By Hannah Jo Uy
The spirit of friendship is strong in the recent works of distinguished artist, Omi Reyes. Here is a man who values human relationships as an important part of our existence. In many ways, this makes him unlike the stereotypical artist who is a brooding loner. But Omi’s open heart and authenticity paved the way for an illustrious career and, most recently, his exhibit, “Linkages 2.”
The show, a sequel to “Linkages” last 2014, showcases prominent signature elements of gears and other mechanisms that link one device to another in earth tones, along with collaborations from fellow notable contemporary artists, such as Michael Cacnio, Migs Villanueva, Anna de Leon, Roel Obemio, Jik Villanueva, Daisy Carlos, Carlo Ongchangco, Gerrico Blanco, Jaime Gubaton, Francis Nacion, Hermes Alegre, and Pinggot Zulueta, serving as metaphorical representations of Omi’s philosophy of togetherness.
“I have one simple message and it’s this: camaraderie,” Omi says. “I’d like this show to be a manifestation of our friendship, our oneness, our unity, that in spite of all our diversities, we are all linked to one another after all. And this togetherness is no easy task. Outside looking in, all people see is laughter, enjoyment, activities, parties, working together with gusto. But achieving a harmonious relationship takes a pile of understanding and tons of respect. In a collaborated work, an artist cannot simply put all his heart out to create. He needs to jive with another soul. He needs to consider other elements. He needs to connect. And it all goes back to building relationships.”
While “Linkages” allowed him to “test the waters” that resulted in smaller pieces, “Linkage 2” sees Omi favoring a bolder approach with large-scale pieces. Each work reflects his move to go beyond his comfort zone, leading to a more eclectic collection and collaborations with other artists.
“In contrast to my more neglectful character during my younger days as an artist when my mind was more focused on what I wanted, I am now more mindful of others. In dealing with each of their characters, I try to go beyond my own habits and accommodate their level of comfort whenever we interact. I always tell them to have no pressure when I give them my piece to work on. In that sense, I get their proper disposition and they become more willful to do the work. Getting them to feel at ease and satisfied with our relationship is still most essential to me.”
“Linkage II is on display at Italia Restaurant in Bacolod until April 7.