July 2014

Featured Artist

Jonah Calinawan

A Million Suns

Set in an imaginary landscape of the present day, A Million Suns tells a story of one man’s confrontation with the unknown that leads him on a journey. His high-pressure existence comes crashing down one day when he encounters a fissure in the ground. This discovery triggers a chain of events that will send him to the ends of the earth and force him to face what his life may or may not be.

In this story that fuses autobiography and fiction, I search for meaning and purpose in the face of the unknown future. We once looked up at the stars to divine the future. How do we find this future now? Will there be a sign or a signal?

Using images that are collaged, montaged, layered, and drawn on, I portray my belief in the unlimited variations of the future. The collage approach, it appears to me, is like creating the future—we combine experiences and circumstances and move them around to see what fits and what makes sense. At any point, we may choose to go left or right, turn back or move forward. Each choice alters the trajectory and overall shape of our lives. There is a great mystery here: we are on a journey where there is no map—it is pieced together as we go along. Thus, we become the traveler and cartographer, the origin and the destination.

For this one man’s quest, his journey is about to veer off its projected course, into the undiscovered land of a million suns.

Jonah Calinawan (JO-nah ca-lee-NA-wan) is the cyanotype artist behind A Million Suns. In this work, Jonah creates surreal images that explore ideas relating to identity, choice, free will, and destiny. Jonah is an accountant turned artist. He holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Jonah currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

An accountant for over 20 years, Jonah bought his first camera in 2002 and started self-learning photography. He attended a photography workshop in 2008 where the instructor suggested he pursue an MFA degree. After two years of contemplation, he took the plunge in 2010 and enrolled at the Academy of Art University.

Having just completed his MFA this past May 2014, he is continually amazed at the unintended path that he embarked on. It has changed the trajectory and shape of his life. He metaphorically explores this journey in A Million Suns, an ongoing photographic series that tells the story of one man’s search for his future.