I visited Joey Velasco’s exhibit today held at SM Cebu’s Art Center. His story is as interesting as his art. I first saw him on TV, I became a fan immediately. Not a lot a painter nowadays would pick religious art as base for the simple reason that there’s no money there but Joey did, I believe he was led by our Lord through his personal experiences.
What a nice guy, we briefly chatted about his paintings and his Cebu experience. He seems happy to see someone from Manila. I’ve always wanted to meet the man behind the art, I’ve never thought that I would meet him here.
My favorite piece from his collection is “Hapag ng Pagasa”, gathered 12 children from the poorest neighborhoods of Manila and made them models for his last supper version. After feeding the poor children that same day he then painted his masterpiece. After sometime had passed he then started thinking what has happened to those children. He would later look for these children and help them and their families (they all now have homes somewhere in QC through JV’s assistance).
I’m haunted by the images of his creation, it feels so close, so real – we have brothers and sisters dying of hunger – we see them, we get used to it and accept it, for Joey, he believed that there always something we can do aside from pity. Poverty is a reality that we often forget.
I know that in the future Joey would be cited as one of our greatest artist, great in the sense that his art is from the heart, inspired by the flight of the poorest of the poor, he uses his art as medium to teach us about them, make us aware of their flight. I don’t think Joey is getting the recognition he deserves now – his sacrifice and his passion, how he use his God given talent to send the message of charity and love is truly inspiring.