The Coronavirus pandemic has hit the common man very hard. Millions have lost their only source of livelihood because of the recession it has caused. One such person is Mary Mae Dacanay, a 23-year-old factory worker from the Philippines.
Due to the pandemic, Mary lost her job at the factory. But, instead of sitting idle at home, she came up with an extraordinary source of income. She started to convert plain leaves into celebrity art. Mary Dacanay decided to invest more time into her favourite pastime after her job loss. But because of the strict lock-down measures halting logistics, she couldn’t obtain the required material to start with her venture.
However, instead of sitting heartbroken, she picked leaves from the Jackfruit tree just outside her home. In no time, she was shaping the leaves with absolute precision. This resulted in her creating faces of famous people like Oprah Winfrey, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Jackson, and even Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines on the leaves.
“Because of this pandemic, I wanted to try making artwork but purchasing art supplies in my town was very difficult because of the strict lockdown. The only way was to buy online but it was also difficult. I experimented using leaves as a makeshift canvas and it turned out really nice,” said Dacanay from her home in the Laguna province.
Soon, she started gaining both popularity and followers on Facebook. Because of this, she was able to start selling her “leaf art” pieces. The cost of each piece on average is USD 8.25 (400 Filipino pesos). However, the prices vary depending upon the level of detail in each leaf.
Mary said that she has sold several hundred of her art pieces. According to her, this new venture lets her enjoy what she loves doing, take some time out, and comfortably pay her bills. Earlier, she used to work for all the seven days in a week and even overtime only to make ends meet.
Mary Mae Dacanay said, “This leaf art has helped me so much financially during this pandemic. The money I use to pay bills, buy food for my family, and our other daily expenses are from my earnings from commissioned work.”