VPAPU’s OBRA 16: Swerve goes online

Visual and Performing Arts Production Unit (VPAPU) brings their annual art gallery online for the first time through Artsteps, a web-based environment application that allows its members to create virtual art galleries in lifelike three-dimensional (3D) spaces. OBRA 16: Swerve, in its attempt to mirror reality, aims to deliver consciousness regarding different odds that our nation is currently facing with the use of art. 

Alteration of direction

The theme for this year’s OBRA comes from the idea of a moving vehicle and its sudden change of direction, reflecting the changes we encountered during the pandemic. 

Erika Marie Jimenez, the Gallery Manager for OBRA 16, explains how Swerve was inspired by “how different every person in different social classes cope with their daily lives with the sudden change the COVID-19 virus caused.”

Swerve can also be equated as the mirror of our current reality,” Jimenez said. The online gallery features different artworks tackling various societal issues that we are facing amid the pandemic, such as the exploitation of Filipino resiliency, prioritization of the military over the medical frontliners, as well as the red-tagging of activists, and how students and teachers are coping up with online classes.

Jimenez also mentioned that the main goal for OBRA is “to raise awareness to every audience we can reach about what is currently happening in our country.” 

“We all have privileges but there are some with a lot and some with a little, I wanted to contribute to their knowledge with the use of art,” she adds.

The online experience of OBRA 

Structured like a labyrinth, the 3D online gallery gives homage to the past themes of OBRA, all with an accompanying voice that navigates you through the different artworks.

Imitating an art exhibit within a physical room, the virtual setup also lets the attendees focus on each artwork by clicking on it to see its title, and clicking the left and right buttons to view the next and previous ones.

Jimenez also mentions how OBRA reveals the forte of each artist without setting a limitation through different forms of art, ranging from the traditional to the digital. 

In making this year’s OBRA possible, Jimenez also shares the different challenges  encountered as they shift to an online platform, such as finding the right program for the gallery, and the “uncertain speed of our internet connection daily all due to the sudden change of the setup.”

Art for a cause

Ever since their first art gallery, sending help to their chosen beneficiaries have always been a part of OBRA. This year, proceeds will be donated to the Brigada Eskwela 2021 of DepEd (Department of Education) Dasmariñas. 

Jimenez explained why they chose to donate to the said beneficiary, listing down the challenges surrounding online classes at this time, empathizing with  “students regardless of their level of education who’s doing their best despite the pandemic as well as the educators who are sacrificing their safety just to produce modules and class lessons to their handled classes.” 

“I wanted to at least aid them by raising funds for their educational materials to lessen their burden and to provide support to their studies,” she furthered.


OBRA 16: Swerve was held from December 6, 2020 to January 25, 2021 from 9 AM to 6 PM, which was accessed by sending minimum of P50 to Mr. Paul Pinazo’s GCash Account (09770942089) for the donations.

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