“Agatha Brenica: Capturing Serenity and Tranquility through Her Art”
By Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo
“We can find beauty in the delicate intricacy of Art.” Let me introduce to you our next very talented Global Pinoy Visual Artist, Professor Agatha Brenica who is already making a name, thanks to her captivating and alluring Dotism Art!
According to Agatha: “Through the act of Mandala painting, I am gifted with a channel to externalize what often lies within, whether it be the vibrant hues of joy or the shadows of despair. It is within the circular canvas of the Mandala that I find solace and a sanctuary for the turbulence of my feelings. The repetitive, meditative process of crafting intricate patterns allows me to navigate and make sense of my inner world.”
She creates a cascade of eye-catching masterpieces which do not only make heads turn but also leaves a sense of tranquility and calmness the minute one lingers his stare into her paintings. Agatha tells us that she began her Mandala Art creations during the onset of the pandemic when she embarked on what she calls a “transformative journey” by embracing the art of Mandala. Furthermore, she claims that her newly found passion served not only as a creative outlet but also became her source of strength- truly beyond Mandala!
The kaleidoscopic visual symphony she created through her signature art style Dotism captivated many as Agatha continues to showcase her art pieces in several art exhibits in the metro which are all well-attended by both art enthusiasts and art collectors.
She was recognized at the “Gateway Art Fair 2” held last October 5-8, 2023, at the Quantum Skyway Gateway 2 as having the bestselling artworks for the said art exhibition.
Brenica is the President of “Ka-Manlilikha” which means “co-creators” in English. This thriving creative sisterhood continues to make waves, representing the vibrant spirit of Quezon Province and the power of collaboration among women artists in the Philippines.
Our Featured Global Pinoy Visual Artist studied took up BS Nutrition as her Bachelor’s course at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna. She also taught Humanities and Arts in Sacred Heart College, Lucena City. After obtaining her graduate school degrees, she started teaching graduate students at the University of University of Perpetual Help Graduate School Dalta in Las Pinas.
Get to know more about her in our enlightening and inspiring interview with her:
1. How do you define art?
Answer: In my view, art is a means of exploring the boundless possibilities of human imagination and perception. It has the power to evoke emotions, provoke thought, challenge norms, and inspire change. It transcends cultural and linguistic barriers, allowing people from different backgrounds to connect on a profound level through the universal language of creativity. Ultimately, art is a reflection of the human spirit and the capacity to bring beauty and meaning to the world.
- Describe your signature art style.
Answer: My artistic style is a form of expression known as Dotism, a term that, though not yet widely recognized in the art world, finds its roots in the technique of Pointillism. Dotism, as I practice it, centers on the intricate and deliberate use of dots as the foundational building blocks for creating visually captivating and evocative images.
Similar to the Pointillist approach, Dotism emphasizes the meticulous placement of individual dots, each carefully chosen in terms of color, size, and placement. By layering and arranging these dots with precision, the artist achieves a remarkable interplay of light, color, and texture. This results in an art form that invites viewers to step closer and explore the composition from various angles, revealing a deeper level of complexity and intricacy upon closer inspection.
While Dotism may not yet be a mainstream term, it is a captivating and innovative artistic style that speaks to the power of patient, deliberate craftsmanship. It offers artists a unique canvas for creating captivating visual experiences and engaging viewers in a dialogue that transcends traditional artistic boundaries.
- How has Art affected your life?
Answer: Art serves as my canvas for the expression of the complex tapestry of my emotions, thoughts, and life experiences. In my creative journey, the practice of Mandala painting holds a particularly therapeutic and transformative place, as it becomes a valuable tool for processing and coping with the spectrum of my emotions, including the negative ones.
Through the act of Mandala painting, I am gifted with a channel to externalize what often lies within, whether it be the vibrant hues of joy or the shadows of despair. It is within the circular canvas of the Mandala that I find solace and a sanctuary for the turbulence of my feelings. The repetitive, meditative process of crafting intricate patterns allows me to navigate and make sense of my inner world.
In the face of negative emotions such as anxiety, sorrow, or frustration, Mandala painting serves as a steadfast companion, gently guiding me towards a state of calm and introspection. It becomes a conduit for transformation, helping me transmute my pain into beautiful, harmonious designs, akin to the transformation I seek within myself.
- Among the art exhibitions you had, which one is the most memorable and why?
Answer: My first solo at The Farm in San Benito, entitled “Beyond Mandala,” will remain an unforgettable and dream-come-true experience. The Farm in San Benito has held a special place in my heart as my preferred wellness resort since 2009. The fact that something truly remarkable transpired for me on September 2, 2023, took me by surprise. Even now, my artworks from that event are proudly displayed and available for sale at their boutique.
- Talk about one favorite artwork of yours and your inspiration behind it.
Answer: I have an array of cherished artworks in my collection, but there’s one that holds a uniquely profound place in my heart. Titled “Dear John,” it stands at 5×5 feet, rendered in acrylics and embellished with glistening crystals. What sets it apart is not just its visual appeal, but the deep, emotional significance it carries.
Created in April 2023, “Dear John” serves as a heartfelt tribute to a dear friend who departed from this world in March of the same year. The loss of this special individual left a void in my life, and I found it incredibly challenging to come to terms with his absence. In response to this profound grief, I embarked on a creative journey, seeking to encapsulate the essence of his kind and cheerful personality within the confines of a canvas.
Unlike my previous works, which often bear titles imbued with positivity and mental wellness, “Dear John” diverges from this tradition. It serves as a melancholic yet beautiful representation of the emotions and memories that my late friend continues to evoke. Through a somber and introspective lens, this artwork becomes a vessel for my grief and a means to commemorate the enduring impact of a cherished friend.
- Who are your art influences and why do you look up to them?
Answer: I have a deep admiration for the artistic styles of both Yayoi Kusama and Frida Kahlo, each of whom possesses a unique and captivating approach to their craft.
Kusama is particularly celebrated for her unique and immersive art installations characterized by a repetition of patterns, polka dots, and bold, vibrant colors. Her art is deeply rooted in her personal experiences and struggles with mental health, and she has often used her work as a form of self-therapy and self-expression.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter known for her distinctive and highly personal style of art. Much of her art reflects her personal struggles, and she often depicted her physical and emotional pain in her paintings.
- When did you start creating Mandala Art?
Answer: During the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I embarked on a transformative journey by embracing the art of mandala painting. This practice has become an integral part of my daily routine, harmoniously intertwined with my yoga and meditation sessions. It has proven to be a powerful tool for my mental and emotional well-being, providing a sanctuary of solace during a time of anxiety and depression.
My mandala painting sessions have evolved into a therapeutic ritual that offers me a sense of purpose and tranquility. The act of meticulously crafting intricate patterns within the circular canvas mirrors the inner peace and balance I am striving to achieve within myself.
This newfound passion has not only been a creative outlet but a source of strength and resilience. The repetitive nature of mandala creation serves as a meditative experience, calming my racing thoughts and anchoring me to the present moment. It has allowed me to regain control over my mind, soothing the turbulent seas of anxiety and depression.
As I navigate the labyrinth of colors, shapes, and designs, I find myself embracing a profound sense of mindfulness. The rhythmic strokes of my paintbrush allow me to express my inner emotions, transforming them into vibrant, harmonious patterns. In doing so, I’m gradually shedding the weight of my struggles and embracing the lightness of the present.
Mandalas have become a symbol of my personal transformation. They remind me that, just like the concentric circles I paint, my inner self is a continuous journey towards self-discovery and healing. They stand as a testament to my resilience in the face of adversity and my capacity to transform pain into beauty.
- Do you believe that art heals? Why?
Answer:Painting mandalas is not just creating an artwork; it has different symbolism and contexts:
- Painting mandalas can serve as a form of meditation. The intricate patterns and repetitive nature of creating a mandala can induce a meditative state of mind, promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and mental clarity. This process helped me to become more present and centered.
2.Mandalas provide a structured yet open canvas for creative expression. I paint and design Mandalas and experiment with colors, shapes, patterns, and other materials such as crystals and stones.
3. Painting mandalas requires a high level of focus and attention to detail. This level of concentration is helping me improve my cognitive skills, ability to stay present, and develop capacity for sustained attention.
4. I paint mandalas as an art therapy, as a way to facilitate my emotional healing and psychological growth.
- Tell us something about Ka-Manlilikha.
Answer: “Ka-Manlilikha” came into existence through the visionary efforts of Ms. Maria Abulencia and Teena Maaliw-Octaviano. This creative journey began when Maria Abulencia discovered my artworks online and extended an inviting hand for me to partake in a group exhibition celebrating the talents of women. The event, aptly named “Bagong Mukha, Bagong Likha” (New Face, New Creation), was organized by Teena Maaliw-Octaviano under the banner of the Lucban Artists Guild. It graced the public gallery of Lucban, Quezon in September 2021.
After the said event, a profound connection formed among the participating women artists. Thus, in this spirit of collective creation and cohesiveness, Ka-Manlilikha was born, a name meaning “Co-creators.”
I was elected as its president in December 2021, a role I accepted with deep honor. Since its inception, Ka-Manlilikha has been an engine of artistic endeavor, hosting exhibitions not only within the local community but also on the international stage. This thriving creative sisterhood continues to make waves, representing the vibrant spirit of Quezon Province and the power of collaboration among women artists.
- What is your message to young and aspiring artists out there who want to follow in your footsteps.
Answer: Creating art is a deeply personal and transformative process that should never be rushed. It’s not merely a means to generate income but a profound avenue for expressing your innermost thoughts and emotions.
In your artistic journey, strive to unearth a style that is distinctly your own, setting you apart from others in the vast world of artists. Embrace experimentation without fear, for it is through this process that you’ll discover your true creative voice. Challenges will inevitably arise along the way but view them as opportunities to grow and become more resilient in your artistry.
Above all, let us remember that art is something to be celebrated. It is a window into the human soul, a mirror reflecting the complexities of our existence. It has the power to connect us, move us, and stir our emotions. So, cherish the creative process and the art you bring into the world, for it is a unique and invaluable gift to both you and those who have the privilege to experience it.