The Philip­pine artscape: 2009 har­vests

Manila Times - - Artsawake - BY SHERMA E. BENOSA CON­TRIB­U­TOR

THE Philip­pine artscape is burst­ing with tal­ents, and the world is start­ing to take more no­tice of them, es­pe­cially in 2009. The past year has blessed Filipino artists with op­por­tu­ni­ties not only to show­case what they’ve got in the in­ter­na­tional arena, but also to find fame and bring home tro­phies of ex­cel­lence.

Top news­maker in the 2009 art scene is Di­rec­tor Bril­lante Men­doza who won in May the Best Di­rec­tor plum in the 62nd Cannes Film Fes­ti­val with his movie Ki­natay (“Ex­e­cu­tion of P”; “Butchered”). The same movie won two awards in the 42nd Sit­ges In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Spain: Best Di­rec­tor and Best Orig­i­nal Sound­track.

Men­doza’s winning streak for 2009 did not end there. In De­cem­ber, his movie Lola was given the Muhr Asia Africa Best Fea­ture Film award in the Dubai In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val held in Dubai, United Arab Emi­rates. Even be­fore his big win, his movie Ser­bis has al­ready made head­lines when one of its casts, Gina Pareño, won a Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress award at the 3rd Asian Film Awards held in March at the Hong Kong Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter.

Two other film­mak­ers made it big in in­ter­na­tional film fes­ti­vals. Pepe Dio­kno, a stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines ( UP) Dil­i­man, won two awards— the Luigi de Lau­ren­tiis award for De­but Film and the Or­r­i­zonti Prize for Best Pic­ture— for his film “ Engkuwen­tro” in the 2009 Venice In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (VIFF). Founded in 1932, the VIFF is the old­est and one of the most pres­ti­gious film fests in the world. An­other big win­ner in cin­ema is Alvin Ya­pan, also of UP, whose film,

Ang Pang­ga­ga­ga­hasa kay Fe ( The Rap­ture of Fe) won the Golden Prize for the Fea­ture Dig­i­tal films time at the 33rd Cairo In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. Ang Pang­ga­ga­hasa kay Fe is Ya­pan’s first solo fea­ture-length film.

In dance, the Halili-Cruz Dance Co. which has con­sis­tently gar­nered awards in the past years, con­tin­ued to bring hon­ors to the coun­try in 2009. In April, the group gar­nered four first prizes in four dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories in the Dance Ex­cel­lence 2009 held in Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia. The Filipino dance com­pany bested del­e­gates from other coun­tries in four cat­e­gories: ju­nior bal­let cat­e­gory—allegro; se­nior bal­let cat­e­gory, grand valse; se­nior lyri­cal cat­e­gory,

I be­lieve I can Fly; and se­nior va­ri­ety cat­e­gory, “Gold.”

That is not all. In July, dur­ing the 11th Asia-Pa­cific Dance Com­pe­ti­tion in Bangkok, Thai­land, the group swept the com­pe­ti­tion with 22 first prizes for the cat­e­gories of Clas­si­cal Bal­let, Neo-Clas­si­cal, Demi Char­ac­ter and Mod­ern Con­tem­po­rary in the dif­fer­ent age groups, in solo, duo, trio, en­sem­ble and group per­for­mances. The group did the same in the 21st Cen­tury In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val 2009 held in Novem­ber in Gent­ing High­lands, Malaysia where it won First Prize in the Neo-clas­si­cal cat­e­gory—Youth Divi­sion.

Filipino bal­let dancer and chore­og­ra­pher Ja­son Ig­na­cio, a mem­ber of the Earth­saver’s Dream En­sem­ble, also brought home an award—Out­stand­ing Emerg­ing Artist Award— dur­ing the 24th An­nual Mayor’s Arts Awards given by the District of Columbia. Born and raised in the Philip­pines, Ig­na­cio is also with the crit­i­cally ac­claimed Ci­tyDance En­sem­ble.

Min­danao Uni­ver­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy’s ‘Sang Likha Dance En­sem­ble also made it big in an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. The group bested com­peti­tors from 37 coun­tries to win the top prize in the 5th In­ter­na­tional Youth Dance Fes­ti­val in Bei­jing, China. Their award—Best in Move­ment—was the only award at stake in the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Philip­pines also did very well in mu­sic. Rhap Salazar, Keane An­deza, Yvette Pa­bala, and the Young Voices of Ne­gros brought home the ba­con in the 13th World Cham­pi­onships of Per­form­ing Arts (WCOPA) held in Hol­ly­wood. The com­pe­ti­tion’s big­gest win­ner, 12-year-old Salazar, was pro­claimed Ju­nior Grand Cham­pion Solo Vo­cal­ist of the World and Ju­nior Grand Cham­pion Per­former of the World. The vo­cal quar­tet, The Young

■ Voices of Ne­gros, mean­while, bagged the ti­tle Ju­nior Grand Cham­pion Group Vo­cal­ists of the World. An­deza, on the other hand, won six medals in the 18-24 cat­e­gories of the com­pe­ti­tion: two gold, one sil­ver and three bronze medals, while Pa­balan of the Sexbomb Girls won four medals: two gold, one sil­ver and one bronze.

Three Filipino chil­dren’s choirs also won big time in the first World Choir Cham­pi­onships in South Korea: The Man­daue Chil­dren’s Choir, Young Voices of the Ad­ven­tist Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines and the Calasiao Chil­dren’s Cho­rus. The Man­daue Chil­dren’s Choir won first prize in the Chil­dren’s Choir cat­e­gory of the Grand Prix of Choral Mu­sic, whereas Young Voices of the Ad­ven­tist Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines bagged the gold prize in the Chil­dren’s Choir cat­e­gory and sil­ver prize in the Mu­sic of the Re­li­gions cat­e­gory of the 2nd Asian Choir Game.

Mean­while, the Calasiao Chil­dren’s Cho­rus won first prize in the folk­lore cat­e­gory in the Korean In­ter­na­tional Open Choir Com­pe­ti­tion and gold prize for the Korean In­ter­na­tional Open Choir Com­pe­ti­tion.

Still in mu­sic, Bev­erly Shangkuan grabbed the top prize at the Amer­i­can Choral Direc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion (ACDA) Na­tional Stu­dents’ Con­duct­ing Com­pe­ti­tion held in Ok­la­homa in March. Shangkuan is a UP grad­u­ate ( Bach­e­lor of Mu­sic in Choral Con­duct­ing), summa cum laude.

Kam­mer­chor Manila, a church­based cho­rale or­ga­ni­za­tion, im­pressed the jury of the 2nd An­ton Bruck­ner In­ter­na­tional Cho­rale Com­pe­ti­tions and Fes­ti­vals held in June in Linz, Aus­tria. It came there­fore as no sur­prise that the group was awarded the gold diploma and de­clared cham­pion in the Cham­ber Choir of Mixed Voices Cat­e­gory. The group also took home the Sil­ver Diploma in the Sa­cred Mu­sic Cat­e­gory and was awarded a spe­cial prize for out­stand­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the choral piece, Pa­mu­gun, ar­ranged by Pro­fes­sor Fran­cisco Feli­ciano.

Fi­nally, in July, the Philip­pine Madri­gal Singers, which has con­sis­tently brought hon­ors to the coun­try, was pro­claimed the new­est Artist for Peace of the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific, and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (Unesco). They are the sec­ond Philip­pine group to re­ceive the ac­co­lade, the first be­ing the Philip­pine ITI Cen­ter’s Earth­saver’s Dream En­sem­ble.

In lit­er­ary arts, mean­while, poet and lit­er­ary critic Gemino H. Abad won Italy’s most cov­eted lit­er­ary prize—the Premio Fero­nia-Citta di Fiano 2009— on July 11 at the Cas­tle of Fiano Ro­mano, Italy via his po­etry col­lec­tion, “Or­di­nary Times.” Premio Fero­ni­aCitta de Fiano is the high­est lit­er­ary award Italy gives to for­eign au­thors.

US-based Randy Gener, head of the English de­part­ments of Cor­nell, Prince­ton, and Yale Uni­ver­si­ties and Se­nior Ed­i­tor of Amer­i­can The­atre mag­a­zine, re­ceived the 2009 Ge­orge Jean Nathan Award for Dra­matic Crit­i­cism. The ac­co­lade is given an­nu­ally to “the Amer­i­can who has writ­ten the best piece of drama crit­i­cism dur­ing the the­atri­cal year [July 1 to June 30], whether it is an ar­ti­cle, an es­say, trea­tise or book.”

In vis­ual arts, Uni­ver­sity of the East alum­nus Max­imino Mark Balat­bat was hon­ored at the 7th Florence Bi­en­nale ( Bi­en­nale In­ter­nazionale dell’ Arte Con­tem­poronea Florence) with the “ Lorenzo il Mag­nifico” award for gar­ner­ing the 2nd prize for his en­try, Avenida Manila. Held at the his­toric Fortezza da Basso, Italy, the award is a pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional art event at­tended by se­lect artists from 80 coun­tries and show­cases over 2,500 mas­ter­pieces.

A self-taught artist also emerged as win­ner in the Ce­leste Prize 2009 held in Berlin, Ger­many. Nasser Lubay whose en­try, Re­birth ( wa­ter­color) bagged the sec­ond prize in the paint­ing cat­e­gory, best­ing 734 fi­nal­ists from dif­fer­ent parts of the world, is from Can­de­laria, Que­zon. The Ce­leste Prize is an in­ter­na­tional art com­pe­ti­tion for con­tem­po­rary artists organized by As­so­ci­azione Cul­tur­ale L’Al­bero Ce­leste, a non­profit Ital­ian cul­tural as­so­ci­a­tion.

Filipinos have also man­aged to hold their own at the 3rd Del­phic Games held in Jeju, South Korea, where Ifu­gao wood carver Ernesto Dal-ang won gold in the com­pe­ti­tion with his hu­man fig­ure ( carved in a cedar tim­ber) pour­ing wa­ter from an earthen jar into a base of mixed sub­jects. In Graphic Story Telling-cat­e­gory, Leo Ag­tuca bagged the sil­ver medal with his work, which de­picts a dream­ing child in a bird’s nest.

Two Filipinos also won in the Asian photograph­y con­test on cli­mate change spon­sored by the South­east Asian Min­is­ters of Ed­u­ca­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SEAMEO). Nikki Sandino Vic­to­ri­ano won first prize with her photo “ Plant­ing Bam­boo” while Dion­i­sio Sal­vador Jr. grabbed the third spot with his de­pic­tion of a bi­cy­cle lane in the tilt. Be­tween the two Filipinos is Thai­land’s Vinai Ditha­john.

In Korea, Polytech­nic Uni­ver­sity of the Philip­pines stu­dent Jophel Botero Ybiosa emerged as the grand prize win­ner in the photograph­y cat­e­gory of the 2009 Asean-Korea Mul­ti­me­dia Com­pe­ti­tion for his en­tries The

Guide, Fes­tive Day and Re­flec­tion of a Cul­ture. Also given recog­ni­tion was UP stu­dent MM Yu who was cited as “Spe­cial Guest Ar­tis” as a recog­ni­tion to her out­stand­ing en­tries. Ear­lier, Ybiosa was hon­ored as one of the fi­nal­ists in the print cat­e­gory of 2009 Bangkok In­ter­na­tional Print and Draw­ing Com­pe­ti­tion.

The list of win­ners is not yet ex­haus­tive, but it al­ready af­firms what we’ve known all along: that when we speak of tal­ent, you can count on the Filipinos. As we wel­come the year 2010, it is hoped that more op­por­tu­ni­ties will come our artists’ way. Or bet­ter yet, that our artists who will ac­tively seek will find the right venues for their God-given and ex­pe­ri­ence-pol­ished tal­ents. The year 2010 be­ing the year of rap­proche­ment of cul­ture, NCCA Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Ce­cile Guidote Al­varez fore­sees a wider ac­claim for the artis­tic ex­cel­lence of Filipinos. The recog­ni­tion of the Philip­pines as the first Asean Cul­tural Cap­i­tal might be a good in­di­ca­tion of what to look for­ward to in the com­ing months.

modes pick of up pro­duc­tion from var­i­ous of styles the past, and as scav­engers with an en­tirely if you dif­fer­ent will, but ob­jec­tive equipped from This their dy­nam­ics pre­de­ces­sors. was what Las Ve­gas Art Mu­seum James Mann re­ferred to in his es­say Art Af­ter Post­mod­ernism: “ The fun­da­men­tal premise of art af­ter Post-Mod­ernism is that since the var­i­ous art forms of high cul­ture have been an­a­lyt­i­cally dis­man­tled, fully picked apart and bro­ken down— the im­por­tant, un­avoid­able, in­evitable work now con­fronting se­ri­ous vis­ual artists, writ­ers and com­posers, is to pick up the junked pieces and put that cul­ture back to­gether again in lim­it­less new ways.”

The op­er­a­tive words in this de­scrip­tion of the task of a con­tem­po­rary artist are “ lim­it­less” and “new” be­cause artists now must not merely re­peat or re­hash the past.

Art: N(e)W, Art New, Now sup­poses a pe­riod of con­tem­pla­tion, a col­lec­tive pause be­fore a de­tour. De­tour to what? No one knows, for sure, but the artist is a crea­ture of his/ her sur­round­ings, a func­tion of his/ her ( per­sonal) his­tory and the road is wide open for ex­plo­ration.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing artists in­clude: Camille Asun­cion, Ralph Bar­ri­en­tos, Dodge Car­pio, Fidel Cas­trence, Dianne Concepcion, Dawani Deleon, Kat Fal­lara, Jas­min Gaba­gat, Jazz Gabriel, Alee Garibay, Cara Gon­za­lez, Clara Her­rera, My­lene Lis­ing, Ana Mata, Joseph Morong, Mari­dann Pe­dro, Paulo Pas­cual, Isaac Sion, Isay Ro­driguez, Jo Tanierla, Ka­t­rina Taule, Tanya Umali and Jo­cel Yabes. The ex­hi­bi­tion is cu­rated by CCP 13 Artists Awardee and UP Pro­fes­sor Jonathan Olazo. Ex­hi­bi­tion is on view De­cem­ber 1 to 15, Tues­days through Fri­days, 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. at the NCCA Gallery.

Bril­lante Men­doza: The artist to reckon with in 2009. PHOTO BY JOSE SYLWIN SOLIDUM

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