All In The Family: Mariano, Yasmin, and Haraya Ching

Mariano and Haraya Ching, "Jelly Ace Series 5" and "Jelly Ace Series 6", pyrograph and acrylic in wood

Mariano and Haraya Ching, "Jelly Ace Series 5" and "Jelly Ace Series 6", pyrograph and acrylic on wood

Just call it family bonding, Ching-style.  To most parents, especially those with busy careers and young children, spending time with their families means doing things together, mostly on weekends:  eating out, catching a movie, indulging in sports, visiting grandparents.  To artists Yasmin Sison and Mariano Ching,  it is inevitable that in addition to these, art plays a large part in their interaction with their five-year-old son, Haraya. They have  both just come off from doing work for shows out of Manila (Yasmin’s solo, Spaces In Between, was at Artesan in Singapore in June, while Nano participates in Japan’s Aichi Triennale this month). In this exhibit, Games For Growing, at Blanc Peninsula,  they come together as a couple and as a family, showing individual and collaborative work borne out of their role as parents to a precocious child.  To quote from Yasmin’s exhibit statement,”…the exhibition

Yasmin Sison and Mariano Ching, "Defying Gravity", 48x36 per panel, acrylic, enamel, and oil on canvas

though is mostly about play or at least trying to capture the essence of it in our work, the spontaneity and fun that comes so easily in the works of our child and which for us is an elusive thing that we try to capture.”

Haraya, "Dummies Series", iron bar, acrylic, wood

Both Nano and Yasmin looked back to their own experiences and interests as children to put together their work for this show.  This accounts for the lively innocence  that pervades throughout the exhibit, a feel underscored all the more by the display of works by Haraya himself.  His sketches of heroes have been magnified and transformed into steel sculpture that stand about three feet tall, and have been painted bright, primary colors.  Nano and Yasmin have also used his drawings of masks to create wall-bound sculpture in wood,  with Nano tracing out Haraya’s lines with a pyrography pen, then using acrylic for color.  Yasmin mounted 20 framed collages, a series she calls Gepetto’s Workshop, where she used images cut out from books of Disney’s Pinocchio.  Nano had one steel piece finished with automotive paint.  It is made up of four letters

Detail, "Defying Gravity"

that spell “apes”, reflecting a childhood affinity for science fiction (I’m guessing Planet Of The Apes) that still comes across his works today.

Yasmin Sison, "Gepetto's Workshop Series", 12"x21", collage

An interesting exercise undertaken by husband and wife are their attempts at doing collaborative paintings.  Yasmin admitted that this posed a challenge as they work with different styles.  They had three triptychs of varied sizes (the smallest at 16″x16″ per panel, the largest at 48″x36″ per panel).  I thought they carried this off pretty well; the pieces did not end up looking like they tried too hard to put it together.

Overall, while I don’t think the show brings out significant pieces to add to their body of work, Yasmin and Nano’s celebration and

Detail of one of Yasmin Sison's "Gepetto's Workshop" collages

pride in their role as parents permeate so palpably.  We see another dimension to them as artists.  As Yasmin puts it: “This exhibition looks back at our childhood, but also moves [us] forward,  as we try new things and get out of our comfort zone. In this way not only our son, but we as well,  are included in the game of growing.”

Another detail from a Gepetto's Workshop collage

Games For Growing runs from 4 to 25 September 2010 at Blanc Peninsula,  Peninsula Manila Hotel arcade (facing Makati Avenue), Makati City.  Phone (63920) 927-6436 or visit

Yasmin Sison and Mariano Ching, "Diving Sphere", acrylic, enamel, and oil on canvas, 56"x 16"

Haraya, "Dummies Series", iron bar, acrylic, and wood

Mariano and Haraya Ching, "Jelly Ace 1", "Jelly Ace 2", "Jelly Ace 3", pyrograph and acrylic on wood

Mariano Ching, "Apes", acrylic and automotive paint on steel

Detail, "Apes"

Yasmin Sison and Mariano Ching, "Wishful Thinking", 16"x16" per panel, acrylic, collage, enamel, and oil on canvas

Installation of Gepetto's Workshop series of collages


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