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Contradistinction Original Prints by Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi and Nelfa Querubin

Because no two women are alike, in the matter of art, these two distinguished Ilongga women, Ofelia Gelvezon-Tequi (b. 1944) and Nelfa Querubin (b. 1941) are also different.

Gelvezon-Tequi was born in Guimbal to a military general father and had a comfortable life. Querubin, from Concepcion, was born poor; her father, she disclosed in an autobiography, was a fisherman and she had to fend for herself at an early age due to poverty.

Gelvezon-Tequi studied in UP for her Fine Arts and English degrees. She attended Rome’s Accademia di Belli Arti and the Pratt Institute in New York to hone her art. Querubin finished drafting from the Iloilo School of Arts and Trade and is largely self-taught, learning from and with fellow artists mostly.

While excellence and distinction characterize these respected women’s art and career, both having received the 13 Artists Awards from the Cultural Center of the Philippines among other acclaims, the contrast continues to extend to the works they had produced in the 1970s and 1980s – decades when they were most productive as printmakers.

While both artists are major printmakers who have made names for themselves locally and internationally, the samples of their work in this exhibition intimate Gelvezon-Tequi’s interest in figurative work with socio-religious themes that often betray sharp commentaries on government and social conditions. Querubin largely harnesses abstraction in her lyrical compositions with their titles offering a hint at their sources of inspiration. Even in Querubin’s figurative works, a sense of idealization or romaticization of the subjects (grass, fishnets, boats) is gleaned.

While Gelvezon-Tequi tends to present her experience of reality as well as her opinions about empirical truths, Querubin expresses her perceptions of reality laced with her hopes and dreams of what it should be. In a simplistic dichotomy, Gelvezon-Tequi is realistic while Querubin is romantic.

CONTRADISTINCTION, in hindsight, among other things, unveils two types of womanhood whether artist or not – Ilongga or otherwise.

CONTRADISTINCTION is a project of the UPV Chancellor’s Committee on Culture and the Arts and the UPV Gender Development Program in celebration of the National women’s Month. It opened on 15 March and will run until the 29th at the Lobby of the GCE Building (GCEB), UP Visayas, Iloilo City campus.

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