MILAN, Italy – 2007 Bagong Bayani Awardee for Arts and Culture Richard Gabriel proved once again that he is more than deserving to receive such award when he wowed Filipinos and Italians alike with his sculptural works of art and masterpieces which were unveiled during a one-man exhibit held at Studio Tolomeo, Via Gianonne, 6 last December 1, 2010.
The exhibit dubbed as “Cinderella between Fetish and Zen” is a collection of ceramics shoes of different shapes, color and sizes. Each has its own and unique story.
Gabriel’s natural interest and curiosity for the arts led him to immerse himself deeper to this artistic endeavor. He came to Italy in 1989 and took several art courses such as Corso Libero del Nudo and corso di incisione e di ornate.His natural talents and giftedness in sculpture was honed when he worked as assistant in 1998 to Carla Tomolomeo, one of Italy’s renowned contemporary artists.
Tolomeo did not only bring Gabriel along with her to different international exhibits but also made sure that his name is also indicated in different art catalogues.
Tolomeo who has also assumed the role of a mother to Gabriel and his family in Italy, inspired and pushed Gabriel to reach the pedestal where he is now.
Gabriel’s exposure to the world of ceramics, on the other hand, began in 2009 when he worked in Pietrasanta for a marble and ceramics factory and where he was introduced to Massimo Gentile of Francesconi’s studio. Naturally gifted that he is, Gabriel easily found himself into the circle of qualified artists in the said studio. In there, Gabriel began to take serioulsy his craft and started creating his masterpieces.
Gabriel said that he chose shoes for his subject because it is our shoes that bring us to where we would want to be. It is also our shoes that support us in bearing our burdens and aids us in our effort to remain standing despite the test of times. Gabriel added further that it is through the shoes which a person wear that we could have a glimpse as to the kind of occupation he has or the destination he wants to reach.
Gabriel who was born on Decembre 16, 1964 in Arayat, Pampanga is married to Josephine Sonza and father to their three children. (Zita Baron)