Dubai: An award-winning Filipino artist is appealing for help to locate his missing art pieces that he left behind in Dubai when he returned home unexpectedly in 2015.
Darwin ‘Japat’ Guevarra was actively involved in Dubai’s art scene in the early 2000s and until 2015.
Guevarra was a recipient of the Sheikha Manal New Signature and Young Artist Grand Prize Award in 2008 and was shortlisted in the portrait category of the Sony World Photography competition.
However, an issue with his visa transfer in 2015 led to him overstaying in Dubai. Family emergencies compounded his troubles and he was forced to return home after paying his fines. In the process, he left behind 15 artworks in Dubai.
If anyone is interested in buying the pieces, please do so. I would like the proceeds to be used to help Filipinos who have overstayed, or go to any charity.
Now based in the Philippines, Guevarra said the artworks were mixed media that he had painted in 2008-09 for his solo exhibition called ‘Time of Humanity’ at Tashkeel Gallery.
The collection featured massive canvasses of a man hanging on a clock through crowbars protruding through his skull all the way to his spine and a man that looked like a cyborg on a unicycle. The theme revolved around how humans lose themselves in the process of fulfilling unrealistic expectations, becoming slaves of time.
“I contacted friends in Dubai to help me locate my artworks but a lot of problems happened in between,” Guevarra told Gulf News in an interview from the Philippines.
“Some of the pieces that were left in the care of a friend in a villa in Jafiliya were not returned to them when they were evicted during an inspection,” he claimed. “The villa caretaker allegedly refused to let them get most of their stuff due to unpaid dues and that included my paintings that were covered and properly stored on the rooftop.”
Richard Dayao Reyes, Guevarra’s long-time friend, told Gulf News that they tried to reclaim the paintings several times, but to no avail.
“The artworks were really huge. So we couldn’t take them with us when we left the villa. We waited for Darwin’s friend to come to collect them, but because we couldn’t locate the villa caretaker or sometimes their schedules didn’t match, we just couldn’t make it happen,” said Reyes, who is an artist himself.
The search is still on four years later, but Guevarra is not giving up.
“I’m hoping against hope that those pieces are found. I am appealing to everyone that if by any chance you spot my artworks, please let me know. I still hope they can be exhibited once more,” Guevarra said. “If anyone is interested in buying the pieces, please do so. I would like the proceeds to be used to help Filipinos who have overstayed in Dubai, or go to any charity.”