APART from the annual arts month celebration held during February, reputable artists and movers of the local art scene in Negros were recognized in an event that highlighted their craftsmanship and ingenuity on a mid-September weekend.
Minus the red carpet, it could have been a grand awards show as mall executives mounted a class act to celebrate the lives of great names and the new personalities that have slowly etched their marks in the circle of artists in the countryside.
Dubbed as "My City, My SM, My Art," it's an exposition about the lives, works and even the selflessness of our artists that have become a reflection of our culture and heritage as a people.
Thrilling to see in one stage are the master artists of the province who have equally paved the way for arts to flourish. A sight to behold, it was not only a visual treat but I ended emotionally high that in this lifetime I chanced upon the pieces of masters that made them masterpieces themselves.
Master artists Nunelucio Alvarado, Charlie Co, Rodney Martinez, and Rafael Paderna headlined the celebration of life. These names inspired grassroots and local communities to engage in art the fulfillment that comes along in self expression and being bold.
The great Alvarado, for one, reinforced our learning from history that "great civilizations start at the rivers," as he pioneered the art scene in Sagay City.
Apart from these notable personalities, I suit myself as a proud former student of artist Manny Montelibano. For the longest time, Manny has strengthened the drive of young people to engage in production works and film. His realistic approach in art has earned him spots in the national and international art gatherings, a fitting tribute to a master that he is.
Funny though, I learned the basics of Adobe Premier under his class in La Salle some 10 years ago and failed countless of times in saving my projects. In class, he is usually calm while digging the inner artists in us, living up to his reputation of building a generation of talented artists through his well tested formula. It was through him that we found our younger selves at the Orange Gallery, rubbing elbows with long haired guys who produce globally competitive art exhibitions.
It was refreshing to see Kara Leonardia in the video loops, touring audience to heritage places like local museums and checking in the lives of artists in short but in depth interviews.
The Mansion in Silay City got its fair share of exposure, an indirect invitation to sit down and meet Adela or maybe take a peek into its backdoor where every inch is a story worth listening about. Or maybe, personally, I am just fond of the place as I have religiously spent great weekend nights over bottles of wines and its signature specialty list.
"My City, My Art" is supported by Shell Group of Companies, Philippine Star, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Center Stage Productions of master filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza.
I am reminded of Leighton Jones, "A masterpiece serves as a window to the past---vivid examples of the importance beauty, strength, movement, and athletic ability. We may not know who the masters were, but their mastery communicates universal values that have not faded with the passage of time."
At SM City Bacolod atrium, know more about our master artists through their pieces that make up their stories of hope and struggles to become masterpieces themselves.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on September 19, 2017.
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