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When sports meets passion: Former Ateneo volleyball players launch online art gallery

After a three-peat title romp with Ateneo in UAAP men’s volleyball, Manuel Sumanguid and Basti Regala decided to pursue their other passion by launching the online art platform Kaya Gallery PH.

In the virtual gallery’s first exhibition “Beauty in Isolation,” which will run until November 7, the duo featured the works of athletes like Ateneo Lady Eagle Dani Ravena, Philippine men's volleyball player Rex Intal, former Ateneo teammate Chumason Njingha, and La Salle’s Fifi Sharma and JD Inocentes.

“Since we are part of the sports community, we want to nourish skills from athletes who are really talented in creating arts,” said Sumanguid. 

“We have a show that features athletes because [sports] is close to our hearts and knowing that this pandemic is still happening [and] there are no sports right now, so it’s actually a good time to challenge their potential not just in sports but in creating art.” 

But Kaya Gallery PH is not only exclusive to “arthletes” as it caters to all artists who hope to feature their work, inspire, or just express their stories through different mediums. 

The platform also aims to connect these artists with potential buyers and collectors as the pandemic has limited physical events.

“We are going to be intermediaries for the artists and potential buyers because we wanted to give them a chance that even during the pandemic, they can still do it, they can still sell their work and buyers can still purchase what they want,” said Regala. 

Sumanguid and Regala, who are both art management majors in Ateneo, remain motivated as they had personal encounters with struggling artists during the pandemic. 

“I came up with the idea when I was in a market in Batangas, and it started when I saw an artist who was like painting outside his house and I talked to him, I asked him how’s his life as an artist and I figured out that he was struggling,” Sumanguid shared.

“I was like I have to do something about this. Maybe I can do something for him or for any other artists who are struggling at this time.” 

Kaya Gallery puts importance in showcasing the artwork in different angles and in clear, crisp images to simulate the experience of being in an art gallery. 

“We want to give the audience the experience [similar] to that of a physical gallery,” said Regala. “Like you are in front of the work and you can see it in different angles, you can look closer, because two-dimensional pictures are not really the same experience so we want to give the audiences the best experiences we can give.” 

– Vince Roque/Rappler.com