People today are expected to conform to society’s standards and be labelled based on certain aspects of their lives—whether it is their economic status, educational attainment, employment, or political and religious stand. Because of this, it is sometime onerous to be very vocal and accepting of one’s individuality. People, because of these socio-cultural impositions, tend to create a refuge where they can freely express themselves without external judgments and prejudices.

Visual artist Aileen Lanuza, currently making waves in the Southeast Asian contemporary art scene, sheds light on these refuges.

Continuing with her signature style of women clad in classic Filipiniana dresses who gazing alluringly towards their audience behind an assortment of flowers, Lanuza celebrates the beauty of uniqueness and individuality through her solo exhibit entitled “Sanctuary of Singularity” at Galerie Stephanie.

“There are layers to everything,” the UP Diliman alumna explains. “Visually, the process of painting every red rose does not begin with the application of just red. There is a Van dyke brown, earl grey, hues of magentas and oranges underneath to achieve that red. Much like a person, the facade of every individual, though it is unique in itself, [is made up of various layers]. There are stories that make you who you are. You achieve layers with age and experience.”

As Lanuza elicits a deeper analysis into the layers or stories that form what is beautiful, she likewise pushes the appreciation for composition. Remarkably potent in her piece “Ego Sum Integer” (I Am One And I Am Whole), which appears like a botanical chart of various species of flowers. This represents a garden of eccentricities, poetically producing a beautiful irony of finding fulfillment in the realization that peculiarities make them similar and different at the same time—same petal, same hue, same gender, but in reality an entirely different flower.

Lanuza (b. 1982), who graduated as cum laude in Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines, continues to achieve a lot throughout her 16 years in the art industry, having participated in more than 60 group shows all over the Philippines and various areas in Southeast Asia and Canada. Her works have also been auctioned off in various local and international auction houses. Initially stabilizing her career with bright and playful pop-culture references, she continues to manifest her impressionistic adeptness with her signature female figures in traditional-wear. Both her early and recent styles has graced publications like “A Treasury of Philippine Nudes”, “Laserati: Pictures of Asia”, “Rhythms: Philippine Dance on Canvas”, and “Filipino Artists in Their Studios (Vol.2)”. She continues to paint images of women and flowers as titular characters of her philosophies. “Sanctuary of Singularity” will be her seventh solo show.

“Sanctuary of Singularity” will hold its opening reception on May 15 (Wednesday), 6PM at Galerie Stephanie which is located at the 4th floor East Wing of Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong. The exhibit will be up for display until May 31, 2019. For inquiries kindly get in touch with the gallery via email at or call 940-5726.

(Text by Grace Micah Oreiro)