BY VINA MEDENILLA
From May 29 to June 29, 2021, the Philippine Botanical Art Society (PhilBAS) together with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be featuring over a hundred botanical artworks in an online exhibit entitled “Philippine Flora: An Online Botanical Art Exhibition.”
This includes paintings of Philippine endemic and indigenous flora created by 95 Filipino artists to highlight the rich biodiversity of the country.
The Philippines is one of 17 megadiverse countries in the world, and to be categorized as such, half of the country’s species must be endemic. With over 10,000 native flora species in the Philippines, fifty percent of these are endemic or can only be found locally. Sadly, many of these species are also endangered because of natural calamities and human activities such as poaching, illegal logging, and urbanization.
Bing Famoso, the founder of the Philippine Botanical Art Society and Philippine Fauna Art Society, said that the online exhibition allows Filipinos from different parts of the world to have access to Philippine flora through art. This not only promotes native species but also raises awareness about their conservation status.
Through the event, the organization aspires to restore the botanical art style and encourages Filipino artists to promote Philippine flora by incorporating them in their artworks. The use of visual art as an avenue to raise awareness has been effective. Famoso said, “It inspires people to be engaged in environmental problems and allows them to think of potential solutions to these issues.”
The public can access the virtual exhibit via https://philippineflora.cargo.site/. The website, developed by Issay Rodriguez, an artist and member of the PhilBAS, showcases all the 145 artworks of participating local artists, which can also be viewed in a 360° virtual gallery.
“Through these botanical paintings, we can share to our society that these [species] need to be protected,” said John Rey Callado, co-founder of the PhilBAS and Philippine Fauna Art Society.
Information gathered from the virtual opening ceremony of the “Philippine Flora: An Online Botanical Art Exhibition.”