic lens, transforming the mundane into the extraordinary.
Her works are often classified as part of the new romantic movement due to her desire to showcase the local traditional lives of Filipinos in a quickly unfolding modern and globalized world. This is intentional, as she wants to spotlight the simple living of most Filipino families and the happiness she recalls growing up. Through this new collection of artwork, Gabuya focuses on establishing a link between the landscape’s reality and her imagination. By referencing Filipino romanticism, symbolism and their vernacular, she weaves a narrative that unites the past and the present.
Racquel Gabuya’s artwork will be featured at the Foothills Gallery from Sept. 6 to Oct. 2.
The Foothills Gallery, located at 4910 Memorial Drive in La Mesa, is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call the gallery at 619-464-7167.
— Linda Michael is the editor of Footnotes, the monthly newsletter of the Foothills Art Association.