ILONGGA artiste Rita Bustamante has been painting expressive portraits of women holding cocks that represent the stories of mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends—women of all generations.  In her recent exhibition with the theme, “Free Range Chicks in Silent Bliss,” held at the Portal Gallery of the Paseo de Legaspi Building along Pelayo Street, Davao City, the artiste commented that “it is on women rarely to deliver a message where silence is bliss.”  

Artiste Rita Bustamante with her painting that was exhibited at the NCCA Gallery in Intramuros, Manila

     “Despite the limited access to movement, these women are trapped in a time warp where the noise of silence can be deafening to impact the activity of human life to a degree.  In this collection, the eyes speak not out of fear or intimidation but because of the very situation they are in.

Charming Chick

They will do exactly what chicks are meant to be; where chicks have the cunning ability to face any situation or challenge with grace.  This grace is defined by their ability to be determined, softhearted, glamorous, confident, dreamy, sober, red hot, charming, tribal, sensitive, alluring, affectionate, dainty, gentle, mesmerizing and unconventional.

Mesmerizing Chick
Somber Chick

The artworks are done on canvas using acrylic as medium.”  This feisty artiste works and supports development initiatives.  Rita Bustamante believes that through her paintings that tell the stories of these various women, she empowers women in such a way that her ubiquitous influence is felt by the viewers. 

     When asked about her fascination with rooster or cocks, Rita simply revealed, “I was looking around for a theme I could work on when I chanced upon this woman exercising a cock for bulang or sabong.  The game of cockfighting, which is a centuries-old blood sport involving two gamecocks, is male-centric. Seeing a woman involving herself in a cockfight was rather fascinating for me.  I saw it to be breaking a glass ceiling.  Breaking down barriers for me is always an experience to reckon with.  It is seeing how women embrace themselves.  This is the connectivity of man and woman as equals.  It is not at all the perception of man as the dominant figure but rather perceiving his character as complimentary to the role of a woman…As chicks represent the female and the roosters that of man, there is compatibility and a complimentary gel to a force existing within each other.  It is more of a symbolism to what there is. I let myself flow freely in the creative process of my art.”

Dreamy Chick

    Perhaps what Rita unconsciously implies in her artworks with her constant use of the rooster is that roosters are a sign of good luck.  It is written about that roosters, as a spirit animal, teaches a person to use their voice for good.  Roosters help to give confidence, candor and bravery.  The rooster must be Rita’s spiritual animal for this artiste is truly high on energy and has a very fiery spirit and passion in whatever she does. 

     In my personal opinion, a painting should be easy to define. It is what results after paint-like materials are applied on a flat surface.  Rita Bustamante’s artwork collection is representative of Pop Art which became popular in the 1960’s.  The Pop Art movement began as a revolt against the dominant approaches to art and culture and traditional views on what art should be.  “Yes, I would classify my artworks as Pop Art being born in the era of the flower power resistance and countercultural movement of the time.  The 60’s and 70’s are the stumping grounds of my affinity to my art which is quite evident in my artworks,” revealed Rita.  The distinguishing features of Rita’s style are simple, clean shapes, and often with the streamlined look. Yes, Rita’s stylized Pop Art portraits somehow reminds me of some of the portraits done in the Art Deco style.  Her signature pointillism technique, including her linear patterns, rely on the viewer’s ability to blend the color spots and lines into a range of tone as the artist had so painstakingly applied on a number of her details.

Red Hot Chick

     “I believe in the adage that ‘Freedom is Discipline, Authority is Violent.’  I always live my life with whatever life throws at me.  I have always worked with the discipline for the freedom that I seek and want.  Of course, along the way, I have been misunderstood for the things that I have done. But again, if I did not do them to better what I have seen and experienced, then probably I would be a walking dead.  So what would be the purpose of living?”  By the way, Rita Bustamante’s family is descended from  Spanish Governor General Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamante y Rueda of the Spanish colonial period who is immortalized in Filipino master painter Felix Resurrection Hidalgo’s precious painting titled, “The Assassination of Governor Bustamante.”  Rita, like her stern and fearless ancestor Bustamante, is accustomed to obtaining results than to resting upon her laurels.

   For more of Rita Bustamante’s artworks, please check out rita_bustamante_art_street on facebook.


The post Rita Bustamante’s Expressive Women with Cocks appeared first on Mindanao Times.

Source: Mindanao Times (