Just like any normal Filipinos abroad, Jeanelyn Jarder or ‘Ji’, as known in the Filipino community, she has first experienced the valley of tears or the sorrows of life.
Widely popular as a mixed media visual artist and a fashion designer, Ji’s obras are now significantly displayed in international painting exhibitions in and out of Dubai’s emirate. She recently exhibited her paintings in the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai and Fashunity, an event organized by the local government Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department (IACAD).
In an exclusive interview with The Global Filipino Magazine, we get to know more Ji.
Aside from being an artist, who is Ji?
I am the eldest among the three siblings and raised in Bacolod but originally from Negros Occidental. I got an early degree of Bachelor of Arts in English but eventually, I finished the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts major in interior design at La Consolacion College.
How did you become an artist?
I was taught to help my mom who used to own a tailoring shop in the Philippines. I had a chance to practice my profession back home and independently I was able to start my own small business.
How will you describe mixed media visual art?
What I do is mixed media visual art. I use different types of materials for my art. I use paper mache, I grind paper or newspaper, pistachio, nuts, among other things.
The process of making a piece is sometimes easy and difficult. It depends on my mood. Sometimes it takes a week to come up with an idea and I listed all the ideas I got when I woke-up. It’s like an artist’s journal.
What made you decide to work abroad?
Dubai is not actually my first destination. I worked in Hong Kong for a year. It was the late 1990s when there’s a fad of going abroad so I have thought that I would earn more if I work overseas. And then I went to Dubai. I was really not lucky at first as I was duped or you can say trafficked because someone promised me that I will be getting a job here. But there wasn’t. I had worked on a part-time basis with AED 10 per hour wage. I walked along the Jumeirah Beach road seeking on a Ramadan, it was too sunny and I only had a bottle of water to survive the day.
With so many obstacles, I finally found a permanent job which was a salesperson, and eventually, I became a showroom’s manager.
What are the highlights of your career abroad?
One was when I met Philippine Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes and Madam Yasmin. They opened a door for me to do a solo exhibit in the consulate. I also got to participate in Fashunity 2018 which was organized by the government of Dubai. In the same year, I was also nominated as the Artist of the Year in a Filipino magazine.
The recent exhibit I joined was the Global Women Summit 2019 which was organized by Sheik Juma bin Ahmed Al Maktoum. I was alongside eight other internationally-acclaimed visual artists. I also had the opportunity to showcase the dresses using hablon cloth or a handwoven fabric from Western Visayas and also our very own pineapple fiber cloth.
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