Love and charity are the twin themes of the Philippine-Italian Association’s latest fund raising event, showcasing the works of acclaimed artist Fernando Belen Sena.
Staged in cooperation with The Peninsula Manila and Rustan’s, the exhibit is titled The Servants of Charity —In All Things . . . Love, and will benefit the Guanella Home for Special Children, established and operated by the Italian missionaries of the Servants of Charity. This religious organization has long been under the care of the Philippine-Italian Association (PIA).
Blessed with an indomitable spirit and extraordinary talent, Sena forged his way to become the renowned artist and respected teacher that he is today. The exhibition brings together the artist’s most sought-after suite of works, from botanical panoramas, picturesque vistas, to religious iconography, portraiture, and daily life.
Sena completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Painting degree at the University of the East in 1972. For decades, he has devoted himself to free art classes for the unprivileged. An advocate for social change, he established advocacy groups such as Kabataang Tondo Art Group and Art Discovery and Learning Foundation. His work has been exhibited in the Philippines, Germany, Belgium, and China.
Among many recognitions and accolades awarded to Sena were the “Ten Outstanding Manilans” in 1979 and the “Outstanding UE College of Fine Arts Alumni” in 1986.
The artist has been conducting free art workshop specially among the less fortunate in Tondo, Smokey Mountain, Sapang Palay, Carmona, Malabon and other areas including some province. In recognition of his noble efforts, the city of Manila honoured him as Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan and was awarded one of the Ten Outstanding Manilans.
At present, he is the president of the Art Discovery and Learning Foundation Inc. (ADLFI), which implements free art workshops for public school teachers, inmates and cancer patients.
Dubbed as the “Father of the Philippine Art Workshop,” Sena continues to undertake what gives him the most fulfillment—that is, to share his talents with anyone who is interested to learn the techniques in painting
Meanwhile, the Servants of Charity (Guanellians) is a Catholic religious missionary community of priests and brothers for the service of the poor. It was founded on March 24, 1908 in Como, Italy by Saint Louis Guanella (1842-1915), a pioneering Samaritan priest who, in spite of intense political persecution against the Catholic Church during his time, still ministered relentlessly to the homeless, poor, orphans, and people with disabilities.
In the Philippines, Servants of Charity began in June 1989. After spending one year under the wings of the welcoming Order of Friars Minor in Bustillos, Sampaloc, Manila (St. Anthony Shrine) and while getting acquainted with the socio-cultural, ecclesial situation in the country, the first Guanellian Missionaries, led by Fr. Luigi de Giambattista, pitched their temporary tents in Pinkian, a poor urban community located near Quezon City.
Eventually they were located in what is now known as Tierra Verde, Tandang Sora, Quezon City in a house first rented out by the Claretian Missionaries. Some years later, the congregation was able to acquire the property from where it operates today.
In All Things . . . Love will be on view at The Peninsula Manila’s third floor Gallery from July 4 to 12.