UnMute | A Recollection and Thanksgiving of Gina Apostol

Centerpiece: Existentialism, 48 inches x 48 inches, Oil on Canvas
Centerpiece: Existentialism, 48 inches x 48 inches, Oil on Canvas

The third solo show of Gina Apostol UnMute relived the dark episode of typhoon Frank which devastated Iloilo City and neighboring towns in June 2008.

Typhoon Frank who gazed directly down at the metropolis unleashed heavy rains and strong winds and wrought havoc caused by flash flood coming from denuded mountains and worsened by colliding with the high tide as muddy waters flowed towards the sea.

In its wake were hundreds of lives lost among them the elderly, differently-abled persons, women and children.

Artist Gina Apostol carried back the audience on that fateful day as a theme for UnMute by presenting a collection that narrate the traumatic experience. The pieces served as interpretations of images from her memory regarding the chaotic condition that she was subjected into being an on-duty junior nurse who were receiving truckloads of flood victims, mostly bloated children rescued from drowning, at the emergency and trauma section of the hospital.

“I came face-to-face with the death of the victims and witnessed how their precious innocent lives transitioned to the next life,” shared Apostol.

The overwhelming odds gripped Apostol in helplessness and frustration. The trauma endured and afflicted her despite post-traumatic management sessions. In the years that followed, images of paper boats floating on waters constantly remerges on her dreams nagging her conscience as a health worker whose primary role was to save lives.

These post-traumatic encounters depicted UnMute and it conveyed how trauma can dampen the vitality of one’s life and daily existence. In essence, the show is Apostol’s facility of arriving at a resolution – it is an effort to discharge what has been kept in the heart and what has stayed in the mind from that dark episode.

Consequently, UnMuteis a necessary personal process intended to restore the senses in order to revive an aspect of life which was deliberately muted for years.

The collection in UnMute likewise revealed the multi-faceted persona of Gina Apostol. The material, textures, and subject in the collection enlightened the audience regarding her life as a women’s rights and children’s welfare advocate. Her work manifested the causes that she has embraced and it echoed the demands of the sectors that she represented.

“Through this show, I would like to reawaken our consciousness to care for our environment and nature, conveyed Apostol, “for things are drastically changing and we have felt the impact.”

Gina Apostol is many things to many people and her canvas portrayed her community and civic mindedness. This is evident when she presented her artworks with a parallel appeal among the audience by underscoring “to take action and make effort by becoming more responsible even with our trash and garbage.”

The show also demonstrated Apostol’s personal and spiritual journey by sharing her own transformation from being a free-thinking person into a more introspective artist.

“I have been grounded on the sciences and from which stemmed my affinity for liberal ideologies and even atheism. But recently I started to become more reflective of my life and self and I have started to pray and meditate,” she intoned.

“With this I describe UnMute as a way to show the realities of life; an appreciation of the gift of life and its abundant blessings. I, therefore, consider this show as my thanksgiving,” expressed Apostol. 

Unmute
By: Gina Apostol
The fierce thunderbolt in the dark quiet night
Pitter patter pitter patter rainfall
Water consuming every space
I found myself running in all directions.

The sudden shrill of the siren woke me up
Papersails floating all over and the city was drowning
The nightmare of children in white playing the paper sails
It was horrifying dream.

Child of the universe what have you done?
If only trees have eyes it will mock you like a mother
If you listen with your heart then you can see
The world is such a fragile place to be.

Where will birds feed when leaves wither and wilt
The lost leaf falling like a chainsaw of cadavers
Or even when sunflowers cannot face the sun
Then we count the last remaining petals.

To a child the world is a haven
Holding on hopes in the pink balloon
Hovering high across the sky
Breathing fresh flora for a new dawn.

Sail away now my haunted dream
In my consciousness an awakening
The sky flaming, the ocean foaming
In the forgotten mermaid’s being.