Kapampangan artist hopes to inspire with book

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Presidential Merit Awardee for Ecclesiastical Art Willy Layug hopes and prays that his book will inspire other artisans and the younger generation to transform abstract visions of faith into reality.

Layug shared during the soft launch of his book “Willy Tadeo Layug” at SM City Pampanga on Friday that the wood carving industry needs to be sustained and will only be possible if the next generation will take up their tools and aspire, like what he did, to transform visions of faith into reality.

“I hope and pray that this book will inspire fellow artists and the next generation to sustain the industry and continue to transform visions of faith into reality. With God as inspiration, nothing is impossible,” he said.

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who wrote a message for the book, said that the life of Layug is a story of the life of an artist modelled by the culture and traditions of his native place, Betis in Guagua, Pampanga and the works of local masters and the European maestros of the early centuries.

“Competent art critiques will be able to delineate the uniqueness and mastery in Willy's works. For me the outstanding quality of his sacred sculptures and retablos is their ability to move the people to prayer, to reach out to the divine, to that which can bring them close to God,” Tagle added.

Layug said that the book is aimed at putting into print his life lessons as an artist.

Author Laya Boquiren said that the book is a contribution to the efforts of documenting Filipino arts and crafts. The book chronicles the works of Layug for the past 40 years. The book is also a catalogue of Layug’s many works all over the country and abroad. His works could be seen as far as Minadanao and even in Rome.

Layug said that Boquiren was able to write his life story through the proper artistic light.

Boquiren has authored three textbooks on art under one of the leading publishers in the country and has two other art history publications on the way. She started her career as a curatorial consultant for Gallery Genesis, a gallery specializing in aquarelle, in addition to having an extensive collection of selected masterpieces spanning turn of the century, modern, and contemporary periods.

The book’s photographs were handled by internationally awarded photographer Ruston Banal who is a friend of the prolific sculptor.

The book already went on two successful soft launching at SM City Pampanga and before bishops of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

At SM City Pampanga, the book was formally presented to media men as well as supporters from SM City Pampanga led by Senior Vice President Millie Dizon who has been supportive of Layug and the wood craft industry of Betis, Guagua.

Copies of the book - which have already been sold by the dozens with many more pre-ordered - were given to SM City Pampanga and the Provincial Government of Pampanga for their support.

The book is set for another provincial launching at Holy Angel University also this August and a grand launching at the University of Santo Tomas on August 18 where religious icon enthusiasts, religious image collectors and patrons are expected to attend.
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