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Anna Bautista transforms the Terno into a modern woman’s suit of armor

Inspired by the empowered women in her life, Anna Bautista presents her vision for the modern Filipina. 

Vibrant colors, exuberant women, and the Philippine Terno take center stage in “Redefinition,” visual artist Anna Bautista’s 6th solo exhibition. The portraits exude a buoyant and dynamic energy, amplified by vibrant colors and lush flora. 

However, a closer look at the artwork reveals more. Specific visual elements—each corresponding to a certain field or profession—are “sewn” into the cloth of the modern ternos, referring to the names of the portraits themselves. 

Painterly brushstrokes characterize Bautista’s work; her art style, which she describes as “the application of patches of color that build up to a bigger picture,” alludes to her “view of life as an amalgamation of incremental moments and experiences that make up time.”

Using the Philippine Terno as a visual device to represent this evolution, Bautista reimagines the traditional garment as the modern woman’s suit of armor, with its butterfly wings built for flight. 

“The exhibit was inspired by how Filipina women have evolved [through time.] I wanted to celebrate the modern Filipina [and] hopefully help move away from the old stigma of the ‘Maria Clara.’ Traditional textbooks [often] depict them as merely meant for the household,” shares the artist. 

Bautista’s modern Filipina is a strong woman who is free to be who she wants to be. She is not defined by her gender; she is empathetic, determined, kind, and hardworking. She earns her keep, and she is ever-evolving. 

“Gone are the days where society and textbooks have dictated the roles of a woman. The modern Filipina is in charge of her own destiny,” she stresses.

Exemplifying this ethos best is the piece entitled “You Are Free To Be.” The painting depicts women in motion—most of them jumping up—to represent the spirit of constant evolution and soaring for greater height. Each woman represents a specific field, including culture, medicine, and the like. 

Bautista also draws inspiration from the stories and journeys of the women in her life. “I [am] very fortunate enough that I grew up in a house full of working women. [They] all inspired me and showed that women can and are capable [of leading] in the workforce, or [in] any other field [that] they choose to be in.”

Just like the women in her artwork, Bautista sees herself as an artist and Filipino who is not bound by her gender. “I see myself not being sorry or ashamed to be a woman. I wish to create more meaningful work with more depth, regardless of [the] canvas or medium.”

In her previous exhibitions and works, Bautista has explored the concepts of time, culture, and philosophy, and how these elements are connected and constantly responding to each other. She continues this inquiry in “Redefinition,” albeit with an additional layer.  

“This [exhibit is for the modern Filipina, and the women who have inspired me]. I guess this is what makes [‘Redefinition’] distinguishable from the previous ones: it’s my most personal one yet,” she adds. 

Bautista shares that it still feels surreal to see her exhibit at the León Gallery. “I have very vivid memories of [going] to the gallery when I was much younger. [I always dreamt that] one day, I [would] have a piece up on their walls. I can’t help [feeling] ecstatic to have this [sixth solo exhibition here.]”

More things are up ahead for the visual artist, who is already working on a new exhibit that is set to come out next year. “I’m extremely excited about [this future project.] Hope you can stay tuned for that!” 


“Redefinition” by Anna Bautista is co-presented by the León Gallery International and DF Art Agency. The show will run until July 30, 2022. Visitors may view the exhibit at the León Gallery International, located at G/FCorinthian Plaza, 121 Paseo de Roxas, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila. The gallery is open from 11AM to 5:30PM. Health and safety protocols will be strictly observed. 

For more information about the artist, you may check out her portfolio on Instagram at @annabautiportfolio

Click on the following links to visit the official websites of the León Gallery & León Gallery International, You may also access their official Facebook and Instagram accounts at @leongallerymakati. Reach out to them at info@leon-gallery.com, (02) 846 7416  or (02) 856 2781.
Click on this link to visit the official website of DF Art Agency. You may also access their official Facebook and Instagram accounts at @df_artagency. Contact the agency at artagencydf@gmail.com or (+63) 915 216 3684.