There’s no denying of the talent of Grace Kalaw Katigbak but her passion everything she does is what’s most impressive about this lady. A painter, dancer and writer who has a Palanca Award to her name, she clearly thrives in various artistic disciplines.
“I’m basically a painter but I also do sculpture. As for dance, I did ballet with Tats Manahan, Eddie Elejar and Tony Fabella a long time ago, and we even created the Manila Metropolitan Dance Company,” she shared.
Katigbak laughs at herself when she admits she can’t sing, even as her late mother Evelyn Kalaw was a known soprano.
“My mother was a singer and then my aunt, Purita Kalaw Ledesma, founded the Art Association of the Philippines, so I guess you can say we truly are a family of artists,” she related.
Despite her expertise, Katigbak is one artist who always wants to spread her wings. She may not have learned how to sing but she surprisingly revealed she took a course in Stand-up Comedy in Chicago as well as Clown School in Paris.
In fact, in her last two art exhibits late in 2017, she incorporated a performance that highlighted her comic side.
“I had lots of fun doing that,” the artist recalled of her successful shows Galeria Astra and Ricco Renzo Art Gallery in December titled, “The Glamorous Guru.”
A late bloomer of sorts, Katigbak started painting at age the age of 50. Now 68, she recalled, “I was encouraged to paint by my fourth husband, a gifted English film director who also became my artistic director.”
For her planned exhibits this year, one of which will be held in New York in April, titled “Would,” she intends to showcase her “painful past” in her paintings.
“I’ve had a very painful life—I was molested when I was four and then I was a battered and abused wife by my first husband,” she said. “I buried all the pain very deep in my subconscious. I never told anyone about it and it was only after a lot of therapy that I was able to come to terms with it. Painting helped me get through them, and then I learned how to forgive, and felt so liberated.”
As such, her collection of works have a single message despite its multitude of colors, “They will all say, ‘No more fear, no more pain, no more shame’!”