“I always see the world through colour, although my vision, perspective and paintings are constantly influenced by new ideas and changing environments. I feel like I am an ambassador of colours, always projecting a positive mood that helps make the world smile.” – Pacita Abad
Pacita Abad (1946–2004) was born in Batanes, Philippines. Her more-than-thirty-year painting career began when she journeyed to the United States to undertake her graduate studies. She studied painting at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and The Art Students League in New York City, and then started to “paint the globe” based on her experiences living in 5 different continents and working in more than 80 countries. Pacita’s extensive travels to exotic destinations like Guatemala, Mexico, India, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan, Mali, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, and Indonesia, had a major impact on her life and were the inspiration for many ideas, techniques, and materials in her paintings.
Abad’s paintings are characterised by vibrant colours, constant change, experimentation, and development. Her early paintings were primarily socio-political works of people, primitive masks, underwater scenes, and tropical flowers. Her most extensive body of work, however, is her vibrantly colourful abstract paintings – experimenting with a wide variety of materials, from paper pulp and prints to bark cloth, metal, ceramics, and glass.
A disciplined and prolific painter, Abad created over 5,000 artworks. She painted a 55-meter long Alkaff Bridge in Singapore and covered it with 2,350 multicoloured circles, just a few months before she passed away. Abad had more than 60 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 70 group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the U.S., Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America. Her works are now in public, corporate and private art collections in over 70 countries. Some of her public collections include Singapore Art Museum, Metro Center Subway Station Washington D. C., Citibank Hong Kong, Unicef New York, and the National Museums of Sri Lanka, Cuba, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, as well as Korea.
Her residency with STPI in 2003 has produced a body of work that reflects her passion for life, lively mindscapes, and her great faith in humanity. Abad created over 50 exhilarating works which utilised the techniques of lithography, intaglio, relief printing, silkscreen and hand-coloured paper pulp; with selected works exhibited in Pacita Abad: Circles in my Mind, STPI Gallery, Singapore (2003).