dante enageArt keeps him alive.
Known visual and tuba (coconut wine) artist Dante Enage of Tacloban City keeps his passion close to his heart after supertyphoon Yolanda pounded his entire neighborhood in barangay San Jose November 8 last year, wiping out also his material possessions to include his masterpieces he have had for years in his rented room.
“It’s back to basic, back to zero now.  But I am starting to pick up the pieces again,” Enage said, adding that as months went by he has to continue doing what he loves to do—painting–not only to support his family but also as “a tribute to friends and neighbors who died during the typhoon.”
Enage said that after he managed to take a ride on the Philippine Navy boat going to Cebu together with his family to escape from the city’s devastation and stench of death few days after Yolanda, he then returned to the city to continue his craft.
“I went back to sketch pad and ball pen after Yolanda wiped out my art materials. Those were the things I could afford during those days,” he said.
“I have to paint to heal myself, too. I want to do something; I don’t want to get stuck.I have to paint again. There are just so many stories to tell after Yolanda. I want to pour out what goes inside of me; the experiences; the pain. Namatayan man ak usa ka sangkay (I have one dear friend who died),” the 42-year old painter added.
His friend, tattoo artist and Kadangyan bassist Agit Sustento, together with his wife and other family members, perished when Yolanda hit the city. His 3-year old son Tarin is still missing.
In the city, Enage spends his time going around his neighborhood doing sketches and painting as a way of recording the stories of the survivors, visualizing on how survivors felt when they saw their friends drowning and how they looked at the debris and destruction around them.
He expressed thanks to the many people who helped rebuild his city and those who supported local artists by buying their works.
Asked on what is there to hope for in the future, Enage said he wants that art and artists in the city will continue to flourish in spite of the tragedy.
For this he is looking forward to organize art workshops and join exhibits.
Last February 18 to March 14, Enage joined his fellow artists from Kasikasi Art Association of Tacloban to stage “PITAD: Art after Yolanda” at Adamson University.
“I’m excited to see my gallery again. I hope I can rebuild it soon,” Enage added, this as he started on the reconstruction of his own modest gallery in his rented home.
While doing this, Enage says he also inspired to do more now.
Enage specialized on the use of mixed media, coffee or tuba in his artworks.
He was one of the eight Filipino artists who represented the country during 2013 Art Expo Malaysia (AEM) in Kuala Lumpur. Also he was once a first place winner of the country’s prestigious Philippine Visual Arts Festival. (RONALD O.REYES)