Christmas—Filipino-style—is truly remarkable and unforgettable. It is a revered time for many cherished celebrations, endearing friends and family with the warmth of sharing, fond memories and togetherness.
To mark this joyous occasion, proudly Filipino bread chain Pan de Manila adds color to the Yuletide season with artworks that evoke timeless traditions in its 2014 “Paskong Pinoy” paper bags and packaging materials.
Now available in all branches are Christmas paper bags featuring a lively tapestry by 32-year-old Filipina artist, Jovan Benito. Her 30 x 60 oil on canvas work, “Makulay, Makabuluhan at Makasaysayan ang Pasko sa Pan de Manila” depicts vibrant rural holiday scenes, as well as quaint glimpses from the artist’s childhood memories, which deeply inspired the eye-catching canvass.
Drawing much of her paintings’ characters from her impressionable childhood, Benito’s artwork is proof of her imaginativeness and playfulness. She captures time-honored Filipino traditions like ube halaya-making and Noche Buena in serene images cast against a delightful sea of hues.
As for style, Benito describes hers to be faithful to Cubism. For this particular work, she experiments with a palette of colors, using varying shades of magenta as her main hue, and backdrop of abstracted figures of busy townsfolk.
“The subjects’ half-opened eyes and pursed lips, which are my signature touch, are my representation of the gentle nature of Filipinos,” she notes.
“To balance the serenity and create a cheerful vibe, I used a lot of colors, especially magenta, blues and greens. Quirky prints and modern decors like a Christmas tree and lights are also included as mainstream elements,” Benito adds.
“My working process for this artwork took three months of conceptualization, and several more months to finally come up with three separate frames that were later joined in to form this single piece of artwork. I normally re-do my work until I get to a point where I’m happy and content with the outcome,” Benito shares.
A native of Pakil, Laguna, Benito is a self-taught painter who first forayed into professional art in 2007. Married to Filipiniana surrealist Jerry Morada, she has participated in various local and international group shows and important one-woman exhibits, the most recent of which was held in October at Galerie Joaquin.
Prints that matter
Besides imparting rich cultural heritage in each custom-created pan de sal bag, one of the cornerstones of Pan de Manila’s yearly holiday campaign is to promote and support homegrown artistic talents. Encouraging art dissemination and appreciation at a more contemporary and unconventional approach, the chain is proud to spread awareness of fine Filipino artistry.
Featuring the works of up-and-coming local artists in its Filipino Art-inspired Christmas paper bags has been a yearly tradition for Pan de Manila since 2008. Among the Filipino artists who were specially handpicked for this holiday endeavor are Albert Magsumbol, Larry Memije, Rina Albert-Llamas, Joel Chua, Dante Hipolito, and Amador Barquilla.
Apart from gracing the paper bags that carry hot pan de sal, the Christmas-themed artwork is also featured in Pan de Manila take-out boxes to make for beautiful gift items.
“With a colorful and clever box container, gift-givers can readily share a thoughtful food gift for friends and family by simply combining an assortment of Pan de Manila bread products as well as our specialty spreads and palaman,” relates Mari Sebastian, the brand’s marketing manager.
But not only are the new Christmas-themed paper bags filled with delicious goodies and rich, artistic Filipino heritage; they are also eco-friendly. “Besides being biodegradable, the Pan de Manila artwork bags are great for holiday crafting, as they can also be re-used creatively as gift wrapping materials,” Sebastian suggests.
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