Brandon Braza is an emerging young artist from Bacolod City. In 2019, Braza graduated senior high school with a major in Arts and Design but decided to pause pursuing a degree to explore his art. Currently, with three years of practice, he now has thirteen exhibitions under his belt.
To add to his list of shows, Braza was invited along with a roster of Negrense artists to a group exhibition entitled Dasun last December 2020. Dasun is organized by Orange Project and Art District as part of the many events that were prepared for the longest-running art festival in the Philippines: Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (VIVA ExCon).
For Braza, Dasun connotes continuity, introspecting on your image, and trying to grow as a person. Dasun means asking, “what’s next?” and opening up a new chapter. Dasun assures us that there is tomorrow, and as long as there is tomorrow, there is hope.
That is why the artist shifts the gaze back to the audience with his set of works, Reflecting on my Reflection.
Each of his pieces heavily incorporates mirrors, a common object that is almost essential to day-to-day living. Surrounded by objects usually found in an average Filipino home, like hardwood furnishing and tropical house plants; his work creates an atmosphere of familiarity and, to an extent, comfort. The comfort helps that audience settle in front of the pieces long enough to notice the surreal elements that each piece carries while the surreal elements push you to confront yourself.
The first piece is a wooden box with a hardwood door, not unlike the front doors of Filipino houses, inside reveals a mirror and a switch. Flip the switch, and you are shown an infinity of your image reflected at you, with the question, “Are you who you want to be?”
This is inspired by the artist’s experience of staring into a mirror and having the sensation of stepping out of himself, to look at the entirety of his being. It was an experience where he got to assess his life and where he is heading.
Another piece is mirrored with plants growing in the middle of it, shooting through the glass. The artist notes that it is symbolic of how sometimes, a person tends only to notice dramatic growth but often neglects to see gradual growth.
To him, growth can happen in any environment just as a plant can push its way through a mirror’s glass. A mirror is a tangible medium that suggests introspection. Braza wants the audience to take their time with his pieces, saying that although he has no control over the audience’s experience with his creation, perhaps the audience can have control over their creations and perceptions of their image, whatever it may be.
Braza grew up in a home with grandparents who are seamstresses and woodworkers. He took time to learn his grandparent’s crafts, keeping in mind that he needs to take them up while still in his youth. To him, woodwork and other crafts have always been a chance to keep the hands busy and the mind clear.
Brandon Braza’s works are well crafted, deliberate in their presentation, and are deeply introspective. It is safe to say that Braza’s art is something to look forward to.