Marilou Deniega “Malu” was born with mild cerebral palsy, which has kept her in a wheelchair with limited mobility of her hands. As a young girl, Malu would remain indoors while the other children went out to play. However, Malu stayed by her mother’s side and would watch her create designs for the baby dress manufacturer for which she worked. Her mother noticed Malu’s interest and would ask for suggestions in the designs which then sparked her own creativity in making paper dolls. Upon seeing a finished product, Malu felt special and proud of her own artistic abilities.
Malu realized her artistic talents when she won a competition in 1997. When her photo appeared alongside her winning piece she then believed her art was appreciated for art’s sake and not because she is a person with a disability. “I realized I am an artist,” Malu proudly explained. Malu took free painting lessons conducted at Tahanang Walang Hagdanan in Cainta under the auspices of Circle of Friends Foundation Inc., (COFFI).
Malu’s jeepney designs on bags, aprons, and coin purses are her outlet for her original artistic talents. She continues to be inspired by her husband, fellow artist Alandino, and her son whose own creative expression is musical.