A storehouse of Philippine culture

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By Atty. Ignacio R. Bunye

Speaking Out

Sunday, May 1, 2011


THE decline of culture signals the decline of a civilization.

With this in mind, the old Central Bank of the Philippines, then headed by Governor Gregorio Licaros, started its collection of Philippine paintings, antiques and cultural properties spanning many centuries. Former Governor Jaime Laya continued Licaros' work.

The result was a collection that is believed to be wider and deeper in scope than the collections of GSIS, Cultural Center of the Philippine and Intramuros Administration combined.

The collections originally acquired for P68 million are now conservatively appraised at nearly P2 billion.

Post Laya, however, the collections practically stopped growing -creating a significant art and culture gap. For instance, only 13 of 14 national artists are represented in the BSP collection. The new generation of artists is likewise conspicuously absent.

To make up for this, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, under Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., established a Committee on BSP Artworks and Paintings chaired by Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo.

Guiguindo is assisted by a Cultural Properties Acquisition Advisory Committee (CPACC) composed of former Governor Jaime C. Laya, Corazon S. Alvina, Lor Calma, Alice G. Guillermo, Arturo R. Luz, Deanna Ongpin-Recto and Cid Reyes.

The CPACC meets twice yearly to evaluate and recommend to the Monetary Board art works for possible acquisition. For this purpose, the Monetary Board has approved an outlay of P100 million.

For a start, CPACC recommended the commissioning of a painting by Benedicto Cabrera, or Bencab. At that time, Bencab was the only national artist not represented in the BSP collection.

To date, new purchases recommended by CPACC (and approved by the Monetary Board) include:

Bencab's painting of "Philippine Revolutionary Heroes", National Artist Arturo Luz' painting "Cyclists/Jugglers", Luz' "Imaginary Landscape", National Artist J. Elizalde Navarro's "Montalvo-Herevieu's Paradis", Duddley Diaz' sculpture "Pinoy Creed", Charlie Co's painting of "St. Michael Duels the Devil", Geraldine Javier's painting of "The Weepers", Yasmin Sison's "A Fistful of Impermanence", Maximino Balatbat II's "Avenida Karnabal", Nunelucio Alvarado's "Carinderia", Lee Aguinaldo's "Explosion" and Dexter Sy's "Oro, Plata, Mata".

The Committee on BSP Artworks and Paintings has also proposed the holding of Tanaw: the BSP Art Competition, a national art competition to be held every two years.

The competition is open to Filipino citizens who are 18 years old and above, and have been declared prize winners of select Philippine and international art competitions and/or have been invited to internationally recognized expositions and institutions.

Hopefully, the biennial art competition will encourage the production of excellent artwork and aid BSP in expanding its art collection and bringing it up to date.

Note: You may email us at totingbunye2000@gmail.com. Past articles may be viewed at http://speakingout.ph/v_palace.php.

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