VENANCIO C. IGARTA: TWO PORTRAITS
Eileen R. Tabios
A Facebook Post, August 11, 2018:
Yeah. Unpacking left me a little verklempt this morning. I unexpectedly came across some snapshots of V.C. Igarta photographing me in the streets of New York's Chinatown in preparation for the portrait he’d end up painting. And unpacking also surfaced a 1998 self-portrait captioned with “Am getting blind—87 years old.” And he wrote around his face:
“For Eileen, I don’t know how long I have with you in this world. I’ll do all I can to see to it that what remains is not wasted. I do know this, knowing you has always been a pleasure—something to cherish until I die.”
I miss that Ilokano!
It's also eerie how lucidity can be so difficult. When I received his portrait, there was this humanoid figure in the upper right corner. I asked about it and he said, "That's your Guardian Angel." I didn't think to wonder until now, decades later, whether he had actually painted himself into "my" portrait.
(Installation shot at North Fork Fine Arts gallery)
I honor the foremost artist of the Manong generation: http://artasiamerica.org/artist/detail/163
I also write about Manong V.C. at
The FilAm, Dec. 8, 2017
Our Own Voice, January 2001