JOLIET – Tita Recometa Brady mixes memories, heritage and art in her paintings of traditional Philippine scenes.
This former abstract artist and retired teacher will exhibit three of her favorite pieces as well as several other prints on Saturday at the fourth annual Piyesta Pinoy Festival in Bolingbrook.
“They go back to my time, when I was a kid growing up, the things that I saw,” Brady said.
The first painting, “A Wedding,” or “Kasalan” depicts an entire village following a horse-drawn cart to the nuptial festivities. A pig is roasting in the background, some people are seen bearing gifts and children are running around.
One little girl places her hand against that of an older woman. In turn, the older woman touches the girl’s forehead. Brady said this is a Filipino tradition that signifies respect.
The second painting depicts Filipino nationalist and polymath Dr. Jose Rizal, who led a rebellion at the end of the 19th century against the Spanish regime.
Also featured in the painting is Brady’s sister, who tells Rizal’s story to her children.
In the background are the letters “KKK,” which mean “Honor, Respect, Brotherhood” in the Philippine language.
“This is one of my favorite paintings,” Brady said. “It has so much history in it.”
The third painting is called “The Fiesta,” which has a cast of 83 people, along with people pulling carts and others playing stringed instruments.
“It’s a traditional Philippine scene,” Brady said.
Born, raised and educated in the Philippines, Brady came to the U.S. in 1966 to study at the Art Institute of Chicago. That was the summer of the Richard Speck murders and Brady’s mother cried and begged Brady not to leave, Brady said.
“It took me year to put the papers together to go to school,” Brady said. “So I went.”
Brady started teaching in 1973 and retired in 2002 from Valley View District 365U. She mostly painted in the abstract style, and in 2007 began painting abstracts with Filipino themes of sun, land and city.
Feedback Brady received included, “These are really nice round paintings, but it would be nice to see Philippine culture in those paintings. ... Some people in those scenes instead of doing nameless faces.”
“So I began putting the faces of relatives and friends and neighbors and everyone I knew,” Brady said.
In the past, Brady hosted art shows in her backyard, even hanging her paintings from trees. She prefers oils for their luminous slow-drying qualities, but she said she has dabbled in watercolors and other mediums, too.
“Even printmaking, linoleum-cutting and ceramics,” Brady said.
Why abstract: “It’s a recreation of what is natural. If you look at nature closeup, it’s very, very abstract. Just look at the shape of a beetle or flower blossom; get close to it. There’s so much abstraction to it. It’s just shape and lines and colors, very basic elements.”
Personal time: “It’s very important that you allow yourself to retreat into your own space and do what you love.”
Words of Wisdom: “Observe and absorb.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Fourth Annual Piyesta Pinoy Festival
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., June 10
WHERE: Bolingbrook Performing Arts Center, 375 Briarcliff Drive, Bolingbrook
ETC: The festival,which drew 7,500 last year, includes musicians and performing groups doing traditional dances. The headliner is Jericho Rosales, a featured movie and television star on TFC television. Admission and parking is free.
INFORMATION: Visit pacfmidwest.org.