THE Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University (HAU) marked the 100th birth anniversary of National Artist Vicente Manansala with a mass and wreath-laying rites at his gravesite last January 22.

This is in cooperation with the National Historical Institute (NHI) and the Friends of Manansala.

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President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a Kapampangan like Manansala, sent a wreath that was laid at the National Artist's mausoleum at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, alongside the wreaths of NHI, HAU, and the Friends of Manansala.

Ronna Manansala, daughter of Manansala's only son Emmanuel, led an entourage of Manansala's relatives.

The NHI was represented by Emalita Almosora, the Friends of Manansala by Tess Pineda and Cory Lopa, and the Filipinas Heritage Foundation, Inc. by Chichi Salas.

Manansala, who was conferred the National Artist Award upon his death in 1981, spearheaded the post-war modern art movement in the 1950s.

He developed a style called transparent cubism and was widely hailed as the synthesizer of Neorealism in the country.

The wreath-laying ceremonies, according to officials of the Center for Kapampangan Studies, mark the start of the year-long celebration of the National Artist's centenary, which includes exhibits, lectures and art competitions.

"The highlight will be the opening of an art gallery, later this year, featuring eight Manansala nudes owned by the University," Robby Tantingco, Director of the Center, said.

"We are also preparing an exhibit of his collection of pencil sketches which will be seen by the public for the first time."

Manansala is best known for his cubistic vendors, Madonnas and huge murals, including the 15 Stations of the Cross at the UP Chapel and the murals at the Philippine Heart Center and the National Press Club.

Considered the most awarded Filipino painter after World War II, Manansala won first prizes at the National Art Exhibit (1940), AAP Annual (1950), Republic Expo (1951), Spanish Biennial Exhibit (1955), UN Art Contest (1956), and second prize in the Southeast Asia Art Conference (1957). Other distinctions include Outstanding UP Alumnus (1957), Republic Heritage Award (1963), and Araw ng Maynila Award (1970). (Press release)