Raffy T. Napay (b. 1986) graduated from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez of Science and Technology (EARIST) in 2009 with a Fine Arts degree. Whilst in school, he started gaining recognition for his skill. He was one of ten finalists in the Philippine Art Awards in the national capital region in 2007, 2009 and 2011. In 2008, he won the Metrobank Art & Design Excellence Award. In 2008, 2012 and 2014, he was awarded the Juror’s Choice Award of Excellence at the Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards on the national level, considered by many as a staggering achievement.
Napay originally used oil paints, until he developed an adverse allergy to the medium. Whilst recovering, he explored the potential of other materials, and explored working with the available threads and textiles at home. Growing up with a seamstress mother, Napay was exposed to a wide variety of threads, cotton and fabrics and these materials gave him a strong ground into a different world of creativity. The artist realized the creative process, was quite similar - from early conceptualization to finishing touches on an artwork. His threaded works demanded just as much time and attention to detail as paintings. Now equipped with a needle for a brush, thread and fabric as his paint, the artist approaches his canvas as he would a painting. His composition stays true whilst playing with shadow and light, in effect transcending any intuitive boundary between painting and creating a tapestry. In 2013, Napay was awarded the prestigious Ateneo Art Award, emerging as winner in the Contemporary Artists category, besting artists from all over the Philippines.
Napay’s early works are whole yet intrinsically personal, drawing inspiration from his family, surroundings and experiences. The award granted Napay two artist–in-residence programmes at both Liverpool Hope University in the United Kingdom, and at Artesan Gallery + Studio in Singapore. He has held several solo exhibitions since, including a solo presentation at Art Stage Singapore with Artesan Gallery in January 2015, and a solo exhibition entitled Sanctuary at the Ateneo Art Gallery. In October 2015, Napay won first prize in the much coveted Il Lorenzo Magnifico art awards at the 10th Florence Biennale in Italy.
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