Art is not just about colorful things. It’s also about how lives are affected by it.
For Larry Carumba, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Saudi Arabia, being highly inquisitive, which in his intuition, will guide him to succeed in life. Working in the Kingdom for 29 years now, currently, he works as a corporate secretary for a medical company in the morning and a visual artist at night.
“Since my company is dominated by Arabs, I know for a fact that my career will stagnate forever and will never have an opportunity to level up my life and my meager salary will not suffice to fulfill my dreams,” he said adding that he had to hone and use his ‘street smart’ skills to self-upgrade.
As a person who never stops learning, he painstakingly enhanced his potential as a self-taught artist for 18 years after which unknowingly he already penetrated the world of art and the start of his unstoppable fame, influence, and fortune until this time.
Believing that art is too important not to share, over the years, he was accorded with the following accolades: Bagong Bayani for Culture and the Arts, Most Outstanding Filipino for Visual Arts and Culture in the Gulf countries, included in Illustrado’s 300 Most Influential Filipinos in the Gulf, top three at The Filipino Times Awards for Visual Arts, a two-time champion in art competitions and various citations and awards from private organizations and government sectors local and abroad.
“Perhaps destiny dictates. I dream high and don’t settle for less,” he said. Carumba added that he embarked on an overseas life to elevate economically and fulfill his dreams to have a luxurious life out of his hard-earned money.
“To venture abroad is a risk and your future will depend on it whether you succeed or fail,” he said. He recalled failing at the beginning but due to his determination to succeed, he did not go home for a decade. “I sacrificed, worked harder, and stay focused on my dreams that one day at the right time and place, success will be at my side. And the time came 9 years ago,” he further added.
Before working abroad, his former jobs include restaurant cleaner, vessel checker, delivery boy, librarian, among others.
Life in the Philippines
Life is a struggle before he went abroad. Born in a lesser privileged society, after graduating, he went to Manila and left his life in Bacolod.
Like an art full of tragedies, he also went through a series of misfortunes, including getting kicked out from his relative’s apartment, job rejections, living in a slum area, scrapping food to survive, and sleeping in Luneta. However, his burning desire to succeed in life dominated. These struggles did not hinder his determination to succeed. “I said to myself, as long as I am in good health and alive, things will get better somehow someday,” he said noting that he met friends along the way who helped him find a stable job.
Art with a Heart
With his influence in the OFW community and Arab elite art society and other international art patrons, the international visual artist is able to connect and participate in various charitable causes. Through his art, he auctions paintings, and their proceeds are channeled to less fortunate OFWs and Filipinos in the Philippines. Students, orphans, the elderly, and refugees are among the recipient of the proceeds.
He also participates in civic activities such as saving the environment through clean-up drives along the beaches in Saudi Arabia.
Carumba’s advice to Filipinos is to be a wise spender and think several times before they let go of their hard-earned money.
“Connect with successful people. They will guide you to success the way they succeeded in life because if you have nothing and you connect with nothing also, how can they help you succeed? Don’t be too trusting because they are good to you especially those new to your life. But give space to prove themselves that they are worth your trust,” he further added.
This story has been featured on the sixth issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.