Bao or coconut shells have many uses. Once emptied out of their juice and meat, they are usually repurposed into coin banks, soup bowls, plant holders, and other items that could suit their owners’ needs.
But in the hands of a visual artist like Bernadette Solina Wolf, they become canvasses for the majestic depiction of Philippine culture particulary its indigenous people.
Twelve years ago, Wolf started working on them to create one-of-a-kind souvenir items as a consignee in Ayala Museum and in different resorts in Puerto Galera.
A Bao Nut Art
“I started painting using bao as canvass upon the suggestion of my husband to make something out of the coconuts since I’m an artist,” Wolf told Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
Being an engineer, Wolf’s husband saw the many possibilities of coconut shells especially in painting.
“He studies the qualities of bao using German technology. He checks the oil sediments, fine lines from itak, because he says not all the bao can be used,” she said.
After a series of cleaning and polishing, Wolf said her husband hands to her the nutshells which may be used for her art.
“So, this nut art, is a collaboration with my husband, he cleans and primes the coconut shells and checks how concave the shells are before I could do paintings on them,” she said.