When there is no heart-A A +A
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
ARTISTS in Davao have long been craving for some support, but very few are coming.
This dire lack, however, cannot easily be perceived because by themselves, they do manage to stage events, pooling what little resource they have and being able to show the world that Davao art scene is vibrant and alive.
Thus, Agnes Locsin has just successfully staged her “Puno: Ang Ikatlong Galaw” over the weekend. She also launched a one of a kind book, “Philippine Neo-Ethnic Dance Choreography.” Painter/sculptor Kublai Millan formally launched last month the Kublai Gallery at the fifth floor Yahu Plaza along Bangoy Street and the Davao Contemporary Art Exhibit on the fourth floor, and is also launching his photo-poetry book, a partnership with Brother Karl Gaspar, next week.
There is also the weekly full-page space provided by Sun.Star Davao for free to the Davao Writers Guild to publish their weekly harvest of short stories and poems in the Sunday page called “Dagmay.” While Matina Town Square opens its Taboan to just about every music artist in town.
Indeed, there is some movement going on, but these are but ripples that can stimulate the surface but may not be there for long. What is needed is one big and sustained push focused on the rich artistry of the Dabawenyos.
Tagum City has that, with its annual music festival and it is also re-designing itself to give emphasis on the distinct arts and culture that abound there.
In Davao, however, there is the general feeling by the officialdom that it has done its part by putting up the Museo Dabawenyo and the Kadayawan Festival. The message that comes across is that if you haven’t benefitted from these, then you haven’t been doing your part.
But we have to understand, that while art reflects the level of civilization, civility, and education of a certain locality, it takes time and real effort to nurture it. The local government’s vicarious attitude toward this, which we can even reduce to just giving some tiny support to one individual artist and nothing more, reflects the kind of people we will expect to have.
True enough, it does.
Sad to say, while Davao City is enjoying all these investments and just about every Filipino knows and respects our mayor and vice mayor, our elementary children are “kulelat” as compared to their peers in terms of academic performance, trailing more than 140 cities and towns. This is manifested in the consistent drop in the city’s rankings in the National Elementary Achievement Test.
Yes, we are proud of our city. We have so many fruits, and nature has blessed us so much. Investments too are pouring in everywhere. But we cannot even be proud of our children in terms of what they have learned and know. The numbers are there, staring at us in the face.
That’s because, just like the vicarious way we treat our arts and artists along the line of, “we have given you the few infrastructure, you go battle each other for the lean pickings.” We too regard our children that way. We have the classrooms and the teachers, “syaro dili pa mo magtuon!”
Real investments in our people, our arts, our children, our future are not there. All we have our concrete buildings that in the future may even take over the fertile land that brings us our fresh fruits and water and yes, the world-renowned Philippine Eagle. But then, we all know that concern about arts and children is not about how many bags of cement and sheets of corrugated galvanized iron are bought. Nurturing arts, children, and even literacy requires not just the infrastructure and the manpower; more than these, it needs a heart.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 31, 2012.