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Filipino artist asks for help to retrieve missing artworks in Dubai

/ 07:12 PM August 01, 2019

An award-winning Filipino artist is asking the public for help to locate his artworks that he had to leave behind in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Darwin Guevarra had left some of his artworks in Dubai when he had to suddenly return home to the Philippines in 2015.

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He said he already asked for assistance from the concerned agencies of the government (names of the offices withheld upon request of Guevarra) about the issue but to no avail, as per his Facebook post last Saturday, July 27.

My Lost artworks in Dubai UAEInihingi ko ito ng tulong noon…sa Philippine Embassy at Philippine Consulate… Turuan…

Darwin Japat Guevarra 发布于 2019年7月27日周六

Guevarra was active in the Dubai art scene during his 12 years of living there. He had participated in his first group show in 2006 and later on went to have his own solo shows.

He won second prize in the mixed-media category of the Red Bull Art Competition in the UAE in 2006. He also won the grand prize for fine arts in the Dubai Shaikha Manal New Signatures Young Artist Award in 2008.

In the midst of his rising acclaim in the Dubai art scene, his family in the Philippines faced problems back in April 2015. This necessitated his return to his family, but he was unable to, due to a problem with his visa transfer. The visa problem led him to overstay in Dubai, he told INQUIRER.net in an interview yesterday, July 31. 

After paying his fines for overstaying, he was finally able to return to the Philippines in October of the same year. He was not able to bring all his artworks with him on the flight back. He left some with his friends, who stored these on a rooftop of a villa they lived in. He left behind a total of 15 artworks in Dubai.

Those artworks showed human figures incorporated with machine-like elements and clocks of different sizes. He said the theme revolved around how people can become slaves of time.

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Things took a turn for the worse when his friends were made to vacate the villa; the artworks were thus left behind on the rooftop in the process. Guevarra’s colleagues later returned to the villa to retrieve the artworks from the villa’s caretaker. The caretaker refused to hand them over, saying that they still had fees to pay. The artist’s friends refused to pay but Guevarra volunteered to shoulder the costs just to get his artworks back.

The caretaker still refused the offer. Guevarra persisted in contacting the caretaker despite already being based in the Philippines again, but still his efforts were unsuccessful. He said the caretaker had become impossible to contact later on, leading him to lose hope.

Regardless of how the events unfolded, Guevarra was still determined to retrieve his work. He was set to return to Dubai in 2016. Unfortunately, the trip did not push through due to problems with his past issue of overstaying the year prior. He said he took this as a sign from God to stay in the Philippines.

Guevarra continues to be active in the art scene in the Philippines. He has had various solo shows for his art, with his most recent one held last March 25 to April 3 in Mandaluyong City.

Despite his success in the Philippines, Guevarra still hopes to be reunited with his 15 artworks left in Dubai. JB

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TAGS: artist, artworks, Dubai, Overstaying, United Arab Emirates
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