This Installation Artist Wishes to Uncover the Patterns of the Universe

See her work at Art in the Park.

( The world is filled with patterns—from the stripes of a chameleon to the holes of a pine cone, from the rows of cubicles in an office to the crisscross of the threads in your shirt. These visible regularities have boggled the most brilliant minds, as if uncovering their meaning is the Holy Grail of philosophers and scientists around the world. For installation artist Ma. Athela B. Tamoria (a.k.a. Tekla), patterns define her art; and you can see this in the upcoming Art in the Park on April 15 at Jaime Velasquez Park in Makati City.



Tekla is presenting her paper installation called "Colony," which features her signature style of making hexagon-shaped holes out of folded paper to form a half-sphere. These beehive-like creations are to adorn the park's trees, and hopefully project geometric shadows on the pavements of Salcedo Park.



“Colony 2.0” (Tam-Awan Gallery, Baguio; October 2017)


“Study 0.1” (Tam-Awan Gallery, Baguio; November 2013)


"Matagal ko na 'yong idea na 'yon e, shinow ko last year sa [Tam-Awan Gallery] Baguio. Akala ko ga-graduate na 'yon kasi doon ko unang shinow, patulugin ko na. Pero nung nasa Baguio ako, umuulan, maraming mist—e balak ko i-shoot 'yong work ko sa halahalaman. No’ng naalok akong mag-Art in the Park, pinatulan ko dahil outdoor. Gusto ko ring makita [kung] 'yong idea ng organic na work ko, magbe-blend ba siya [sa park]," she narrates about "Colony" in an interview with


She has always been fascinated by paper, but this didn't come until she finished her Fine Arts degree at the University of the Philippines - Diliman. As a fresh graduate in 2010, she entered the workforce as graphic artist, but eventually fell into the pit of boredom brought about by a 9-to-6 routine.

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"De Spike of Everything" (Jstudio Makati, January 2018)


"Microposer 1, 2, 3" (Gallery Roberto Alabang, June 2017)


"Do'n nag-start 'yong pagpapapel ko. Pag nasa opisina ka, bibili ka nung squares [memo pad]. Tuwang-tuwa na ako pag National, pa-importante ka kasi di ka na estudyante di ba? Bumibili ako nung squares, tapos 'yon, nagtutupi lang ako," Tekla recalls. Two years later, she quit her job and decided to become a full-time artist. She eventually took a vocational course in garment-making, adding to her skills and contributing to her love affair with patterns.



"Kung ide-describe ko 'yong work ko—patterns, fractals, repetition. Doon ako natutuwa talaga sa patterns. Feeling ko pag nalaman ko 'yong sikreto ng universe, mamamatay na ako. Kasi lahat e, kung paano mo tingnan lahat, may patterns," she adds.




With "Colony," she not only folds and puts together strips of paper, but she also figures out how each hexagon—which she calls a "module"—fits with the rest of the half-sphere—which she calls a "blob." Sometimes, the last hexagon won't fit and she has to innovate and make a square without causing too much of a disparity in the whole piece.



She owes this drive towards perfection to her zodiac sign—Virgo; and with her patience and skills in craft-making, it all just makes sense to devote her time to paper art and even wearable art.


"AlterBibo" (Manila, August 2017)


"Web Design" (Diliman, Quezon City; January 2015)



"Noong high school ako, pinag-collage kami. Ang ginawa ko sa pang-collage, 'yong galing sa puncher. Pwede naman akong magpunit-punit [ng magazine] pero tiniyaga kong magpuyat para lang maging pino 'yong gawa. Matiyaga talaga ako sa mga butingting na bagay, hindi ako nagsasawa, nakakalma pa nga ako e."


She would even fold paper while stuck in traffic—a good idea if you ask us. "Sa jeep, doon 'yong favorite ko mag-fold. Hindi sayang 'yong oras mo. Lagi lang akong may baon na papel," she reveals.


Now with more than 60 "blobs," Tekla is pretty pumped about the big event on Sunday. "Na-excite ako sa Sunday kung magwo-work. Meron akong pagpaplano sa ginagawa ko pero pag installation na, ako rin 'yong magugulat."


Like her, thousands of Art in the Park attendees can look forward to finding out what Salcedo Park will transform into with her “Colony.”


Art in the Park is on April 15, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village, Makati City. For more information, visit Art in the Park's website.


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