Artist of calado embroidery Araceli Dans, 95

LEON GALLERY FACEBOOK PAGE

ARTIST Araceli Limcaco Dans, the Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee known for her paintings of intricate calado embroidery, died on May 18 at the age of 95. Her son Benjo confirmed the news in a Facebook post.

“Early on Saturday morning, my mom finally earned her angel wings and passed away. She leaves a void in our hearts that are also overflowing with so much love,” he said.

The wake is being held at the Arlington Memorial Chapel, Araneta Ave., Quezon City, with the inurnment scheduled for May 22 in the morning.

“It is true that our collective hearts have broken into a thousand pieces over you, but we don’t want to feel any other way because it is a small price for the experience of your love,” her son continued.

Born in 1929, Mrs. Dans was known for her realistic art. Her work caught the eye of National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, who became her mentor and allowed her to enroll at the University of the Philippines’ Fine Arts Department. There, she was among eminent artists like professor and sculptor Guillermo Tolentino (a National Artist for Sculpture) and classmates Napoleon Abueva (later designated a National Artist for Sculpture), Larry Alcala (National Artist for Visual Arts), and Juvenal Sansô, among others.

Her acclaimed works were the calado still life series in watercolor and oil featuring embroidered pineapple- or banana-fiber textiles, flowers, and household objects. Some of her paintings are displayed at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Mrs. Dans was also a renowned art educator.

In 1950 she founded the Philippine Women’s University’s (PWU) Department of Fine Arts, which she headed for 13 years. In 1963, she moved to the Ateneo de Manila University, where she reorganized the grade school art program.

In 1968, she founded the Philippine Art Educators Association with her colleague Brenda Fajardo. She even developed a television series on art education targeting grade school children.

In a social media tribute, Leon Gallery described her as having “a unique affinity for capturing the human soul.” The gallery cited her diverse personal experiences during World War II as a driving force behind the themes in her art, spanning “deep emotions such as nostalgia, love, longing, and loss.

“Her effervescent style tugs at the heartstrings, silently narrating an ode that can melt even the hardest hearts,” said Leon Gallery.

Fellow artist Imelda Cajipe-Endaya gave her own Facebook tribute to Mrs. Dans. Referring to Mrs. Dans by her nickname “Cheloy,” Ms. Cajipe-Endaya said she was an “artist, teacher, mother, grandmother, friend to many, and an amazing leader in art and education.” — Brontë H. Lacsamana