In Retrospect: The Making of an Artist

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Gazing into a work of art can at times, allow us to peer back in time.

That way, we can see how far we've come — a realization that can help individuals move forward.

For painter Sal Ponce Enrile, past experiences mirrored in her works make her see the world with fresh eyes.

This inspired her to craft "Retrospect" - the expressionistic painting which paved the way for her to become the first Filipino artist to be featured in Artexpo New York, the world's largest gathering of artists and art enthusiasts.

From Politics to Arts

Sal was once a public official — serving as Cagayan 1st District Representative for two terms in the 14th and 16th Congress.

Her background in criminology, psychology, and business made everyone think she was perfect for the role. However, there was a side to her that longed for artistic expression.

The said passion empowered her to unveil a new persona during her first-ever exhibit held last March 2018.

Dubbed as the "Awakening", Sal’s showcase surprised everyone with maiden collections, which revealed a transitive nature and stories of her life.

"My collections reflect my state of mind and give snippets of my personality and character as a person. They are also a glimpse into my hopes, fears, and moods, and recall moments that evoke excitement, joy, anxiety, doubts, and uncertainties," she said.

Going global

It didn't take long for the international community to take notice.

UK-based DragonArt.io, a modern legacy platform that combines art and technology for artists and art lovers all over the world, launched her in Marbella, Spain as one of their featured artists. She now joins the elite circle of prominent personalities including musical legends Brian Travers from UB40 and John Illsley from Dire Straits.

Her works are currently being displayed in private collections in Germany, New York, California, and the Philippines for the global audience to see.

Representing Filipino Artists

"My curator for my first exhibit suggested that I should try submitting my portfolio to Agora Gallery in New York. I told myself I had nothing to lose," Sal stressed.

The politician-turned-artist reaches new heights after being chosen to participate in the prestigious Artexpo New York with "Retrospect" as her featured work.

"Retrospect" represents blurred-out or grayed-over memories of a forgotten era. The brushstrokes look more like scribbles on a chalkboard, lightly hovering against a dark background. "Retrospect" showcases her work to controlled chaos, where an overall cohesive effect unites an array of bright colors and energetic brushstrokes.

This masterpiece was inspired by her reflections as a former politician. Her public service stint gave her the opportunity to witness the real challenges that impoverished people experience daily.

Meeting these genuinely kind and generous people have given her a unique perspective of the world. Even today, reflecting on those moments spurs inspiration.

Her other paintings namely "Delirious", "Dream", "Perplexed" and "Glade" will also be displayed in the exhibit.

With the feat, Sal joins the list of influential and distinguished artists like Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, and Leroy Neiman as personalities featured in the prestigious art event.

"I think every artist's dream is to be able to ultimately show their work in New York. After all, the careers of many of the top well known contemporary artists all began in New York City. Hence, I am truly grateful that I got this opportunity early on in my nascent career as an artist. I am humbled by this great honor as a Filipina to have my work displayed at the Artexpo," she said.

Here's the good news: Local art fans can also view three of her paintings at the Art Circle Gallery, SM Megamall for its anniversary exhibition from March 31 to April 10. Proceeds from all her exhibits go to the charity she’s supporting.

To view more of Sal Ponce Enrile's artworks, follow her on Instagram and Facebook.