From Geishas to Princes: A Self–made Artist Pamela Gotangco text by Marz Aglipay
Most career artists are calculating about the direction of their entire artistic career, unlike some who are driven by the will o’ the wisp are fortunate to build an artistic career from scratch.
The Nueva Ecija–born Pamela Gotangco is a self taught artist with humble beginnings. She is currently based in Zurich, Switzerland where she does most of her creative work and flies home to Manila for exhibitions. Prior to being based in Zurich, Gotangco used to work in the airline industry from which she retired from in 2010. The artist then migrated to Zurich to be with her husband. During this period Gotangco sought out ways to busy herself until her husband suggested for her to re-explore her hobby painting.
It wasn’t long until works started to amass in their home that her husband suggested that she exhibit her works. Gotangco had her first solo exhibition titled “Spring Frolic” at ApART GrünKulturCafe in Zurich. “Spring Frolic” ran for a month where she experienced the satisfaction of her first artwork sale. After a taste of her first exhibition she actively made herself known as an artist from then on.
In building a body of works, she developed her signature style, a faceless geisha. Her works eventually took on a textured quality to it. Gotangco often painted soft and effeminate figures merged with mixed media that gave her pieces depth and texture. She then set herself up to exhibit work in platforms most budding artists aspire to be part of such as: Scope Art Show in Basel, Art International Zurich, Art Takes Times Square, an–out–of–gallery exhibit which turns New York’s billboards into digital canvases; and Art Shopping Carroussel du Louvre, an engagement which the artist regards as a time when her work was displayed in close proximity to the masters of Paris’ Louvre.
Returning to Her Roots Gontangco made it a point to share her work back home. Her first exhibition in Manila titled “Maryang Pinay” (2016) featured her avatar “Maria”, garbed in Filipiniana attire, interacting with different artists on a canvas– most of whom served as her artistic inspirations.
This year she donated a work from her Katutubo series, a traveling exhibition that features several indigenous women garbed in their traditional clothing, to her alma matter, Miriam College from where she graduated with a Bachelors degree in Communication. This was shortly followed by her comeback exhibition in Manila titled “Ligawan: Frogs, Fairy Tales, and Contemporary Romance” in Manila House which presented an overview of her ouevre. The exhibition included four of artwork series she is known for namely: The Geisha series, Filipiniana works inspired by Ligawan, Tinder Prince, and Katutubo. Her Katutubo series also made its way to Gallery A in Nueva Ecija where she had a homecoming exhibition.
This October Gotangco returns to Manila where she will present a new iteration of her Tinder Prince project titled “Prince Char.” This latest exhibit will be among the showcase pieces of ManilArt’s 2019 edition in SM Aura that takes place on October 10 – 14.