Brother-artist exhibit of sketches still on view


Br. Edmundo “Dodo” Fernandez FSC, a devoted member of the Christian Brothers Community, is an engaged individual. After all, he is the president of both the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and La Salle Green Hills. “There is always work to be done,” he says.

Nevertheless, he finds time—in a sort of a compromise—for his dedication toward art. This culminates in his ongoing solo exhibit, titled Drawings: From Residences in Japan and France.

Armed with a degree in Fine Arts Major in Painting from the University of the Philippines Diliman, Br. Dodo is no stranger to the visual field. In fact, he has been a guest of several art houses in foreign countries.

In his very first immersion in Vermont, USA, he hoped to do paintings. But he ultimately gravitated to pencil-on-paper sketches, with the subject seemingly removed from its context—just on a blank slate. “The object is presented as they are,” he asserted.

At the Shiro Oni Studio in Gunma, Japan, he had the occasion to contemplate on life and war. He explored the mental images of the helplessness and desperation that led people to the jump from the Twin Towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the emaciated bodies of the unfortunate victims of the Holocaust.

Meanwhile, in a commune of Caylus, France, he focused on the controlled illustration of a nautilus shell and eventually unconstrained portrayals of dead flies. All these come together in his ongoing show, which exemplifies 21 of his most-cherished pieces. Each study is simply tagged “Drawing No. 1,” “Drawing No. 2” and so on, as the Brother-artist sees these as exercises. When asked why he only draws in isolation—away from the worries and distractions of city life—Br. Dodo says these sabbaticals grant him time to focus on his craft.

“When I am at residences, I am an artist. Afterward, I resume my duties as a Brother-Leader. They may be different and opposing aspects that are difficult to merge,” he concludes.    

Edmundo Fernandez’s Drawings: From Residences in Japan and France is on view at the Tall Gallery of the Finale Art File until Wednesday, October 20, 2021.

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