Amihan Jumalon

Visual Artist

AB Philosophy 2004

What is it that you do now, professionally?

I paint.


Describe the relationship between what you do now and what you studied in ADZU.

Art and philosophy. Philosophy boosts art. I studied philosophy because I knew it would widen my art in terms of subject, ideas, meaning, and purpose.


Describe yourself as an artist.

I’m the artist who prefers to use her life stories as her subject matter.


Describe your process of creation.

I don’t normally work with preconceived ideas. My process is this: I face a blank canvas, and I decide what to draw first. Usually I draw a human figure first--random choices from my bucket of photos. Then once the first figure is drawn, I search for the next one in relation to the first one. Each figure determining the next. Every imagery determining the other. While in the sketching stage, my main concern is just the compositional aesthetics--the placements of figures and objects on the format. I believe that in starting a painting in this manner, the subconscious mind works in situating objects and imageries in their right places on the canvas while establishing my personal story there.


At what point of your life did you “decide” you will be an artist?

I don’t know. There was never a decision made. It just happened. Like, you never decide to have a nose. It’s just there.


What is next for you now? Immediate plans? Not-so-immediate plans?

A series of group and solo shows in manila next year. So I will be busy working this year. Also I’m planning to write/illustrate a book with Bendix (Amihan’s spouse) in memory of our second son.


Can you tell me more about this book project?

Bendix writes a story around/through several Chavacano riddles; I will illustrate it. We’re also looking for Zamboanga myths that we can adapt and illustrate. Bendix thinks in English so he will write it in English and we'll have it translated to proper Chavacano later. That’s the plan. We’re still finalizing stuff.

We’re looking into getting grants somewhere (to fund the project). We’re actually groping because we've never done anything like this before. We’d welcome any help and suggestion, referrals, etc..


About the group/solo exhibit, what can we look forward to from you?

I will be showing some drawings this time. Not paintings. I’ve been doing paintings my whole life! I’m bored. Drawing is a new challenge, and easier for me because I have more control over and closer contact with the material. There’s a lot of finger rubbing involved.


You’ve lived for a long time here in Zamboanga. In what way does that inform your work?

I guess, my works especially the recent ones have a Zamboanga feel. I don’t want to be literal about portraying Zamboanga in my art, so you never see me paint the city hall, the tree house, etc.. I don’t use Muslim-inspired motifs. Instead I’m trying to get in my subconscious mind because I know that’s where the stories reside. Being here for a long time, I have become Zamboanga. So whatever comes out of me is Zamboanga. My personal life includes a great deal of Zamboanga.


Describe yourself as an Ateneo student.

As a student? I could not conform to a few school rules. Like wearing of uniform. I couldn’t stomach it. I guess because I was KSP, I wanted to stand out. I had difficulty fitting in the system and following authority. I don’t know why.


Best memories of your ADZU life.

When I was with Sanggunian (the student government of the colleges) as Culture and Arts head. The arts projects I spearheaded were fun. Also, when we did the NO EXIT play in 2003. And boyfriend galore. I only had one but it's like a festival.


Memorable persons while you were at school – teachers, classmates, etc..

Father Bill (Kreutz)! My confidant, adviser, and friend. Mellanie Marquez (former Campus Ministry director), for being there when I had family and love life issues. Sir Shing (Balatbat, head of Office of Scholarships), for understanding my mischief and not taking away my scholarship.


Comment on art culture within ADZU.

ADZU has been doing a good job in establishing cultural and art awareness within the campus. I love the way the school gives way to projects that help establish this. I can only talk about the art part since that’s what I have mostly observed. The gallery has been hardworking in launching exhibits consistently but I guess we need to elevate our exhibitions. The Ateneo community deserves to see more art, and better art; invite more artists to diversify the art scene. 


How about the art scene in the city, in general.

Looks like Zamboanga hasn’t grown in terms of art. We still paint Vintas, fishes, flowers, the city hall, Fort Pilar shrine, the tree house AS THEY ARE.I guess it has something to do with economics. We paint vintas, etc. because it sells easily. But art isn’t just about selling right? We need an intellectual overhaul and change of state-of-mind.


What do you know now that you wish you knew as a student?

"To take life as it comes with great courage." No hard planning for the future. Dream but be loose.



ADZU 15 Questions is a Q & A series with ADZU alumni. As you can already guess, alumni will be asked 15 questions about their present lives as well as their lives during their time as an ADZU student.


This interview was conducted by ADZU communications officer Yen Blanco-Delgado via Facebook chat on June 4, 2015.


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