By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – There was very little drama that evening, and mostly love and high energy for Leani Auxilio in her debut art exhibit at the Lucky Jack’s on Orchard Street, a fundraiser for her battle against colon cancer.
“Feminism Heals: An Open Mic and Art Exhibit” on the gentle evening of March 12, was put together for Leani by her sisters-leaders of the women’s organization AF3IRM NYC.
Leani has been a member of this international intersectional feminist organization since 2013. When the ladies learned about her condition in December 2018, they thoughtfully made a decision to raise funds for her health needs. The “Feminism Heals” exhibit was just the latest of the platforms which the millennials have created in support of Leani.
Six of her digital illustrations were sold out during the well-attended event which was the group’s community outreach in time for the International Women’s Month. Leani’s works included “Joan and Noam,” “Ninotchka Rosca,” “Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” “Olivia,” “Christine Blasey Ford,” and “Ohana.”
Her renditions of RBG and Ninotchka Rosca were finished on her hospital bed where she was treated for bacterial infection as a side-effect of chemotherapy a few weeks before the exhibit.
It was a pleasure introducing the featured artist to the audience, who happens to be the digital editor of OSM! Online magazine, and my only daughter too. The drama could have started there already, but I tried not to. Leani, I said, is courageous, full of hope, and could be irritating too. And the people burst laughing.
Since her prognosis in December, we have witnessed and felt blessed with love and support the community of friends and family have shown us. In that sense, we have won already. As I spoke, I felt deeply this is a battle Leani is going to win, because of the power of faith.
In two hours, $1270 was raised and fully handed to Leani by AF3IRM New York. “We love you and we are here for you,” said Claudia Lara, the group’s co-coordinator and host for the evening.
Leani, who was in her usual upbeat self, thanked everyone who came to the fundraiser and encouraged guests to take part of AF3IRM which is currently doing an anti-sex trafficking campaign in NYC.
The night ensued with the fundraiser which had been vibrantly participated by guests – millennials and the X- and Y-geners. From my end: the FilAm Press of New York members and great friends. Delightful food was courtesy of the Mountain Province Cafe.
The open mic attracted great presentations. Journalist Justine Calma shared her first poem and Claudia Lara pleasantly surprised everyone when she closed the program with her sultry singing of ‘At last.’
The fundraiser had an immediate ripple effect. Artist enthusiast Ann Constantino Beck of the JCI New York came to the party and contributed her art piece Tribunalis, a multi-media interpretation of Leani, for bidding. Ms. Joyce Andes David won the bid for $500.
Manhattan artist June Pascal also stepped up and contributed six of her art pieces for sale with all proceeds going to Leani. Philippine Center staffer and artist Ronald Cortes called in as well to donate his artwork, Oyayi, to Leani’s healing journey.
When friends step up to support her in this great challenge, that’s when my heart cries in gratitude. In this steep health journey, we are strengthened in faith and hope; and love sustains us. This community rocks. Thank you.