The award-winning jewelry, furniture, and sculptures of Ann Tiukinhoy Pamintuan are on view for the first time in Manila at the Yuchengco Museum until May 10. In an exhibit titled AnnTiu.Alchemy, Pamintuan’s works chronicle her transformative journey as a designer from gilding twigs and leaves into jewelry to fashioning cast metal furniture from roots—and back.
Ann Tiukinhoy Pamintuan is an internationally acclaimed, Davao-based designer who ventures into jewelry, furniture, and home décor. Her line of sophisticated and thoughtful designs and excellent craftsmanship has helped propel Philippine design into the international limelight. With a design sensibility deeply rooted in respect for materials, confident shapes, and clean lines, Pamintuan is considered one of the pillars of the country’s design industry. She is a member of the Movement 8 design alliance and the first Asian woman to be included in the International Designer Yearbook (in 2002 and 2004).
Pamintuan did not set out to be a designer, and she reveals that she hardly had formal training in art or design. “I took up a business course for college and was employed in a bank soon after graduation. The only art classes I ever took—if you can call them that—were lessons in ikebana, to which my mother-in-law took me.” Looking back, Pamintuan learned much about composition, line, and simplicity in design from these classes. A housewife with time on her hands, she began embroidering clothes for her daughter, and then made belts and bags which her sister in New York sold. These creative pursuits, though, were simply hobbies.
Pamintuan’s serious work as an artist began with her experimenting with leaves, roots, and flowers. She shaped these organic materials and gave them permanence by electroplating them in gold, silver, or copper. Without prior training or apprenticeship, she made her early works through trial and error. These forays in gilding flora gave birth to her jewelry line, AnnTiu. From jewelry, she explored vases and bowls, and naturally progressed to furniture and sculpture, for which she began to receive both local and international recognition. AnnTiu.Alchemy is, thus, also a tribute to her roots as a jewelry designer.
The exhibit showcases 260 pieces of jewelry ranging from rings, earrings, and brooches to bangles, necklaces, and belts. Pamintuan describes her designs as having “simple, clean lines devoid of visual noise.” “My designs are fundamentally intuitive and unstructured,” she adds. Her design process is as spontaneous as her work. “I do not follow any school of design. I trust my creative instincts and my love for creating beautiful objects.” It is this passion for capturing and preserving natural beauty which drives her.
In addition to the jewelry pieces on display, the furniture, sculptural figures, and home accessories that provide a dramatic backdrop for these gilded artistic expressions are on sale. Prices range from P1,000 to P40,000, depending on the material (copper, nickel, silver, or gold) or design (single or multiple-strand). The proceeds from the sale of the collection will benefit the traveling exhibits and education programs of the Yuchengco Museum.
The exhibit is accompanied by a fascinating catalog with essays by University of the Philippines – Diliman art studies professor Patrick Flores and art critic Cid Reyes. Lavishly illustrated with 39 photographs by esteemed lensman Neal Oshima and peppered with quotes from the artist, the catalog looks into Ann’s Chinese roots, early design influences, artistic beginnings, and creative process. The ringbound book is available at the museum’s books and gifts corner for only P500.
The Yuchengco Museum is located at RCBC Plaza, Corner Ayala and Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenues, Makati City. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 889.1234 or visit www.yuchengcomuseum.org.