Megan was only five years old when she started painting.
“Before that, I would doodle a lot on my own, and since my parents were supportive of me, I eventually started taking lessons… One of my biggest issues back then was that I was so overly reliant on my teacher that I couldn’t decide on my own whether I was already satisfied with my work. So after 2016, I took the time to figure out how to be independent as an artist,” she recounts.
Entering SJI International is what she describes now as a significant step out of her comfort zone. True enough, in Grade 10, she faced her first so-called challenge as a young artist – and it wasn’t even for one of her art subjects in school.
In 2019, she founded Likhang Puso (Made by the Heart) – a non-profit organisation that aims to make a difference in the lives of the Mangyan community – one of the Philippines’ oldest ethnic groups living in Mindoro, southwest of the island Luzon.
Using her passion for art, she organised Likhang Puso’s first project Sining ng Pangarap (Art of the Dream) – the renovation and mural painting of Katutubong Mangyan High School classrooms.
“I made three mural designs for the Hanunuo Mangyan students that would hopefully inspire them to value their education and encourage the preservation of their culture…
These indigenous people truly represent what it is to be Filipino, and to empower them is to celebrate Filipino nationalism from its very roots,” she shares, almost as an ode to her home country.
In 2021, she organised a Charity Arts Night (CAN) to raise funds for a cause by auctioning off pieces produced by Arts students.
The beneficiary was Today is the Day Singapore (TITDS). This organisation provides opportunities for children affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident to enrol in a programme to visit Singapore called Miracle Kutchie, to relieve their trauma from the disaster.
“As someone passionate about both the arts and service, I see CAN as a fantastic opportunity that not only allows artists to share their works with a greater audience but also to use their skills to support an important cause. It is also my advocacy to encourage service-learning rooted in one’s passions, and CAN is a prime example of this,” she said.
Fast forward to her high school graduation, where she won the annual Award for the Arts – the highest recognition given to a student who has shown the most outstanding accomplishment in the arts at SJI International. On top of that, she received high marks in the IB examinations held in November.
Currently, she is taking the time to grow Likhang Puso while also working with one of her former teachers at SJII to partner with Plastic Credit Exchange (https://www.plasticcreditexchange.com/). This organisation prides itself on launching the first-ever global non-profit plastic offset program. How she has the time to manage everything on her plate, she credits to passion.
“I think it all boils down to passion – passion drives my purpose as a student and as a person of service to others. The immense pressure and demands of IB have threatened my motivation several times, but I always go back to my passion for art and service, which I ultimately discovered because I came to SJII… I think this is also my most significant takeaway from an SJII education – to take my passions and use them to fuel my momentum as I pursue new projects and take on new challenges,” she says in closing.
As art continues to evolve, so does Megan’s desire to use her art for good, and it will only get better from here on.
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