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Keep Calm and Octopus


“When the Covid-19 pandemic took over last year, it brought fear to the world and I found myself back to the fear of dying, or fear that my anxiety might relapse. These paintings I did for this show is a stark reminder for me to stay calm, be steady, and most importantly, breathe because this too shall pass.” —Emman Acasio

A Father’s Muse

Known for his pop-surrealist highly detailed works Emman Acasio’s latest exhibition titled Keep Calm and Octopus was described by him as a love letter to his son, Jacek, who was diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay (GDD). Among Jacek’s comfort words is “octopus!” which he says repeatedly until his mom Joanna repeats it to appease him. Emman’s musings are inspired by both his struggles during this pandemic and of Jaceks “octopus” word. His life’s predicaments are what lead him to work on the exhibit’s title and in creating a framework based on the intermarriage of his form and content. Another highlight of the show will be the showcase of Joanna’s handwritten letters to Jacek.

Aside from the octopus, Joanna incorporated Jacek’s favorite toys, food, and random things significant to their child in the last 5 years in each work. The figure of the octopus represents adaptability, since in the wild, octopuses are known to adapt to their surroundings at any given situation. As an octopus in its natural habitat expels ink resembling itself to escape prey, Emman’s technique of building layers of poured paints then painting it over with distinguishable elements are representations of his and of Jacek’s approach to the world, and their adaptability and resilience in difficult situations.