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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

Kelly Sonio’s celebrations
By Dexter R. Matilla
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:37:00 12/15/2008

AT first glance, Kelly Sonio’s terra-cotta figures may seem disproportionate.

Oversized hands and feet of figures having fun, women singing while vending their ware, children running up and about, townsfolk engaged in all sorts of revelry, and a clown putting on his makeup are just some of the pieces in the exhibit “Pagsaulog” in E Gallery at Serendra.

A grand-prize winner of the 2006 Metrobank Arts and Design Excellence in Sculpture, Sonio was inspired by his win and he is now looking to share that happiness through his works.

Sonio says he gained confidence after winning since it affirmed that he had something to offer in a field he had to learn all by himself.

“Pagsaulog” means “to celebrate” in Ilonggo, and as a native of La Carlota, Negros Occidental, Sonio is exposed to a very simple lifestyle in a rural setting.

“Our sleepy town jumps up and comes alive every last week of January to celebrate the annual fiesta,” he says. “The whole place becomes a joyful playground where everyone participates. This excitement is what I try to capture in the facial expressions and body language of my sculptures. I want to send a message that despite the poverty and hardship, people can still be joyful and somehow contended with their simple lives.”

Sonio meticulously forms his figures by hand using terra-cotta, taking as long as 3-4 days to finish one, and then sets them to dry for a month before firing them in a kiln. He uses acrylic to paint the details of each figure, working to enhance the appearance and highlight certain subtleties he wishes to emphasize.

It’s no easy task, he says, considering all the planning and conceptualization involved in each peace. The emotions, attitudes and moods of his sculptures are well narrated and clearly defined albeit purposely exaggerated.

“Pagsaulog” is significant in the artist’s career as it is his first solo exhibition and marks his true debut into the art scene. He chose to exhibit whimsical and happy moments depicting scenes from his childhood memories of fiesta instead of the more serious and sometimes depressing subjects, which he used to do.

Without fanfare, flair or frills, Sonio epitomizes the humble, sincere and diligent sculptor who just wants to make a decent name and living.

“Pag Saulog” is on exhibit in E Gallery, 2/F, Shops at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

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