“It all started with a simple idea,” says sculptor Daniel de la Cruz. “I was having a conversation with another artist about the Philippine art scene and we both agreed that prices were getting very expensive and commercialized. We wanted to do something charitable that would counter this but we weren’t certain at first.” After many discussions with other artists and members of the art community, de la Cruz discovered that there was a clear need for the visual arts community to have an organized charitable body that would serve its own members. “Not all artists are commercially successful,” he continues. “Many cannot afford their medical bills and in the past we have only been more reactive to the needs of our peers, scrambling for ways and means to help when needed. We decided that whatever we instituted would have to benefit artists and should help us move from the reactive to proactive in our ability to provide emergency funds.” With this in mind, de la Cruz, together with a board of six other individuals made up of both artists and art patrons, formed Artists Helping Hands earlier this year. The foundation is aimed
Sculptor Daniel de la Cruz sculpted the hands of 24 of his peers for this unusual charity project.
In order to provide seed money for the foundation to operate and begin its mission of service, de la Cruz is spearheading a fundraising exhibition that will take place on September 24 at the Pinto Academy for Arts and Sciences in Antipolo. This exhibit will showcase collaborative works between himself and 23 other active artists: Elmer Borlongan, Plet Bolipata, Pam Yan-Santos, John Santos, Johnny Alcazaren, Max Balatbat, Renz Baluyot, Zean Cabangis, Mariano Ching, Alfredo Esquillo, Manny Garibay, Renato Habulan, JC Jacinto, Romeo Lee, Ferdie Montemayor, Raffy Napay, Veronica Pee, Christina Quisumbing Ramilo, Arturo Sanchez, Soler Santos, Yasmin Sison, Hamilton Sulit, and Reg Yuson.
Well-versed in using a wide range of art materials, de la Cruz approached each of the aforementioned artists with the idea of creating molds for their hands. The resulting sculpture would serve as a launching point for further artistic exploration and collaboration between himself and each other artists, Once completed, a series of 12 sculptures by each of the artists would be produced. With 12 works from 24 artists, 288 pieces will be exhibited and put for sale along with three more individual sculptures made by each artist, bringing the total number of works for 360. To be sold in lots, interested individuals will have the opportunity to buy a single set of six different sculptures from various artists, carefully assembled by the foundation’s board members, taking into consideration the artistic style and the maturity of the artists.
“If you collect an artist’s paintings or sculptures, wouldn’t you want a copy of the artist’s hands? That is where they come from,” de la Cruz points out. Highlighting the artists’ unique ideas and generosity toward this foundation, each piece of work emphasizes their desire to reach out to the visual arts community and their success with his foundation is definitely something to look forward to in the future. “I have gained tremendous personal insight from this project in how different artists work and think differently and I hope they share that sentiment,” continues de la Cruz. “But the true again for all of us is the opportunity to be able to be part of something that will live beyond our individual careers. This is our legacy to our community.”
September 24, Pinto Art Museum, 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights Road, Antipolo, Rizal, 697.1015.
This story was originally published in the September 2017 issue of Town&Country.