Umbra 2.0: Women Dancing With Light and Shadow

“PHOSPHORESCENCE. Now there's a word to lift your hat to... to find that phosphorescence, that light within...”
― Emily Dickinson

They’re back – the Umbra artists who capture gradating bolts of light and shadow that spill around women, bringing out their varying but equally captivating shades and shine.  

After a successful exhibit last year in the Queen City of The South, black and white photographers Jan Sunday and Banawe Corvera continue pushing their crusade for art and women forward, crossing regions and taking Umbra 2.0 to the people up in Luzon.

With a new set of photos and the addition of another female Bisaya artist, Gail Gerriane, Umbra 2. 0 does away with regional boundaries to showcase the power and beauty of the Bisaya woman and artistry through a new exhibit which opened yesterday at Quezon City’s Vetro.

“Art is a luxury and responsibility. Whatever we put out for the world to take in from our work is a reflection of ourselves and who we aspire to be,” Jan explains. “And we hope to be a crusade of inspiration for women artists, especially from our region, to go out and exhibit and take great leaps and for photography to gain a deeper appreciation as with fine art. This is a conscious effort to be seen, heard and felt as an artist, as a Bisaya, as a woman and as ourselves. We hope to show the world, with Manila as the jump off, our take on womanhood and fine art photography.”

Promoting self-image awareness and photography as fine art, Jan, Nawe and Gail move to empower women all over through their new b&w collection. 

“The three share the belief that we do what we do, because it's who we are as artists. We simply want to bring the works of Bisaya artists to a relatively new and wider audience, to share what we love doing, and in the process, inspire other women photographers,” Nawe adds. 

Of course, the process wasn’t easy - the three had to go through their own light and shadows. The previous year had thrown all sorts of challenges to the three artists individually, struggles that resulted in artistic growth.

Despite the difficulties of finding subjects to model for the project, Gail was able to come up with her own bold and dynamic set to feature along with the works of Nawe and Jan, Gail’s mentor in art school.  Meanwhile, the hurdles of the prior year had helped Nawe find a new creative spur, opening up a new chapter in the prolific photographer’s life as an artist. 

Through all of obstacles that come along their way, these bold and daring Bisaya artist’s vision for Umbra 2.0 remains the same – to teach women to be their own light.  

Umbra 2.0 is available for viewing at Vetro in Quezon City until March 31. 

Text by: Tiny Diapana
First published in Sunstar Weekend, March 19,2017.