Inspiration is everywhere. You just have to keep a keen eye. Just take a look at National Artist of Visual Arts, Benedicto Cabrera a.k.a. BenCab. Who would have thought that a scavenger roaming the streets of Manila would become one of the most iconic muses of one of the most respected Filipino artists of our time?
“Sabel,” the woman adrift whom he would see through his window in his youth, would become a major subject of his works. “She lives on the street. So I took photographs and did sketches. So when I paint her, she just evolves — sometimes abstract, sometimes Japanese-looking. She’s just my muse and she’s been sort of my inspiration,” BenCab said in an interview by blogger Sunshine, for Musings Under The Sun, in October 2012.
The woman wandering the streets of Tondo, a.k.a. taong grasa, became the artist’s symbol of life’s inequalities — poverty, despair, disorder, isolation and sadness.
“This vagrant woman is one of the best-known muses of the artist’s storied career. In her plainness, he saw beauty. In her anonymity, he saw an individual person who chose to live as she saw fit; in her weakness, he saw her native wit and strength. It is a tribute to BenCab that what he saw, what he painted, are what endure,” the artist told Rene Guatlo.
Today, Sabel has many faces. Watch Sabel get reinvented and celebrated not only by BenCab but also by 25 of the most popular fashion designers of the country when Swatch turns 25. The ever-present and stylized muse continues to inspire.
It is timely, too, for BenCab, who is also one of the most beloved artists in Southeast Asia and recognized internationally to design a Swatch for Swatch to mark its 25 years in the Philippine Fashion. The Swatch Sabel world launch happens on Nov. 4.