Born in September 1985 and based in Valladolid, Negros Occidental, Jessica Dolorfino Alabia is a gifted self-taught Pinay artist with Down syndrome. The adored youngest of eight children, Jessica is the daughter of a retired police officer father and fruit stand manager mother.
Jessica never received a formal education, nor can she read or write. However, surrounded by a loving family, she found her passion and joy in making art and has been prolific ever since. She began drawing at 18. Her family isn’t sure what influenced Jessica and how she developed her gift. Today, her art is reminiscent of Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky, where she draws elaborate lines and shapes, and combines vibrant colors in an abstract and figurative style entirely her own. She creates her masterpieces on illustration boards with Faber Castel colored pens.
Jessica’s drawings first served as gifts to family. Amazed with Jessica’s work, a family friend suggested that they share her creations on Facebook. Her sister posted them on Facebook via GUHIT PINAS, an art group based in the Philippines. Her Facebook art page, Jessica’s Art, was created shortly thereafter. To date, her Facebook art page has garnered more than 50,000 followers.
When the public began asking if her pieces were available for purchase, Jessica’s sisters agreed that this would be a wonderful opportunity to nurture Jessica’s earning power, making it possible to afford her own art supplies, keep doing what she loves, while financially meeting her medical needs.
Devout in their faith, her family believes God’s favor is shining down on Jessica, allowing her talent to shine and become a blessing to others. Jessica’s family has indicated how extremely happy she is to see herself and her art on Facebook. Followers from all over the world have been so kind to drop lovely messages in the comments section or in private messages, which her family reads to her.
According to her sister, Marylyn, “Jessica was so happy to get a pair of branded slippers for the first time using the profits from her art pieces. But beyond material things, Jessica is more than glad to know that many people appreciate her drawings. Her [fans’] appreciation is why Jessica keeps on doing what she does best. But like other artists, she draws only when she’s in the mood. We don’t force or teach her when and how to draw. We just let her be.”
Her sister, Jecelle, adds, “Jessica has no idea how inspiring her story is, giving a ray of sunshine to the gloomy soul. Her art has encouraged those who have forgotten their passion. Her story has also given hope to families whose children may have the same condition as hers. Life is but simple for Jessica. She has a grateful heart, a cheerful spirit.”
Thankful for everyone’s support, her family hopes to soon organize an exhibit of her works.
The information above is sourced from:
- Noel Pabalate, Manila Bulletin Online, July 16, 2021
- Jecelle Dolorfino Alabia, sister of Jessica Dolorfino Alabia and her social media manager