Zean Cabangis, in his latest one-man exhibit at West Gallery, asks “What if…” and explores in his works alternate scenarios on what might have happened if circumstances were different. Like in his previous exhibits, Cabangis tends to gravitate toward personal memories and experiences but manages to touch on universal themes: “The main difference [in the new exhibit] is the inclusion of open-ended narratives.” Cabangis draws from as many references as he could, from real-life situations to movies. He notes, “Even when I am at rest physically, my mind isn’t. There are so many scenes playing in my mind where I constantly examine myself and my actions. Would things have turned out differently if I chose to do something else on that particular day?” He points out a scene in the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, where Brad Pitt, as “Benjamin Button,” was thinking back to the day “Daisy,” Cate Blanchett’s character, figured in an accident that forced her to quit dancing, and how she could have avoided the accident if she just did things slightly differently at the time.In Would That It Were, Cabangis tries to use the same reflective approach, this time, drawing images and narratives from his experiences with family members to match the intimacy of the gallery space. Two pieces feature the portraits of his parents, in which he toys with the idea of “what if their paths never crossed and never met.”Meanwhile, Cabangis is aware of the challenges and the unpredictability of emulsion transfer as an art-making process. “You’re always thinking how to correct the ‘mistakes,’ and wondering how the finished product would look like. I just deal with it spontaneously, with very little planning.””I enjoy doing it because it is like unwrapping a gift. You don’t really know how it would turn out in the end. I can also multi-task, where I can do several pieces simultaneously using different techniques,” shares Cabangis, a fine arts graduate from the University of the Philippines in Diliman.