Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Pacita Abad – an artist, feminist, and activist who used her talent and voice to fight for what she believed in.
On July 31, 1984, Abad made history as the first woman to receive the Philippines’ prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Men award. She was distinguished for her artistic style which made bold use of color and mixed media as well as using her art to address global issues.
Abad was born on October 5th, 1946 in Basco, Batanes. She graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in political science then left for the United States to study law. Upon arriving in America, Abad switched paths to take up Asian history and painting instead.
Her involvement in San Francisco’s art community marked the beginning of her artistic career. After finishing graduate studies, Abad went on to travel the world and picked up inspiration from the different cultures she immersed herself in.
Eventually, Abad became known for developing the technique of trapunto painting which combines painting with silkscreen, hand- stitching, embroidery, applique, and collage. Abad would stuff her canvases to create an illusion of sculpture using a myriad of materials encountered in her travels.
More than just technique, Abad was respected for weaving socio-political messages into her work. Her 1979 series “Portraits of Cambodia” was influenced by and used to spread awareness on Cambodia’s most pressing social issues.
Abad passed away last 2004. She leaves behind a legacy of over 5,000 pieces of art in over 70 countries.
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