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Delicate, aromatic, strong — the qualities of good coffee that creates good company, starts a relationship, and now art?

Coffee has been cultivated since the tenth century on the highlands of Ethiopia but has far been grown in different regions of the world since the Arabs expanded its reach. Today, though, coffee is not just confined on the table for a tête á tête. Something else is brewing.

Meet Sunshine Plata. She colors her world with coffee when most of us drink it for the surge of energy we need to start our day. In monochrome renditions of shades and tones of brown, her dreams find their place on the actual drawing board, her hand picks the brushes and strokes every surreal detail of being on her canvas.

She washes her canvas with varying degrees of browns from one corner to the next until all four corners are covered with the delicate, aromatic vigor that only coffee possesses. Its whiff must have cast a spell on her for she loves its brown-ness — from burnt to its subtle variations of pale.

Sunshine Plata is a visual artist who started using coffee as her paint medium while still a sophomore in psychology at the University of Sto. Tomas. She was so awed by the timelessness of a 19th century signature written in coffee she saw in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum that she played with the idea of using coffee as paint. And she did.

Fond of storybooks and their illustrations, her little hands had been doodling since she was a little girl. At 12, she started sketching still images with more steady hands; and by the time she was 14, she started oil painting and produced landscapes, abstracts, and nativity scenes. In her college days, she sketched and painted her own interpretations of poems and essays with that coffee signature imprinted on her mind.

She has been using coffee since, but she still uses other media, a well. It was at this time she knew she wanted to do nothing else but paint.

She decided to shift to fine arts in order to get the needed training but her chances were too slim. She completed her psychology course and earned her degree, instead. For a time, she worked teaching toddlers in a preparatory school where she painted her creative expressions on children’s crafts and their little projects. But that phase had to end to give way to the coming of age of her skills. And although she loves teaching kids so much, she knew her heart was yearning for something she felt she had been quite ignoring for a time.

It wasn’t long after she left behind her teaching job that she was toying with her brushes again, washing her canvasses with scenes after scenes of whimsy childhood memories.

With 100% pure coffee as her sole medium, and with all the time in her hands, she got back to painting and produced a lot of artworks, eight of which are in London, not to mention one commissioned work for Ms. Josefina Marquez-Fernando in Canada.

And now, finally, after a year of full-time intimate moments with coffee, L.S.D. (look, smell, discover) Trip by Caffeine, her first solo exhibit on coffee painting, is open for the public to view. All 31 of them. The date falls on Sunshine’s 28th birthday and coincides with Nescafé’s 70th year in the Philippines.

Everyone is invited!

Date & Venue:

January 12, 2008

Casino Español

Taft Avenue corner Kalaw Street, Manila

Sponsor: NESCAFÉ





To all my guests . . .


  1. Tito Notti
    January 11, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Shine!

    Congrats and best wishes for a great show.
    We are all proud of you!

    T. Notti

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