By Dexter R. Matilla
For the Philippine Daily Inquirer
THAT JOSCEPHINE Gomez is a performer, a lecturer, and a stage actress, and now a painter, to describe her skills and potential for whatever she sets her mind into as limitless is an understatement.
Gomez is one of this country’s better-known classical singers and her credentials include being the first Filipino to be presented in solo concerts in Brunei Darussalam, Israel, and in Russia where she represented the Philippines in the First Festival for the Asia-Pacific Region.
She is also a professional speaker and lecturer and a theater actor with performances in Dulaang UP’s “Damit ng Emperador” and in Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Orpheus Descending.” As a writer, her articles have been published in several national broadsheets and magazines.
But of the many awards she has been given, she treasures most the title of “The Philippines’ Longest Cancer Survivor,” which she received from the Kapisanan ng Mga may “K” sa Pilipinas, the umbrella organization of all cancer groups in the Philippines.
At the age of two, Gomez was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, an eye cancer most prevalent in children. She underwent surgery and was given only 5-10 years to live, but as she proves today, though a patch covers her right eye, she continues to amaze with her voice, her determination, and her newly found vision for the arts.
And while Gomez has certainly accomplished a lot, she maintains the importance of helping others, which is why she allocates a certain percentage of the proceeds from the sale of her artwork to helping retinoblastoma patients at the Philippine General Hospital.
She believes in the importance of early detection and continued surgical and medical intervention.
In her first solo art show “Limitless,” Dec. 1-31 at Enchante, 3/F Oakwood Hotel, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Gomez presents 25 large, medium and small paintings in acrylic and watercolor. Opening is on Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m.
Her works depict interesting impressionistic renditions of skies and seas either dominated by various shades of yellow, red, rust and orange, or cool, refreshing shades of blue, purple and green, with black as the common tone.
Gomez started studying painting in February this year and took her studies seriously, painting almost every day for 6-12 hours. Her mentors include Gig de Pio, one of the Philippines’ best portrait artists, and Joe Datuin, Grand Prize winner of the International Olympic Art Competition during the 2008 Beijing Olympics for his work “Dancing Rings.”
“My show is tied up to my optimistic philosophy in life—that possibilities are limitless,” Gomez said. “To think that I had been saying all these years that I could not paint or draw. It was when I stopped saying it that the ability came out.”
Gomez speaks nine languages, has taught five of them and won twice the Nippongo oratorical contests sponsored by the Japanese Embassy.
She is the only Asian to have taught at IKL Kommunikations Training Centre in Frankfurt, Germany. She is also one of the few Filipinos chosen by the British Council to speak at the First International Language Teaching Convention held at the SMX Convention Center in Manila in 2009.
Gomez is the Philippines’ pioneer voice-therapy and rehabilitation consultant. She hosted “Creative Solutions,” a one-hour TV talk show on Global News Network Channel 21.
Awards she has received include the 1998 Parangal ng Bayan for Arts and Culture and 2008 Aliw Awards finalist for Best Female Classical Singer.