They say that an artist is born and not made; every experience contributes to who he/she is as a person to develop his/her own techniques and concepts for his/her self-expression. A born artist, Jeffrey is unlike any other kids. He has an exceptional knack for colors and paint media. Through art, he gives colors to the ones that he has lost in life. Jeffrey won 2nd place at the recently concluded World Day Against Child Labour Art Painting Contest at Rizal Park last June 17, 2017. His work had been selected among the 20+ works created by children like him.
When asked what did he draw in the painting contest, he said that it was a child wearing a tattered uniform crucified to a wooden cross with pencil on one hand and a big nail on the other. His interpretation for this is that children are trapped in labor and cannot access quality education and good standard of living. They didn’t have access to opportunities because they are continuously oppressed. His work along with the other two winners would be displayed in the National Youth Commissioner’s Office, Aiza Seguerra.
Jeffrey is a child from Ella Yallah. His story before Virlanie was a story of poverty and heartache. His mother was imprisoned due to shoplifting for a food that could feed her sons. Jeffrey and his brother, Benzar was brought to the police station by their stepfather to visit their mother. However, when it was time to pick them up, no one showed up. They were abandoned by their supposed father figure.
With the sudden turn of events, an already vague image was made more abstract with the removal of colors and the sudden sharp down strokes. Young as 4 and 6 respectively, Jeffrey and Bryan spent many nights in the Police Station. At this young age, they had to face life’s uncertainty. They stayed in the police station until processes and papers were secured to surrender them to the Reception Action Center(RAC).
For an artist, blending is the tapering of finishes or colors so slight differences cannot be distinguished—merging one color into another. This is achieved by allowing some of the old finish to show through the new color. Life’s colors suddenly blended in when Jeffrey and Benzar were turned over to Virlanie from the custody of the Reception Action Center last October 2005. This chapter of his life marked the introduction of new colors he is starting.
Twelve years have passed, Jeffrey has evolved to be a responsible young adult. He has retouched his life and has become one of the leaders of the young adults in Virlanie. He has also been performing well in formal school. Not only does he have an inclination towards painting but he also has interest in music. His interest towards painting can be seen in his participation in SiBuHi activities.
Jeffrey’s holistic development is thanks to a team of house parents, social workers, psychologists, medical professionals and teachers who work together to give the opportunities that every Virlanie child needs. Powered by your support, Jeffrey along with other kids can practice their skills, achieve their dreams and even advocate for children’s rights through their creations.