Maria Araceli “Marcy” Dans is better known as a writer and illustrator of children’s books, having been published in the Philippines and abroad. Her stories, illustrated in watercolor, have focused mainly on the retelling of Filipino folklores and legends.
It was only in the latter part of 2019 that Dans quietly took it upon herself to continue the legacy of her mother, Araceli Limcaco Dans, the master of calado painting in the Philippines, transmuting the same watercolor medium she used as a children’s book illustrator into paintings of fine Filipino lace embroidery.
Unable to return to her Davao City home since the start of the pandemic lockdown in March 2020, Dans found herself painting instead, in the same studio as her 91-year-old mother. Mother and daughter have grown to be each other’s critics.
Dans is holding her first-ever exhibit, “Calado Art: Delicate Watercolor Paintings of Philippine Calado,” on view until Sept. 10 at the Philippine Center, New York.
Dans (born 1954) holds both a Master of Arts in Art History and a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines (UP).
After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked as creative and art director for two private companies before becoming a faculty member at UP in Diliman and Mindanao. She was dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at UP Mindanao when she took her early retirement in 2018.