THE fable about creating 1,000 paper cranes to have a wish fulfilled was popularized in East Asian cultures for centuries, and the power behind the story has led many to create small cranes each and every day in honor of this story.

    For Jo Balbarona, the motif of the crane is a deeply personal symbol. Legend has it that a wish will be granted to anyone who folds and hangs 1,000 origami cranes (a Senbazuru); culturally, these wishes are often used to ask for health. The artist created the Senbazuru as a meditative practice to cope with personal difficulties and struggles, as well as to share her meditative healing experience of creating these pieces to theviewers.

    Balbarona’s execution of her works depicts the delicate nature of the origami crane, and the illusion becoming real as the cranes take on character, personality, and life. Their individualization is defined not only by their outward appearance, as each crane seemingly personifies different states of being. In a precisely realistic style, the artist renders the paper birds in a variety of patterns and colors and stages them in piles; offering a strong visual metaphor of the phrase “there is power in numbers and there is power in unity”, a statement of solidarity especially in trying times.

    Joan Antonio Balbarona, a self-taught artist, was born on March 8, 1977 in Hindang, Leyte. She studied Food Science and Technology at UP Los Baños. Joan has worked as a 3D animator and video editor, and now is a full-time artist. In 2013, she had the chance to study at the Art Students League of New York, under the tutelage of the well-known abstractionist Ronnie Landfield. She was one of the finalists in the non-representational category in the 2017 GSIS national art competition for her abstract “AngPagtangis ng mgaIbong Pipit”. She was also a finalist in 2017 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence for her sculpture entitled “The Colony”.

    “Senbazuru” by Jo Balbarona will be on view from September 6 to 15, 2019 with the Artist Reception scheduled for Wednesday, September 11 at 6PM. The gallery is located on the 3rd level of The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.