Pacita Barsana Abad (October 5, 1946 – December 7, 2004) was an Ivatan and Filipino-American artist. Her more than 30-year painting career began when she traveled to the United States to undertake graduate studies in Spain. She exhibited her work in over 200 museums, galleries and other venues, including 75 solo shows, around the world. Abad's work is now in public, corporate and private art collections in over 70 countries.

Pacita Abad
Abad in 1990
Pacita Barsana Abad

October 5, 1946
Basco, Batanes, Philippines
DiedDecember 7, 2004(2004-12-07) (aged 58)
Resting placeBasco, Batanes, Philippines
NationalityFilipino, American
EducationCorcoran School of Art
Art Students League of New York
Alma materUniversity of the Philippines Diliman (BA, 1968)
Lone Mountain College (MA, 1972)
Notable workAlkaff Bridge

Early life and education Edit

Batanes, where Pacita was born to a local political family, is the smallest province in the Philippines, with a lone congressional district.

Pacita Barsana Abad was born in Basco, Batanes, on October 5, 1946, the fifth of thirteen children.[1]

From 1949 to 1972, her father, Jorge Abad, represented the lone district of Batanes for a total of five nonconsecutive terms. Her mother, Aurora Abad, served for one term (1966 to 1969) in the same elected position as her husband after he was appointed secretary of public works and highways by President Diosdado Macapagal. The Abad family moved from Batanes to Manila at the end of Jorge's first term.[1][2]

In Manila, Abad attended Legarda Elementary School and Ramon Magsaysay High School.[1]

She graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a bachelor of arts in political science in 1968. The following year, she began graduate law studies at the same institution.[2] During that time, she also began organizing student demonstrations protesting brutal tactics employed in the 1969 general election, including those used in Batanes, where her father was running for another term. Following a demonstration near Malacañang, Abad and several of her fellow student demonstrators met with President Ferdinand Marcos, drawing national media attention to their protest.[3]

The Abad family home in Manila soon became a target of violence and was gunned one evening. Although nobody was harmed, following the incident, Abad was encouraged by her parents to leave the country and continue her law studies in Spain. In 1970, on the way to Europe, she visited an aunt in San Francisco and decided to stay in the United States instead.[2]

While supporting herself as a secretary during the day and a seamstress at night, Abad took up a graduate program in Asian history at Lone Mountain College. After receiving her masters in 1973, she was offered a scholarship to attend the Boalt Law School at the University of California, Berkeley. However, Abad deferred her enrollment after meeting Stanford graduate student Jack Garrity. The two traveled across Asia for a year, including a two-month stay in the Philippines. Upon returning to California, Abad relinquished her law school scholarship and took up painting.[2]

The couple later moved to Washington D.C. and then to New York City, where Abad took up formal painting classes at the Corcoran School of Art and the Art Students League of New York, respectively. At the Art Students League, Abad concentrated on still life, and figurative painting under John Heliker and Robert Beverly Hale.[1][2]

Personal life Edit

In 1971, after Abad first moved to San Francisco, she met and married artist George Kleinmen. They separated shortly after.[2]

In 1973, while at a regional World Affairs Conference in Monterrey, California, Abad met Jack Garrity, then a graduate student at Stanford studying international finance. The two decided to travel across Asia for a year together. They remained together upon returning to the United States.[2] Later on, Garrity's work as a development economist brought the couple to live and travel to over 60 countries.[4]

Abad was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in 1994.[4]

Works Edit

Ati-Atihan (1983). Acrylic on stitched and padded canvass.
Filipina: A racial identity crisis (1990). Acrylic, handwoven cloth, dyed yarn, beads, gold thread on stitched and padded canvass.

Her early paintings were primarily figurative socio-political works of people and primitive masks. Another series was large scale paintings of underwater scenes, tropical flowers and animal wildlife. Pacita's most extensive body of work, however, is her vibrant, colorful abstract work - many very large scale canvases, but also a number of small collages - on a range of materials from canvas and paper to bark cloth, metal, ceramics and glass. Abad created over 4,500 artworks.[5] She painted a 55-meter long Alkaff Bridge in Singapore and covered it with 2,350 multicolored circles, just a few months before she died.

The Painted Bridge. Photo by Ning de Guzman

Abad developed a technique of trapunto painting (named after a quilting technique), which entailed stitching and stuffing her painted canvases to give them a three-dimensional, sculptural effect. She then began incorporating into the surface of her paintings materials such as traditional cloth, mirrors, beads, shells, plastic buttons and other objects

Pacita had also received numerous awards during her artistic career in which her most memorable award was her first. Pacita had received the TOYM Award for Art in the Philippines in 1984.[6] Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) is an award that has always been given to men for the last 25 years until in 1984 where Pacita Abad became the first woman ever to receive this prestigious award. In Pacita receiving this award it had created a public uproar where angry letters sent to editors of published newspapers from men and male artists who thought that they, not Pacita, should have received the award. Despite such uproar Pacita was thrilled that she had broken the sex barrier in which she stated in her acceptance speech that "it was long overdue that Filipina women were recognized, as the Philippines was full of outstanding women" and referred proudly to her mother.

Death Edit

After a three-year battle with lung cancer, Abad died in Singapore on December 7, 2004.[2] She is buried in Batanes, next to her home-and-studio Fundacion Pacita.[1]

Legacy Edit

Pacita Abad's works have been displayed in numerous galleries and museums in the Philippines during the annual Philippine Arts Month and art festivals.[7][8][9]

On July 31, 2020, Abad was commemorated with a Google Doodle.[10]

In 2023, the first major retrospective of Abad was held. The exhibition opened at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, followed by MoMA PS1 in New York, and then the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. It opened as the largest museum exhibit in the United States devoted to an Asian American female artist.[11]

Quote Edit

"I always see the world through colour, although my vision, perspective and paintings are constantly influenced by new ideas and changing environments. I feel like I am an ambassador of colours, always projecting a positive mood that helps make the world smile."[12]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e "About". Pacita Abad Official Website. Archived from the original on April 1, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Miranda, Matthew Villar (2023). "Chronology". In Sung, Victoria (ed.). Pacita Abad. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center. pp. 323–329. ISBN 978-1935963264.
  3. ^ Sung, Victoria (2023). "A Deep Entanglement". In Sung, Victoria (ed.). Pacita Abad. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center. p. 23. ISBN 978-1935963264.
  4. ^ a b Cipolle, Alex V. (April 25, 2023). "Coloring in the Margins: Pacita Abad". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  5. ^ "Pacita Abad: Woman of Color". Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  6. ^ "Pacita Abad: Woman of Color". Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  7. ^ Duque, Mary Jessel. "Pacita Abad: A million times a woman, an artist". Retrieved Jul 31, 2020.
  8. ^ Charm, Neil (2018-06-06). "Pacita Abad: the global Filipino artist who had a million things to say". BusinessWorld. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  9. ^ Manlapig, Marga (Apr 16, 2018). "A Creative Defiance: MCAD features works of Pacita Abad". Tatler Philippines. Retrieved Jul 31, 2020.
  10. ^ Brown, Dalvin (July 31, 2020). "Google Doodle honors Pacita Abad, prized Philippine artist who broke gender barriers". USA TODAY.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Abad, Pio (September 17, 2023). "Pio Abad On Pacita Abad, The Woman Who Lived In Color". Vogue Philippines.
  12. ^ "A Passion to Paint: The Colorful World of Pacita Abad". The World Bank, Art Program Exhibition & Events. Retrieved 2013-04-26.

Further reading Edit

  • Abad, Pacita; Lapid Rodriguez, M Teresa (2001). Palay (rice) : Trapunto murals by Pacita Abad. Upper Montclair, N.J.: Montclair State University Art Galleries. OCLC 48787832.
  • Findlay-Brown, Ian (1996). Pacita Abad: Exploring the Spirit. National Gallery of Indonesia. ISBN 978-979-95029-0-2.
  • Abad, Pacita (1998). Alice Guillermo (ed.). Abstract Emotions. Museum Nasional (Indonesia). ISBN 978-979-95424-0-3.
  • Abad, Pacita (1999). James T. Bennett (ed.). Pacita Abad: Door to Life. Pacita Abad. ISBN 978-979-95029-1-9.
  • Abad, Pacita (2001). Lin, Tay Swee (ed.). Pacita Abad: The Sky is the Limit. Pacita Abad. ISBN 978-981-04-3407-6.
  • Abad, Pacita; Findlay-Brown, Ian (2002). Pacita Abad: Endless Blues. National Gallery of Indonesia. ISBN 978-981-04-7128-6.
  • Abad, Pacita (2003). Cid Reyes (ed.). Pacita Abad: Circles in My Mind. Singapore Tyler Print Institute. ISBN 978-981-04-9418-6.
  • Abad, Pacita (2004). Ian Findlay-Brown; Ruben Defeo (eds.). Obsession. Pacita Abad. ISBN 978-981-05-1549-2.
  • Abad, Pacita (2004). Jack Garrity; Michael Liew (eds.). Pacita's Painted Bridge. Pacita Abad. ISBN 978-981-05-1020-6.

External links Edit