Famed art patron and respected doctor Joven Cuanang has always maintained that art has a healing quality. So it’s not surprising that his expression of support and respect for the medical workers treating patients with COVID-19 involves an artwork— apart, of course, from telling his many friends to send food to the doctors and nurses in hospitals near them.
The artwork is by Elmer Borlongan, one of Doc Cuanang’s favorites. “Art inspires,” the doctor told us when we asked about the drawing the artist posted in his Instagram Monday morning, day 2 of the NCR-wide community quarantine. The image is of a man all covered up for battle—this time within the confines of a hospital. It is based on a photograph posted on Facebook by Dra. Sue Locnen, a cardiologist at the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.
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“To honor the brave and tireless healthworkers in the frontline, I commisioned Emong Borlongan to do this artwork. Look at the eyes, the forward thrust and the hands ready to move in any challenge and we know we will Win!” went Doc Cuanang’s message that accompanies the artwork in a post on the Facebook page of Pinto Art Museum, the doctor/art patron’s famed art mecca in Antipolo.
The title of the piece is “Frontliner.” Being already 80, the doctor is not allowed near hospital premises at the moment, and couldn’t do much but put himself under quarantine like the rest of the country. He called Emong March 15 to commission the artwork, “dedicated to the untiring efforts of the healthcare workers.”
“We had a heartfelt conversation about healthworkers in hospitals risking their lives in the frontline to attend to patients with Covid-19,” Emong told ANCX about his talk with Cuanang. “He sent me a photo from Facebook of a local health worker here in the Philippines and I based my drawing from that image. I got so inspired I started the sketch yesterday and did the finishing touches this morning.”
The person wrapped in medical gear in the image is a young doctor named Rico Mejia. “He is the face of the frontliners in our fight against Covid 19,” said Cuanang.
“Frontliner” is a commissioned work for the Pinto Art Museum. “My humble effort,” added Cuanang, “to inspire everyone out there in all the emergency rooms in our country.”