Liwanag by Aze Ong



The Cultural Center of the Philippines 


Opening reception: 10 December 2015, Thursday, 6pm
Artists’ Talk: 14 January 2016, Thursday, 4pm
Exhibit duration: 10 December 2015 to 7 February 2016
Bulwagang Carlos V. Francisco (Little Theater Lobby)



"I experience a similar transformation and go thru a ‘change of form’ if you will…as if inside a cocoon, in darkness and at rest…something akin to a blank stage…“trancelike” as flashes of brightness starts manifesting…awakening from the self, to changeand  bathe in Light and colors through my wings.”


Butterflies go through a life cycle known as complete metamorphosis. In the life history of an organism, it is a change in form from one stage to the next. A person can experience similar phases in life, though not physically. 


Aze Ong’s art practice is about her emotions and her perpetual reflections on both past and new experiences. It is composed of the various stages in her life cycle that asserts itself on all circumstances. It is an ardent mining of resources afforded by experience, used as a means to confront her many extreme emotions. 


“Liwanag”, which means enlightenment, is her current project that is the next stage in Ong’s phase in life. After undergoing numerous trials, the artist navigated through depression to find strength within her art. Through crochet she found inner peace. By tapping into her experiences she found spiritual freedom, a sanctuary where her thoughts and expressions came to life in her art. 


The repetitiveness of the process and the feeling of accomplishment gave her a fulfillment. (A private ritual that heals her heart, mind and soul). Ong now shares her process by volunteering and participating with workshops that touch on inspiration and healing. It is a part of her art journey. It is her way of sharing.


To shine a light on Ong’s practice is to recognize her passion for her process-oriented art-making. Ong learned to crochet while taking classes at Assumption Antipolo. After realizing that her teacher and a majority of the class were right handed, she felt that she was disadvantaged by being left-handed herself. However she persevered and eventually excelled by following her intuition and emotion.


In 1999, Ong decided to volunteer for the Associate Missionaries of the Assumption and taught at the Xavier de Kibangay High School in Lantapan Bukidnon for a year. Most of her students were part of the Talaandig tribe, an indegenous group found in the barangays and municipalities surrounding the mountain of Kitanglad. However she discovered that unlike their ancestors, her students were becoming more and more exposed to modern culture. Because of this, she initiated projects for them that focused on their traditional culture, their rituals, dances, and their way of life.


Life was challenging but simple. Although it took her out of her comfort zone, Ong felt at home living on sparse conditions such as relying on the rain for bathing and other needs.


A dacade later, Ong looks back at the three important aspects of her time with the Talaandig tribe:


First was her attraction to their traditional attire. Upon asking an elder about the cost, she was informed that they had to know the wearer thougroughly in order to be guided by spirits in choosing the right colors and embroidered patterns. This taught her to value her creations.


The second was when a student taught her to play the tribal flute. She came up with her own diagram while trying to recreate their melodies,. She realized that the melodies could not be repeated and that the music was innate within them.


The third was during a celebration where a “Binanog” dance mimicking birds flying was performed. This would have an impact and influence on her future performances.


In 2010 she met her would-be mentor, sculptor and mixed media artist Lirio Salvador. Salvador told her that what she was doing was “art” and encouraged and guided her. She found her true inescapable passion.


Ong’s process is intuitive. Her studio floor is littered with yarns of various colors and textures which she selects from, depending on her mood. Working mostly with circular forms as if to signify the infinite, she draws inspiration from her interactions and experiences. Like her phases in life, her ideas flows incessantly towards the Light that leads her. It is a cycle of pain, healing, joy, consciousness, awareness and eventually, enlightenment (Liwanag).


Ged Merino 

NYC 2015


Viewing hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm. For more information, contact the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division, Production and Exhibition Department at 8321125 loc. 1504/1505, or email