Award-winning sculptor exhibits work-A A +A
Sunday, October 27, 2013
GILBERT “Bergano” Gano Alberto, the g-stringed Ifugao woodcarver who topped the last two editions of the biennial Morges International Sculpture Symposium in Switzerland, will display his driftwood and river stone pieces in a three-month exhibit, which opened Saturday at The Manor, Camp John Hay.
Alberto, who lives and works in a patchwork shop he calls “Igorot Gallery” by the Bued River about 500 meters before the Bridal Veil Falls at Twin Peaks along Kennon Road, will exhibit over 20 of his driftwood and stone sculptures, together with his top-winning entry in the 1998 National Centennial painting competition.
With him are two of his under-studies -- his nephew and fellow woodcarver Billy Gano and Edwin Acop -- who will debut in the exhibit dubbed “Art to Art Talk” and co-sponsored by The Manor.
Bergano first gained international recognition at the 2011 Morges International when he turned a block of stone into an old man beating a gong.
The figure earned him the “Prix du Public-Pieere” (Audience Choice –Stone) award and the silver in the “Prix du Jury (Jury Prize) in the stone category of the prestigious biennial competitions in the Morges Castle by Lake Geneva.
To explain his entry, Bergano etched on the gong in stone: “The Echo of an Old Man Laying the Sound of Wisdom; The Old Man will be You and Me."
Last June, he returned to the castle and proved his initial triumph was no fluke. Shifting to wood, he carved out a balloon-cheeked alpine horn blower donning an alpine hat and shoes.
The piece, inspired by the visit of two alpine blowers to his side of the competition two years ago, earned him the “Prix des Artistes” (Artists’ Prize) on voting by the 32 artists from 16 countries who participated in the sculpture festival, together with the Prix du Public – Bois” (Audience Choice-Wood) through balloting by people who came to watch the competitions.
In both triumphs, Bergano had the full backing of Cordillera expatriates in Switzerland and Europe who were ecstatic when they learned through an e-posting by Yvonne Belen, coordinator of the Igorot Cordillera BIMAAK Europe, that the g-stringed, yet unknown Igorot sculptor was entered as the only Asian in the art tournament.
In both occasions, expats the likes of Julio Monico, his sister Lolit Hafner, Violeta Passerini, Lolita Pilando and Anny Misa-Heffti brought out the gongs and brought in food to turn the victory celebrations into a virtual cañao feast.
Former world Shotokan karate champion Julian Chees, now a fifth-dan based in southern Germany, drove 500 miles with fellow martial artist Renate Doth in time for the gong-beating merriment and reunion of Cordillerans after the 2011 festival.
Recalling the merriment, Monico wrote: “A festival of its kind took place around the masterpiece of Gilbert, as some of our ‘kababayans,' BIBAK members from far regions of Switzerland and friends arrived with their home-prepared (food) and drinks.”
Andrea Suanding, who accompanied Gilbert this year, said “most of the onlookers were amazed with his work (mainly for the alpine horn player’s) expressive face and tantalizing eyes.”
Gilbert plans to return to Morges for the 2015 edition of the sculpture festival, this time as accompanying person, perhaps to nephew Billy or under-study Acop. (Ramon Dacawi)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 28, 2013.