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How This Artist Rose Above Her Experience from Sexual Abuse

Meet Sarah Geneblazo.
How This Artist Rose Above Her Experience from Sexual Abuse
IMAGE Courtesy of Blanc Gallery and Sarah Geneblazo
Meet Sarah Geneblazo.

Artist Sarah Geneblazo describes her work as “realistic, contemporary, feminist and personal.” “My works are personal, and the personal is political.” Sarah suffered from sexual abuse near her home, and through her dark and poignant paintings, she seeks to remove the pain of the event and considers the exhibition of her work as therapy. “I showcase my personal experience by juxtaposing it with other female experiences in society. People see themselves in my work; how women are treated and how they are able to come out and cure themselves of their traumatic past. Art helps people to heal, and maybe that’s my contribution as a woman and as an artist,” she says.

Sarah was, among other things, a finalist in the PLDT-DPC National Art Competition in 2010, and placed first in the Department of Agrarian Reform Mural Painting Contest in 2006 in Lipa City, Batangas, the prize of which helped her pay her tuition during her first year in UP Diliman. She was also able to showcase her work abroad and in Art Fair Philippines 2016, plus a solo exhibit in West Gallery.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Sarah lives and breathes art, drawing strength from her experiences and roots in Angono, Rizal. “I am a woman artist, an art teacher, cultural worker and the eldest daughter of seven siblings; I support my family through art,” she says. “Art is my soul, without it I am a waste, plus it is also my personal diary. It helps me heal my past and start again.”

IMAGE Courtesy of Blanc Gallery and Sarah Geneblazo

 

Wretched Body From the Fear of the Unknown exhibit, Blanc Gallery 60x60 inches Oil on canvas 2015 

Sarah explains her photo studies, an essential component of her creative practice: “My art process involves going outdoors for a photo shoot—I take random shots in any place. I then take a photo of myself as the model for the photo study, and combine both images through Photoshop. Then, I grid the image and paint it on the canvas using oil paints. Sometimes when I paint, I don’t copy exactly what’s on the photo study, I recreate some of the images.”

IMAGE Courtesy of Blanc Gallery and Sarah Geneblazo

“I borrowed the images for the Fear of the Unknown exhibit from Filipino mountaineer/ photographer Julius Paner. I first saw them on TV, and found the photographer through Facebook and asked him regarding the place and if I could borrow his photographs and use them in my paintings, and he said yes. This place is in White Peak, Compostela Valley, Davao.”

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IMAGE Courtesy of Blanc Gallery and Sarah Geneblazo

Sarah isn’t a mountaineer, but she found a way to situate herself in a treacherous environment that alludes to her experience as a sexual abuse victim. She took a photo of herself and combined it with Julius Paner’s image, resulting in a painting that speaks of her “journey of entering the terror of a wild woodland and the fear of not finding my way back.”

This article was originally published in Preview December 2015-January 2016. 

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