“Claustrophobia” is a group exhibition by four young artists from Talisay City Karl Arnaiz, Miles Floreza, Dennis Occeña, and Paul Occeña. Some people believe that opposite attracts, however, a maxim says, “like poles attract each other.”

The artists have known each other since childhood growing up as friends. They may have taken different paths but they gravitate back to each other in their art practice.

They shared that “not until that one event in our Barangay, the poster-making competition led us to this point, i.e., after that, we established a strong connection. Perhaps, time just comes in the life of a person when he encounters someone and without knowing it, something different occurs. We can say that the main reason why our group was built is certainly not because of the inevitable events in life; distance since we are all neighbors living in the same hometown, and the things we do together: sip coffee and do fun escapades. We strongly agree that everything begins the moment art enshrouded our souls when the blazing fire of passion brought unity within the depths of one’s being. Art taught us to encourage, improve, motivate, inspire, and free ourselves from inhibitions to express. What gives us the power to craft arts, is to tell stories and experiences that mirror reality. We want to open eyes, to connect to others; to let the paintings communicate or talk to the viewers or audiences.”

For them, “art is the strongest weapon that helps us survive the battle internally and externally. Without art, there is no air to breathe and no color to emphasize life’s meaning. It gave us purpose to express, to escape, and at the same time, to spread inspiration to others. We don’t just simply craft art, we embrace it wholeheartedly, and there is life in it. We produce things as we have thought or imagined and become someone as we have envisioned. We are a group with a positive focus. Our similar forces exhibit its affinity and made us one.”

“Claustrophobia” opened on May 22 at Grey Room Art-Café at Art District Mandalagan and is now open to the public until June 22, 2021, subject to necessary health protocols.*

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