Fil-Am “solar sculptor” creates Philippine-inspired artwork from the sun

Filipino American History month is a chance for modern FilAm talents to shine. Diane Valencia’s art work can leave a burning image on first glance — that’s because she uses the sun, and this glass sphere, to etch on wood.  

“This is all done by the sunlight; no electricity, all solar. We’re making fire right now,” Valencia says. 

Born and raised in Los Angeles, she practices a rare medium: solar pyrography.

“I’ve used machines before, but I feel like we need to find different sustainable ways to creating as well. Using solar power, there’s so much potential to do all kinds of technology with it. It also intriguing right. I like to spark curiosity with people,” she said. 

A youth organizer by day, Buko Bomba’s craft is self-taught, and her subjects dig deep. 

“Likha means to create and then tubo means to grow. For me it’s like an activation piece.”

She hopes her wooden pieces to spark fellow FilAms interests in their roots. 

“I like to explore pretty much my identity and the stories and myths that are pretty much still a mystery, so for me, my artwork kind explores what is my histories, what are those stories, what are those origins that I come from,” she said. “Wow I have ancient Babayan script, like my ancestors have their own kind of writing…like all these patterns, we have actual indigenous tattooing hand tapping. The crystal ball is like a magic to draw people but it’s just a door to all of those things.” 

There’s no burn out for this 30-year-old artist, always ready to show Philippine art.

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