Jimmy Abelarde Jr. is a freelance festival artist based in Iloilo City.
The youngest of three siblings, the 29-year-old supports himself by being a self-employed cellphone technician working in a shopping mall downtown.
“At the age 20, I tried to be an independent individual to experience how to live without asking my parents for money to buy things I personally want,” he says.
Inspired by Ilonggo artist Joemel Mirabuena and the Tatsulok group of creatives, Abelarde turned to art.
“I found that I really enjoy painting. It is my way of expressing my thoughts and feelings, and I’m happy when I’ve made artworks that I really like,” he says. “You are the artist of your life. Don’t give the paintbrush to anyone else.”
Asked about his artwork for the Breath of Life Project, “MASKinahanglanon” (a pun on “Necessary” that incorporates the word “mask”), Abelarde explains: “I made this piece to make people aware that we need to be extra-careful, especially amid the pandemic. We should be observant in everything, we must be wise on how we spend our money. We should always wear a mask when leaving the house and observe proper hygiene.”