THE world renowned MassKara Festival has attracted several nations around the globe to send their delegations to the 7th International Mask Arts & Cultural Organization (Imaco) International Conference held in Bacolod City on November 5 to 7, 2019.
The international conference is hosted by the City Government of Bacolod.
The countries represented at the 7th Imaco International Conference include Bhutan, China, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, Peru, Philippines, Turkey, Korea, France, India, Indonesia, Nepal and Timor-Leste.
IMACO holds its international conference and symposium biennially to interact with cultural artists and organizations related to masks in each country for inheritance and development of mask culture and arts.
Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Bacolod City Lone District Representative Greg Gasataya, councilors Cindy Rojas, Bartolome Orola, Israel Salanga, and former councilor Em L. Ang warmly welcomed the delegates from various countries and assured them of a meaningful visit and artistic cultural exchange.
Mayor Leonardia said, “It is our MassKara Festival that has brought you all to our city and in this SMX Convention Center. I am grateful to Imaco to choose Bacolod, being its lone member in the Philippines, as the host of this 7th Imaco International Conference. The experience we got from attending the 6th Imaco International conference in Lao has been very memorable wherein we met, discussed and further forged relationships as far as our mask culture is concerned. It is the diversity of our respective mask culture that has given us the opportunity to be united in that conference with the other nations and groups who have their own mask culture that speak of their history, ethnicity and other forms of cultural expressions.”
He further said that, “We in Bacolod are proud that even though our MassKara festival is only forty years old, it has been accepted as a member of IMACO whose membership is composed of nations and communities whose mask culture dates back to centuries earlier. We believe that it is in this diversified cultural expressions of our masks that created our respective identities as a nation, as a community and as a group that has made our world more colorful and beautiful.”
Young-sae Kewon, mayor of Andong City of Korea and Imaco president said, “Masks are the universal culture of mankind and culture integration that embodies the value of cultural diversity. Masks represent both the symbolism and originality that stand for individuals, villages, nations, and cross-culture. In this sense, the way we understand mask culture helps us to understand the history and world view of individuals and communities.”
In this Bacolod International Conference in the Philippines, “We are going to expand our view and seek quality over quantity. Breaking away from the performance-oriented research method, we will deepen our mask cultural studies in general such as origins, transmission patterns, myths and rituals, production and management of masks, communities and performers, etc. In addition, we have prepared a very meaningful time for the future of mask culture in line with the United Nation 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.
Bacolod City Lone District Representative Gasataya said, “People with different backgrounds all over the world, converge to enjoy the spectacular activities prepared for this conference.”
“I sincerely hope that this gathering will become a platform for uncovering more inspiring stories that promote freedom, peace, equality, and unity. I look forward to learning about your narratives that can help build relationships that will gear towards our mutual development. Thank you for giving us the honor and privilege to host this prestigious event and also to your extraordinary contributions to the propagation of the Arts and Culture,” he said.