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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

Received an invitation to the Premier SANSO show at the Mandarin Suites from Spanish artist and Filipina at heart the ever elegant Betsy Westendorp. Arrived to see the man of the night, Juvenal Sanso, being interviewed for what I assume is a television show, from the looks of it.

I decided to wait outside the hall and watch the short video on Sanso when, after a few minutes, the artist came out. I approached him to introduce myself when he excused himself as he had to rush to the men's room. Waiting once more, I finally had the chance to sit down with him and ask a few questions.

During the interview, we talked about what brought about the decision to put into one show his finest works and some rare pieces that, perhaps, have not been publicly-displayed. Sanso also discussed how being an athlete can help a person live longer. The artist reveals that he had been a varsity swimmer for the University of the Philipines and even reached the Olympic tryouts.

Sanso says that reaching 80 later this month is an achievement for him, having dealt with diabetes for some time now, and that if he gets another 10 years doing what he loves, "then salamat na lang."

The interview had been interrupted a couple of times because there were some guests who kept asking for Sanso's autograph. It was another revelation, for me at least, that Sanso kept asking those who wanted his autograph to write their names on a piece of paper first because, as he said, he's not good with names.
"Especially nicknames, so hard to remember," Sanso said.

I had not been able to ask for his autograph or have a picture taken with him because my thinking is that there's always another time. "Is there anything else you wanted to ask?" Sanso said to me after the last of the autograph- and picture-seekers had left. "I'm good, sir," I replied after which, I said congratulations and goodnight.

Sanso then gave me his calling card and said that he must remember my name. With all the people he spoke to that night, it didn't surprise me that he had forgotten my name. Perhaps I should have written it down on paper, I thought. After answering, Sanso invited me to lunch at his home but said that I should call first because he never knows his schedule unless he has his planner in front of him. Of course, I said that I would love to continue our conversation.

Thus was my first meeting with the master, Sanso. To say that it was truly memorable would be an understatement. Such humility from a man whose name is held in such high regard in the world of art.

Premier SANSO will run until November 24 at the Mandarin Suites, Gateway Mall, Araneta Center, Cubao.

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