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Kilig Much

Unveiling the Essence of First Crushes in "Kilig Much"

This Pride month of June, the gallery "sort of." unveils a mesmerizing exposition on first crushes by nine queer artists. Aptly titled "Kilig Much," this 2024 Pride offering dives into the heart-fluttering, spine-tingling sensation that accompanies one's first brush with romantic attraction.

Diñoso, Coquia and Dex Fernandez

This Pride month of June, gallery. sort of. unveils expositions on first crushes by nine queer artists.  

The mission: visualize and manifest the kilig you felt when you had your first crush.  

The conduits:  artists from all walks of life. From Angono to Aklan.  From emerging to established.  From semi-closeted to super open.  

The result: Kilig Much, the gallery’s 2024 Pride offering.

 Kilig Much purports to offer a sampling of queerdom’s first brush with kilig.  

But what is kilig?  It’s defined by the dictionary, true.  (And not just any dictionary: by the Oxford English Dictionary!). But it might not be just that definition. It could be so much more, especially for gay youth.

Daydreamers by Gelo Zarsuelo

It could be the awakening of sexuality. A realization of what, specifically, triggers attraction. Body parts and teen spirit smells.  Cheeky grins and sly glances.  A slow understanding that this being in front of you, this former friend or pal has suddenly transmogrified into an instant deity, one that holds intense fascination, and even power.   

Kilig could also be a deadly combination when mixed with arousal. One that could turn into desperation.  Or perhaps, depression.    

Kilig can be encapsulation of what will captivate you, and hold attraction for you, for years to come.  For life, even.  A brush with the forbidden, before the forbidden becomes mundane.

Dano Tingcungco's glass odes

Tingcungco and Abrigado's works juxtaposed

A review of the submissions for this exhibit reveals a gamut.  Tophee Coquia renders delicate sketches of bear hunks, while Gelo Zarsuelo coats his boys with glitter, perhaps in anticipation of romance.  Dano Tingcungco, in turn, pays homage in breakable glass to his first loves.  

Mark Tisado and Daryl Feril both portray idyllic longing in tones of poignant blue, while Dex Fernandez submits frenetic, jagged fragments in slashed scarlet. 

From his studio, Justin Ryan Abrigado deploys graphite and colored pens to shape contemplative solitary figures.   Wani Pilar populates blank faces with delicate blooms, signifying personal encounters.  And so like the fragility of first crushes, Vincent Diňoso imprints encounters on delicate gauze that are illumined, ready for veneration.

There might be more variations of first crushes.  There might be large swathes of the universe of kilig still to be explored.  Kilig means a multitude of things to different people.  But we can take comfort in the fact that kilig might always be around.  

There are always first encounters, after all.

Coquia's Open Letter to the Men I've loved Before

Diñoso, Coquia and Dex Fernandez tableaux

Tender Reverie by Mark Tisado

Amor Seko by Daryl Feril

Despite its many forms and faces, one thing remains constant: the enduring presence of kilig. First encounters with romantic feelings are timeless, and the thrill of those initial sparks continues to captivate hearts across generations and orientations.

In celebrating these diverse artistic expressions, "Kilig Much" not only honors the queer community but also invites everyone to reflect on their own first brushes with kilig. It’s a testament to the power of love and attraction, a reminder that kilig, in all its forms, will always be around.


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