ARTISTS IN NEW YORK. Five young Filipino artists – Julien Borromeo, Junro Aborka, Calvin Galang, Baguio boys Emarnel Pasana and Justin Zambrano, all members of the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) Project – showcase their work at a week-long arts exhibit in New York in observance of the United Nation's declaration of World Autism Awareness Month this April. Jose Jacinto Morales, former Department of Foreign Affairs Baguio Consular Head and now with the Philippines Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) in New York, said their artworks were shown at the Guggenheim Museum on April 2, 2022. (PNA photo screenshot courtesy of Joseph Zambrano)

BAGUIO CITY – Five young Filipinos, two of them from Baguio who are members of the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) Project, are showing their talents in a week-long fashion show and arts exhibit in New York, United States of America (USA).

Jose Jacinto Morales, former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Baguio consular head and now with the Philippines Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) in New York, said in a press release sent to Baguio media that “artists in the autism spectrum from Baguio City and Aklan who are among the beneficiaries of the Fashion Arts Autism Benefit (FAAB) Project, showcased their artworks in a fashion show and exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on April 2, 2022.”

He said the artworks of the children will also be exhibited in the lobby of the New York Philippine Consulate Office for a week beginning April 4, 2022.

The trip of the six-member delegation composed of Julien Borromeo, Junro Aborka, Calvin Galang, Baguio boys Emarnel Pasana and Justin Zambrano, and coordinator Hiyasmin Zambrano is part of the observance of the United Nation's declaration of World Autism Awareness Month this April.

Two of the delegates came from Aklan, two from Baguio City, and one is New York-based.

Dubbed "Yakap Sining" Art Exhibit and "Fashion Hope," “the event aimed to not only raise awareness of autism but also raise funds so that more individuals on the spectrum can avail of the 'art as a therapy' program of the project, according to Morales.

“This year's New York partner, the Guggenheim Museum became the venue in providing an opportunity for persons in the spectrum to showcase their talent and promote inclusion,” he added.

During the fashion show, paintings on denim sewn into bags and coats were shown. The exhibit will also show paintings of other FAAB members who were not able to join the trip.

Morales also said the project not only aims to use arts as a therapy for autistic (AU) individuals to help them express themselves better, improve their socialization skills, and advocate for themselves but also develop their inclination to arts as a possible source of income for them.

In a message he delivered in New York and shared by his father to the Baguio media, Justin said: “Our hearts are so full, being with all of you and witnessing our artworks featured in this very prestigious Guggenheim Museum. Your being here tonight gives us hope that Ma'am Linda Borromeo, Ma'am Lisa Sobrepena, and the rest of the board members, volunteers, and supporters of Autism Hearts Foundation (AHF) will be able to get more help and keep getting stronger so that they can help more people like me, like us back home in the Philippines, have a fighting chance in this world.”

Justin said “growing up, our only solace and safe space was our family, but when ma’am Linda and AHF came, our lives became more colorful like the artworks that we do. We are blessed that we can stand in front of you tonight. But there are more back home who do not have voices.”

He also said “they are powerless and pitiful. We want to help them too so that they become less of a burden to their families and the community,” Justine said.

The two-week trip will include a visit to the AHF Center in San Francisco before the group returns to the country on April 12. (PNA)