“I choose to live in my world so I can continue creating from within, from my thoughts, through my skin, human form and in my own evolving universe.”
These are the words of artist and art conservation specialist Annali Garcia who benchmarked her 10th anniversary in Manila in an exhibition at established art gallery Ricco Renzo Gallery at Bel-air in Makati City. She has featured her personal collections that benchmarks her stages in art from 2006 to 2017. They are also her reflections of trips made, people whom she met and happy experiences.
Her exhibit, which she opened on her birthday January 30, was launched with a few children from the Canossa-Tondo Children Foundation, Inc. After coloring cartoon sketches she has made, each visiting child received packed lunch and free milk from Holly’s. It was Garcia’s manner of sharing her birthday to the less privilege children using art activities to cheer them up instead of the usual high society ribbon cutters invited by artists to their opening.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times Magazine, she said of her exhibition, “I am in a continuous journey every year as an artist. I constantly explore various ways to express myself through art. I am still discovering my full potential as an artist and I am taking bigger steps confidently as I produce more and more art as I learn from life, my work, my family, the things and plants around me. The social and political environment from life and work.”
“My following and collectors are from Europe and Regional so I consider myself as a transnational artist. I don’t want to define myself based on the local opinion of art critiques ,still in developing country status. Especially after I’ve lived in an international arena,” she continued.
And although she has gained experience in doing visual art, Garcia is more known in restoring art works. She is the president and lead restorer of Bottega Di Anna Maria Luisa, a DTI registered company in Manila that was established in Italy since 2002. Her team includes experts from Rome, Hong Kong, Sydney, and London.
Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design at UP Diliman and graduating as a Cum Laude, her MFA at Universidad De Salamanca in the region of Castilla Y Leon, Spain was graded Sobresaliente and her three-year training at Instituto Per I’ Arte E Il Restauro in Florence makes her one of the few qualified (with real credits) to restore artifacts for museums and private collectors. The competition is less and less when the happy clients see you deliver and truly fix the problem.
Garcia explained, “I started doing art when I was only 12 years old. I really love drawing but in college I took a technical course—Interior Design—I worked for architects after graduation, I can draft, I worked with architects so I have skills and knowledge for designing and building. Then later on I decided to specialize art conservation which is a very unique career still in this country.”
Her training and formal residency with Italian maestros makes her one of the more qualified professionals in this field in the Asia Pacific region today. This practice spanned from since 2002 in Italy to Manila. Her small enterprise is accredited by the New South Wales Museum in Sydney as of 2017, as a transnational artist who has exhibited in Florence, Italy (2003) and Manila (2008, 2012). She is going to exhibit again in a public space in Manila and later this year bring it to Europe.
A good art restorer is indeed very hard to find. “We are few and far between” she said sharing there are only a few art conservation specialists in the Philippines. “And yet I am not afraid of my most expensive or most popular competition. Maybe they are now retiring, and Iam glad I share info or compare notes with my contemporaries. We back up each other when the load is too much.”
“Konti pa lang kami. It took almost 10 years before I got recognized, I am working on getting better to figure out how I can service people in a more efficient way. This year we’re looking for more pro-active projects helping out one foundation after another for their advocacies. And selecting the best offers that land on my lap. Right now it’s home based, it’s a small enterprise but I am open to growing in a right way, sustainably,” Garcia said.
“I want to create a franchise on my business not just in the Philippines but in other parts of the world. I am hoping to have a one-stop shop where we provide artworks, art conservation, urban planning design, and architecture. I am just taking one step at a time. I still have to learn a lot of things to be an entrepreneur—the business side of it,” she added when asked about her future.
Finally, Garcia noted that she has indeed learned so much in her decades of hard work.
“You have to always learn, don’t be afraid to keep upgrading your skills. You can’t get stuck in just one corner and just stay. You have to reinvent yourself all the time. Do new things and also learn from important and successful people. I also keep an open line with the millennials and always try my best to give the best service for the best price. Thank you! Manila Times for this rare interview on my birthday! Garcia ended.
For more information about Bottega Di Anna Maria Luisa artwork restoration visit their office at 68 B. E. Abada St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City or contact them at conservationart2020@ gmail.com; (+632) 281-7774; (+63) 905-4582850.
Find out more about Ricco Renzo Gallery at www.riccorenzo.com. Located at Suite 206 LRI Design Plaza 210 N. Garcia Street (formerly Reposo), Bel-Air 2, Makati City, contact them at +63917 813 5817 or 02 898 2545.