A local artist unveiled paintings of saints, religious icons, and details of lost loved ones in an inaugural solo exhibit dedicated to his late husband.
Jayson Vicente or Jayson Isaac, a photographer and the husband of Raymund Isaac, debuted as a painter with a solo exhibit titled “Fidem,” which means “faith” in English. His exhibit will be held at the Admiral Hotel in Malate, Manila from September 30 to October 10.
A preview of the paintings was unveiled at a media launch on Wednesday, September 27.
Jayson shared a video of this event on his Instagram account.
“Can’t wait to show this to you this weekend. Thank you @admiralhotelmanila for trusting me on this,” he wrote in the caption.
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During the unveiling, Jayson recalled that he started his first painting during the pandemic.
“Most of my paintings are definitely my dedication to him (Raymund Isaac) after passing and to all of my journey in two years’ time after he passed away,” Jayson said.
“Nag-start ako mag painting during the pandemic and then, I started a painting with him when he was still around. It’s here, this one [pointing to the first artwork], and I finished it when I came back from the [United] States when wala na siya,” he also said.
Jayson also described painting as an activity “to keep his sanity.”
“I had to do something about my sanity and to save myself. Kasi alam mo yun, tipong 12 years, we’ve been living and working in the same space for 12 years,” he reminisced.
Here are the three key artworks that Jayson showcased to the media ahead of the launch.
“Eat, Sh*t and Die”
A dedication to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jayson shared that the name for the piece came from a homeless man he encountered during his daily walks to a church in the US to pray for his late husband. Raymund was still in the hospital during this time.
After Raymubd died, Jayson pursued to finish the painting to cope with the “darkness” while in mourning.
“The level of grief that I experienced that time, to be honest, I don’t want you to experience that. It’s the darkest of the darkest na na-encounter ko sa buhay ko,” he said.
Since this is his first work on canvas, Jayson said that he will be keeping it in his studio as a remembrance.
Jayson’s “Nazareno” reflected his daily prayers at the church during Raymund’s 43-day confinement at the hospital.
He said that the Black Nazarene was among the religious images he often prayed to while his late husband was in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Instead of the entire image, however, the artwork focused on the rope around the Black Nazarene’s body. The painting also showed intricate details on the statue’s garment.
This perspective can be seen in the theme of the entire exhibit.
“Before and after the Mass, I always go to this spot for 43 days. And it’s stuck in my head,” Jayson reminisced.
He also noted that it took him eight months to finish it, during which time he also got COVID.
Jayson found making a painting of Saint Expeditus, the patron saint of emergencies, an “interesting” experience.
He recalled that he only learned about this saint from his sister-in-law, who told him to pray a novena for St. Expeditus for Raymund’s recovery.
“Very interesting kasi hindi ko siya kilala. Kilala ko lang sila Mama Mary, Saint Joseph, yun lang mga basic na kilala ko. Si Padre Pio, si Mother Teresa,” Jayson shared.
As with “Nazareno,” the solo artist focused on a particular part of Saint Expeditus’s famous picture: the martyr’s feet.
The talented couple
Raymund is touted as the “first celebrity photographer” in the Philippines. An alumnus of De La Salle University, he was celebrated for his works with prominent artists such as Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, Piolo Pascual and Lea Salonga.
Jayson, meanwhile, was his partner and colleague at Portfolio Studio since 2012.
After earning a degree at the Mapua Institute of Technology, he juggled different jobs, from bartending to being a call center agent, to support his family.
They tied the knot in Las Vegas in the United States on July 15, 2021.
Raymund, however, contracted COVID-19 shortly after.
After more than a month in the hospital, he died at a hospital in California on September 5, 2021.