Who Is Pacita Abad? Painter of Women Around the World, Celebrated With a Google Doodle

Google is celebrating a momentous day in the history of the Philippines, with a Doodle of artist and activist Pacita Abad.

The Pacita Abad Art Estate has contributed approximately 500 images of the artist’s work to the Artstor Digital Library. The selection in Artstor illustrates the artist’s entire career from the 1970s to her final years and includes paintings, collages, prints, sculpture, ceramics, and the Alkaff Bridge.

The celebrated Philippine-American artist Pacita Abad (1946 – 2004) was born in Batanes, on a small island in the South China Sea. Her 32-year career began with her studies at the Corcoran School of Art, Washington, D.C. and The Art Students League in New York City. Abad became a nomadic artist, painting the globe while working on six continents. She created more than 4,500 works that have been exhibited in hundreds of museums and galleries around the world.

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Abad’s travels forged her artistic style, providing both ideological and technical inspiration. Her journeys also exposed her to the realities of women’s lives in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Abad’s humanitarian art comprised a wide spectrum, including: paintings of displaced people, political violence, and refugees; hand-stitched trapunto works depicting masks and spirits; nature renderings of the undersea world and tropical flowers; and, finally, her most vibrant, abstract painted textile collages and assemblages.

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Abad’s work is defined by color and transformation. She developed a unique style which she called trapunto painting that joined painted canvas with hand-stitched textiles, shells, mirrors, and other found objects. She also made prints, paper collages, and other works on bark cloth, glass, metal, and ceramics. Abad created public art installations, culminating in the painting of the 55-meter long “Singapore Art Bridge” (which she completed while she was being treated for cancer).

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Abad’s work is in museum collections throughout the world including the Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan, the National Gallery in Singapore, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea, the National Museum of the Philippines, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Museum Nasional of Indonesia, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, the Bronx Museum in New York, and the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Jersey.

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