An artist for others

Ace June Rell S. Perez

BLOOM where you were planted.

Many may think that getting out from the comforts of your small town and working in a bigger city would mean success. But this 36-year-old artist from Lupon, Davao Oriental chose to go against the current and decide to bloom where her roots are.

After nine productive years of working in the cruise industry, Rizi Dame Briz, went home, left her career and pursued her life’s ultimate dream – to be a full-time artist and be an inspiration to the youth.

Her move, indeed, is a work of courage and a sacrifice.

“I finally braved it to focus with my art and leave my full-time job because all my siblings already have work, I kind of helped them financed their studies before, now I want to pursue my passion,” she said.

Briz, who just mounted her first-ever art exhibit during the 29th ArawngLupon at the municipal hall, said that after she left her work in 2015 and took a rest for almost two years, she is now more ready to dance and explore deeper the art world.

Her first exhibit was also participated by student and teacher artists from private and public schools in Lupon. Most of these young artists are her students in her free art class.

Art inside her

Raised from an art-inclined family, Briz shared that she started sketching when she was still five years old. She said her father and uncle are her inspiration.

But this young artist admitted that she had no formal professional training in art. She learned it her way through reading art books, watching videos, and talking with other artists.

“In art, there are no rules but it requires discipline. You cannot really make a good art if you don’t have the discipline and if you don’t enjoy the freedom. Yes, it is that ironic,” she shared.

Briz prefers charcoal as her medium.

“I like the depth of its blackness, I like black and white. I keep asking myself, where is the color of my art? Probably, I think it’s in the crafts I make because I am also into making friendship bands, tassel earrings, etc.,” she said. But she's also exploring other media and forms.

“Up until now I still consider myself as practicing, learning and exploring art,” she said. As a cruise ship worker, she sold navigational charts to earn extra.

Establishing an art community

Briz narrated that when she was still young, she had no access to any art class. With this, she started her own art class to give young artists in their town access in learning more about arts, which she failed to have when she was younger.

“I’m doing this because I want to give back to the community. I want to gather the young artists who want to pursue their dreams,” she said. She also uses her art to encourage those who have the talent.

“Sometimes, people would discourage you to pursue art, because it is not practical. No, that is what I want to change, I want them to believe that they can be someone, someday and achieve something, someday,” Briz shared.

The 30-year-old artist already had two meetings with some 20 students, the next session will be in September. She intends to do the art class monthly.

She added that her art classes were also made possible by sponsors who are giving art materials to be used during the classes.

Recovering thru Art

Briz also is set to visit the war-torn Marawi City maybe in September and October to be part of a free art class sponsored by a Manila-based company owned by her fellow Luponian.

“So it (art class) will be in the evacuation centers,” she said.

The Marawi art class will be composed of 10 artists who will be sharing their talents to the victims of the conflict.

She emphasized that if there’s one thing she realize during her journey, it is but the inescapable truth that one should bloom where he/she is planted, that home is where one’s kingdom is.

“If it is dark, it means you are planted, you just have to find ways to grow in that soil and bloom, which is what I’m doing now,” she said.