The brilliant colors of the African savanna and the rich culture of the Maasai people of Kenya provide inspiration to visual art newcomer Isabel Campa.

Lively close-ups of grazing animals, Maasai faces, and the flora of the Kenyan grasslands form the foundation of her tightly-curated oeuvre and heralds the career of an emerging artist with a firm grasp of technical nous that blends in brilliantly with her conceptual approach. Watercolor paintings of water buffalos, elephants, flowers, and Maasai children imbue this series with an emotional element that will undoubtedly serve to define her career.

Isabel Campa’s first one-woman show, entitled Savanna, will open at Galerie Stephanie on February 25 at 6:30PM. The exhibition is another effort by Galerie Stephanie to bridge the gap between Modern and Contemporary visual art—an endeavor which has seen the gallery become one of the foremost art spaces in the country today. 

The difficult-to-control medium of watercolor forms the basis of Campa’s works. That she masters the medium is an extraordinary achievement in itself, showing her strong technical orientation. Campa prefers macro compositions, giving her audience a close-up of the personages and fauna of the Kenyan savanna. Baby Elephant is a fine example of this: Campa frames the little pachyderm clutching onto his mother’s tail in a tender moment that brings the denizens of the wild closer to the audience—almost as if they were on safari. Two Elephants is another such example of pachyderms in a tender moment, caught in a macro composition as if communicating through touching foreheads. Orange Poppy is Campa’s approach to flora compositions, using the bright colorization of African flora to brighten up the arrangement.

Indeed, it is characteristic of Isabel Campa, a mother of four children, to use nurturing themes in her compositions. After studying in the US, the intrepid painter later became an interior design consultant, studying at the Philippine School of Interior Design. Her flair for patterns also served her well in her watercolor training under the renowned Carlos Ygoa and Johnny Ventosa. She continues to hone her practice through participation in the Monday Art Group, led by Roland Santos. Campa is particularly drawn to watercolor because of the medium’s ability to flow in transparency, creating highly nuanced and delicate works.

The vibrancy that is present in her oeuvre is a fantastic characteristic in her burgeoning career. Indeed, Campa’s grasp of the medium is a defining element of a practice that is sure to gain traction in the years ahead.