Patricia Zyrinn Villanueva de Guzman
Artist, Designer, Storyteller
Canada-based Patricia Zyrinn Villanueva de Guzman considers her art a medium for storytelling and a means to educate the world about the greatness of Filipinos. Exposed to art from a very young age through her mother, UAE-based artist Susan Villanueva de Guzman, Patricia has a penchant for creating unique millinery and jewelry. She says, “I tell stories through the form of wearable art and jewelry. I love how I am able to utilize the body as a form for exhibiting my work.”
Hoping to show her work in both Calgary and Dubai Fashion Week, as well as do solo exhibits in Dubai and in the Philippines someday soon, Patricia, who considers herself at the beginning of artistic career, already has substantial achievements to her credit – from winning a commission in Abu Dhabi for her paintings “Brother and Sister” at 18 years old, to being part of group shows and exhibitions in Canada. At the moment, this artist is busy further exploring her chosen field, expanding her design skills to shoes. She is also working on starting an artist residency program for the less fortunate back in the Philippines, as well as researching on the Bicolano Aetas.
I started creating art when I was two years old and I started exploring the theme of my cultural heritage when I was 15 in my International Baccalaureate Art Class. I remember creating a controversial piece about Filipino stereotypes attempting to shed light on how many Filipina women are stereotyped as maids. I wanted others to see that we were not just “the help” but actually talented individuals.
The process is my favorite part of creating art. I was trained to conduct extensive research and ask questions like, “What is the purpose of this piece in the overall concept?” For instance, I enjoy designing and creating head pieces. I research on the different kinds of head pieces and its history. Then I ask myself questions like: How does it relate to Philippine culture? What other myths, beliefs, and traditions compliment this idea? Then I start designing and conducting media experimentations. Once I am happy with the materials, I start creating. However, the process is not done until I photograph the piece on a model. I enjoy the process immensely because I am constantly learning.
My story is what differentiates me from others. One day, my former instructor, Charles Lewton-Brain told me that we, as individuals, we are the story. I celebrate the uniqueness of my Philippine heritage and I believe that art is not a self-indulgent vocation but a way to educate people. When I design, I infuse narrative about the rich heritage of Philippine culture. I want to open the world’s perception of who Filipinos are and what we are capable of.
Photo credit: Redjie Olino / Ashley Amber Moore / Charles Lewton-Brain
Model: Elaine Jane Atay / Maria J. Cu