By John Noel E. Herrera
Forty-four (44) artworks by 13 selected artists of Himbon Contemporary Ilonggo Artists Group portraying different interpretations of the importance of breastfeeding were displayed during the launch of “Ilig Sang Kabuhi” art exhibit on Aug 08, 2022 at the North Point Event Center of SM City Iloilo.
Mostly made by watercolor, the artworks showed delicate images of mother’s love coming from the creative juices of artists who stroked their brushes not just with colors but emotions and ideas about health and well-being of women.
The featured Himbon artists were John Ernie Acedera, Gina Apostol, Brando Banga, Gerundio Buendia Jr., Alan Cabalfin, Eros Endencio, Vic Fario, Rachelle Acla Kim, Gilbert Labordo, Nick Lanes, Vic Nabor, Alex Ordoyo, Carol Salvatierra, Roneal Torres, and Althea Villanueva.
The exhibit was part of the celebration of Breastfeeding Awareness Month which SM City Iloilo, through its SM Cares program, launched in partnership with Himbon Contemporary Ilonggo Artists Group, Iloilo City Government, Philippine Pediatric Society of Western Visayas, The Breastfeeding Ilonggas, and the Rotary Club of Midtown Iloilo.
SM City Iloilo Mall Manager Engr. Gilbert A. Domingo said during the launching that the art exhibit is just one of the many programs under SM Cares that promotes health and well-being of women and nursing mothers.
“Through the creative expression of our artists and the support of our partners, we aim to raise awareness on the benefits of breastfeeding and the beauty of a mother’s journey with her child. We hope that in doing so, we are able to positively influence acceptance of breastfeeding by mothers as a means to nourish their children, in support of UN (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals targeting Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being,” Domingo added.
Co-founder and chairperson of Breastfeeding Ilonggas Adhara Sebuardo also said that by showcasing these artworks, “we empower the women to breastfeed in public and educate the society about breastfeeding.”
“Often, the lack of support is the reason of early termination of breastfeeding, so we hope to develop support because breastfeeding in the public is one of the issues wherein many women feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in the pubic and spaces due to stigma and pressure of people who think breast is for sexual purposes only,” Sebuardo added.
Meanwhile, a live portrait sketching of the breastfeeding mothers and their infants was also conducted by the exhibiting artists during the launching program.
“Hakab” or simultaneous breastfeeding of mothers will also be conducted on August 27, 2022, however due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will be done virtually to ensure the safety of participating mothers.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
Scientific studies have shown that breast milk provides all the nutrients that infants need for the first months of their lives as it also continues to give plenty of children’s nutritional needs up to his second year of life.
Sebuado also said that the longer the mother breastfeeds her infant, the higher the protection her baby gets from antibodies.
“This generation should be breastfed because of the illness, it takes years to develop the cure and vaccines. So how can we protect this new generation? By feeding them with breast milk,” she said.
According to the World Health Organization, breastfed children also perform better on intelligence tests and it reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer for women.