Philippine Daily Inquirer

There’s a May 7 main event at CCP

- Recah Trinidad

NONITO Donaire Jr. felt great and grand that he said he felt he could swallow up his shorter opponent. As the reigning WBO super bantamweig­ht champion, Donaire was heavily favored to run over the fourth-ranked Zsolt Bedak of Hungary.

This was on Friday, during the weigh-in for Donaire’s title defense at the Cebu City Sports Center scheduled yesterday.

Bedak, for his part, promised no fireworks. He only vowed to go for a victory, give a good fight.

*** This piece is being rushed a few hours before the WBO championsh­ip. Nothing solid yet to report with the deadline a few ticks away.

Well, this could be out of place, but allow me to report on what should solidly count also as a main event.

There is the May 7 mainer in Las Vegas between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan. Here at home, there’s the scheduled May 7 grand rally of Ro- drigo Duterte, expected to draw a mammoth crowd at the Luneta.

*** Listen please. Also on May 7, Antonio G. Austria, accomplish­ed but unassuming multiaward­ed artist, mounts a retrospect­ive exhibit at the main gallery of Cultural Center of the Philippine­s.

By the way, as an admirer of Manny Pacquiao, Austria had observed that, although his boxing idol was not at his best in his last fight, he was able to display sustained maturity, mainly in defense.

Austria said that, although overcautio­us, Pacquiao properly paced himself, and was more careful, composed.

*** Regarding the Austria retrospect­ive, there will be a total of 67 canvases, all easel works.

The exhibit will cover 60 years, six decades of Austria the painter since graduating from University of Santo Tomas where he was a protege of the late National Artist Victorio Edades.

As far as Austria is concerned, he would not announce something grand and great.

*** Yes, he won’t allow himself to do a Donaire and promise fireworks.

This reporter had the chance last Thursday to corner the shy and evasive Austria in his quiet tree-shrouded studio in San Juan, back of the main stone church off A. Bonifacio in Poblacion.

There will be no works of mural proportion, he explained.

*** All Austria could promise is a tour of Filipino folk way, happy, colorful frames on the jeepney, sari sari store, fiesta, religious rites, games, gardens, sidestreet life, other scenes and practices depicting the root, ways, the humble tropical nobility of our people.

If to a writer, there’ll be no epic soars, only honest telling of tales.

But take it from one who had the chance of savoring Austria’s gifts: He’s God’s gift to those who care for honest, historic artistry.

*** The critic was apt who noted early on that, in Austria, there is always the competence and enviable craftmansh­ip, the originalit­y that quietly ignites into spontaneou­s poetry.

Austria, no doubt, is one of our important artists today.

As the lead historian Ambeth Ocampo noted, the works of the underrated master “always makes me smile.”

No blazing knockout, but the Austria retrospect­ive will be one historic event to happily remember.

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