SIBOL: Sprout, growth, a word implying a new life from a seed.

The description speaks of a teacher’s life work: to bring forth growth and progress among those they are tasked to teach.

Thus, the title “Sibol: Planting Seeds of Peace” is most apt for a four-man exhibit of three public and private school mentors and their mentor, Mindanao artist Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan, in the three teachers’ foray into the mainstream art scene at the Gallery Nine at SM Megamall on Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.

Unveiled last May 30, 2019, “Sibol” forms part of a series of exhibits Millan is spearheading to introduce Mindanao art to mainstream art galleries, enthusiasts, and patrons and focus attention on the lush art scene of Mindanao that focuses on the colors of life and aspiration for peace, far different from the angst-ridden of the national capital.

Art from elementary to college

A graduate of the University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City, Donn Manguilimotan teaches art to pupils of the Vedasto F. Corcuera Elementary School in Malagamot, Panacan.

He has been dabbling in art since his first year in high school during which he has been participating in poster-making contests and similar art competitions.

Manguilimotan has since been painting and selling his pieces, locally. He is a known illustrator among educators here and is a national illustrator recognized by Bureau of Learning Resource, a muralist, and a professional artist.

He is known in the local art scene for his cubist renditions of Mindanao life.

Donn believes that art promotes peace and solidarity when explored and shared and that “the growth and spinning of the artist's artistic perspective is an effect of broad-based culture and connection with each other.”

This is seen in his works that feature Mindanaoans of different cultures and statures.

“I am so glad to be part of this exhibit since it is my first time to showcase my works in Manila,” Jefferson Bangot said. “For this show, my colleagues and I want to show what we can do as an artist and what we are doing in Davao / Mindanao. This is also very special since all of the exhibiting artist are art educators.”

Jeff, Art and Design teacher of Davao City National High School Senior High School program, is a graduate of BSED major in Social Studies at Holy Cross of Davao College and currently finishing his second course in Fine Arts major in Painting at Philippine Women’s College of Davao.

Jeff trained under Datu Bago Awardee Ricardo Obenza Jr. in high school and has been active in the Davao art scene, participating in many group exhibits. But his passion is in teaching and seeing his students grow in their art.

He believes that art can be an instrument to heal society and a solution of the human pursuit to becoming a better version of themselves. He received the Culture and Arts Award given by the City of Davao in 2013.

Completing the trio of formal educators is Victor Augustus Dumaguing, a graduate of Fine Arts in the Ford Acadamy of the Arts in Davao City in 2005 after not finding meaning in his first course, Accountancy.

He organized his own non-formal Visual art and Music school in 2006 - Sining Mata Learning Center for the Arts in Tagum City, which is running until now. He was first hired to teach art at the Philippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus for five years. He became an instructor at the college of Fine Arts at the University of Mindanao in Davao City in 2013 up to present, and is currently taking up Master in Fine Arts and Design at Philippine Women’s University in Metro Manila.

“In my own understanding of peace, hope and love for my family, I chose to plant them in my artworks with the hopes and advocacy of spreading and sharing them to the community. Just like taking care of a plant, it is also my responsibility to take care of my advocacy, to strengthen and nurture it well enough to make it sprout and spread,” Vic said.

Although the three already have a name among Davao City artists, they still need a much-needed boost to break into the Manila market where real money is, from where an artist can sustain a comfortable life to pursue his art.

Anchoring the exhibit is Kublai Millan, who already has a strong following among Manila art patrons.

It hopes that by bringing in the crowd who are looking forward to Kublai’s new works, the three artists will get a boost toward the lucrative market of finicky art collectors at the same time spread the message of peace.

In the competitive art market and rush for collections, it is typical of the collectors to go only where the known artists are and grab their collections from there, making it difficult for newcomers to get their attention.

The joint exhibit is designed to do this.

Named “Sibol” to signify sprouting up, the exbibit seeks to open doors for Mindanao artists as the series will bring together more Mindanao artists that are already honed to appeal to the eyes of these art collectors and galleries.