Return of Saturn is my debut solo show that celebrates and reflects on my life and growth upon turning 30 years old. In a way, it can also question society’s perception on what a person should be or achieve at the age of 30. Inspired by the miraculous rose petals in the 1948 Lipa Marian apparitions which my parents keep, the watercolor rose petals feature eye portraits of myself, as well as of people who have played a significant role in my life. The Catholic themes also represent the upbringing I have received over the years, which also greatly affected my growth as a person.

L to R: “Found in Another Home” and “Beyond the Tall Grass”, watercolor on paper, 17.25″ x 17.25″(framed), 2021; “Markings I”, “Markings II” and “Markings III”, watercolor on paper, 19.25” x 34.25”, 2021

L to R: “To Settle Under One’s Roof” and “Burgeon (Unbridled Birth)”, watercolor on paper, 17.25″ x 17.25″(framed), 2021


Notes by by Grace Micah Oreiro

Reflecting on Saturn’s completion of its 30-year orbit, Steph Alvarez likewise mounts her first solo show as an evaluation of her 30 years of living. As its namesake suggests, “Return of Saturn” presents a retrospect of Alvarez’s artistic journey influenced by her Catholic upbringing, her exploration of portraiture, and her personal responses to social norms that come with age. The ten artworks are presented as petals, all intricately manifested by her solid control of watercolor, give not just nostalgic jaunts into her past, but more of attempt to reassess the present. Apt for her debut solo exhibition, she uses these personal moments to eventually create pieces of what she wants her future to bloom into.

The show ran from March 13, 2021 until March 23, 2021 at Galerie Stephanie in Mandaluyong, Philippines.