For San Francisco-based Filipino artist Marconi Calindas, art has become a way of promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) causes in the United States.
Just recently, Calindas created original paintings for the cover and inside pages of the book "Rainbow Bridges: A Community Guide to Rebuilding the Lives of LGBTI Refugees and Asylees."
Aside from the art Calindas created for the book, three of his other original pieces were also highlighted, namely "To Carry You," "Angels of San Francisco," and "You Are Welcome."
In a statement, Calindas said: “I am honored and very grateful for the wonderful opportunity to collaborate and contribute to the wonderful cause of this book project.”
“It’s very exhilarating to know that my art will also reach and hopefully inspire people around the globe to be more caring and considerate," he added.
Rainbow Bridges was published by the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM) International.
According to ORAM founder and executive director Neil Grungas, the 48-page book is a "groundbreaking" initiative for their group because it is the "only work ever published to guide queer and accepting communities in supporting LGBTI refugees and asylees."
ORAM said the guide provides realistic step-by-step guidance on welcoming new refugees, ensuring their mental and physical well-being, and helping them find support in their new communities.
The book also includes sample forms and a recommended code of conduct, housing, employment, and federal assistance.
“The refugees assisted had fled torture, severe harassment, and even execution in their countries of origin. Rainbow Bridges was enriched by the impassioned experiences of ORAM's partner organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond,” said ORAM
The group said the book has already been featured in major LGBTI magazines Outword and Instinct Magazine.
The book is available here.
Workshops for kids
Aside from helping out ORAM, Calindas has also been selected as one of the artists who will hold an exhibit and a workshop at the Children’s Creativity Museum in downtown San Francisco.
He said he will be holding two Saturday workshops for the kids during the "Pride Month" of June, a first for the museum.
The workshop, dubbed "The Rainbow Connection," will teach kids how to blend colors and create colorful masks and accessories complementing the festivities in June.
“This is another great opportunity for the LGBTI artists to contribute to the community. We should start with our children by sharing with them that rainbows and its colors are beautiful," he said. The rainbow has been widely used as a symbol by the LGBTI community.
Calindas has held several exhibitions in the US, some in New York City, Minneapolis, and Minnesota.
He is currently holding a solo exhibit at the Mezzanie Gallery inside Hotel Triton, a Kimpton Hotel in downtown San Francisco.
His exhibit “Colorful Expressions” will run from April 3 to June 5.
“While his subject matter varies from pop icons to triumphs of the human spirit, it’s the boldness of his visual vocabulary that holds the viewers' attention and continues to attract a widening audience," said San Franciso-based curator Matt McKinley of McKinley Art Studios.
Just last week, Calindas was interviewed by Outlook Video, a monthly public access cable program for LGBT, to talk about his current and future shows in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The interview will be aired on May 6.
For more information about Calindas, his website may be viewed here. - VVP, GMA News