After factory layoff, Filipina artist cashes in on ‘leaf art’ venture

A Filipina artist sees her redundancy as a chance to enjoy her favourite pastime – art

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When the coronavirus struck and cost Mary Mae Dacanay her factory job in the Philippines, the 23-year-old came up with a unique new source of income – turning leaves into celebrity art. | Above: Mary shows one of her leaf artworks, a tribute to COVID-19 front liners, in her home in Binan, Laguna.Image Credit: REUTERS
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Dacanay saw her redundancy as chance to enjoy her favourite pastime – art – but at first had difficulty sourcing materials in a country that has had in place some of the world’s longest and strictest coronavirus measures. | Above: Dacanay makes portraits and illustrations out of leaves.Image Credit: REUTERS
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With no luck finding canvas, Dacanay has instead picked leaves from a jackfruit tree outside her home, intricately cutting away tiny pieces to reveal well-known faces, from Robert Downey Jr and Oprah Winfrey to Michael Jackson and even the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte.Image Credit: REUTERS
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“Because of this pandemic, I wanted to try making artwork but purchasing art supplies in my town was very difficult because of the strict lockdown,” she said, speaking at her home in Laguna province, south of the capital Manila.Image Credit: REUTERS
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“The only way was to buy online but it was also difficult. I experimented using leaves as a makeshift canvas and it turned out really nice.” After gaining thousands of followers on Facebook, Dacanay has sold hundreds of pieces of her “leaf art”, each for about 400 pesos ($8.24). The exact price varies according to the level of detail in each piece. | Above: Dacanay shows a portrait of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Image Credit: REUTERS
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Now, instead of working seven days a week at the factory, plus overtime, she said her new venture allows her to enjoy her hobby, take things easier and still pay the bills.Image Credit: REUTERS
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Dacanay shows an illustration of the Virgin Mary -Image Credit: REUTERS
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The money I use to pay bills, buy food for my family, and our other daily expenses are from my earnings from commissioned work,” Dacanay said.Image Credit: REUTERS

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