RENOWNED artists in the Philippines joined the Pamana ng Lahi 2023 Art Exhibit which opened at SM City Bacolod on May 23, 2023.

The said art exhibit is anchored on the celebration of Philippine Heritage Month which will run from May 23 to 28.

Rafael Cusi, Florentino "Jun" Impas, Jr., and Anthony Palomo who are known Finest Visual Masters are featured in the exhibit.

Seasoned artist Rafael Paderna, former Bacolod councilor John Orola Jr., DFA Bacolod head Rex Albania, executive directorJulius Cesar Flores of Manggad Nga Wala Naga Lubad (Timeless Treasure Travel), Rodney Martinez, and SM leasing manager Nikki Schulze among others graced the opening.

Artist Anthony Palomo was a member of Salingpusa art collective, a group of struggling young painters formed in the 1990s who have since then pursued celebrated individual careers as artists. He eared his Bachelor of Fine Arts (major in Painting) at the University of the Philippines in Diliman in 1992 and started exhibiting his works in public that same year.

Palomo won several national art competitions, most notable of which are the Grand Prize (Watercolor Category) at the 24th Shell National Students Art Competition in 1991, Grand Prize (Watercolor Category) of the 11th Metrobank National Painting Competition in 1994, and a citation as finalist in the 1999 Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards.

Palomo, is notable for combining human figures with/botanicals in geometric patterns to provide a refreshing buffer to/his figurations, represented the country at the 1997 Perak Art Festival held in West Malaysia and was part of the 2004 Philippine/Independence Day celebration travelling group exhibit in Germany, in cooperation with the Philippine Embassy.

He is just a simple man, with simple dreams who happens to be very talented and extraordinary painter.

Artist Florentino "Jun" Impas, Jr. said, "My works revolve around human figures, significant cultural events, and quintessential Filipino scenes. I started my art journey by observing the world around me at a young age and was mostly self-taught. I enjoy painting ordinary scenes of day-to-day life, believe in the beauty of the ordinary. The most touching and telling of any story is better felt when captured in infinite duration as in a realism painting."

Impas is a realism and portrait, visual artist. Although born in Danao City, Cebu, at a young age, his family decided to migrate to Surigao City. As a son of a fisherman and housewife and with 10 siblings, life was not easy for Jun.

He worked several part-time jobs to make ends meet. He was introduced to art through a part-time job as a poster and billboard maker in a local cinema in Surigao City. Painting actors and actresses in showing movies was how he realized he he was quite capable of painting. He pursued his professional

art career by moving to Cebu and joining local art groups.

As a self-taught artist, he absorbed lessons from art books and techniques from peers. Since then, he has become a multiawarded artist and has consistently shown in both group and solo exhibits. He eventually earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts Major U Painting from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. He also became the president of Cebu Artists Inc. (CAl) as well as the former president of the Portraits Artist Society of the Philippines.

He is currently a member of the Durian Collective artist group. His works have been exhibited locally, nationaly, and internationally reaching Vatican, ltaly, Chicago, and New York.

He has judged several art competitions and has also done numerous portrait commissions of known personalities and families in society.

Now, he has established his own Art Space, located in Gaas, Balamban, Cebu, which comprises a gallery, studio, paint bar and café. Currently, his mission is to connect art and tourism to showcase Filipino art and culture and to make everyone fall in love with art.

Artist Rafael "Popoy" Cusi, Master of Watercolor Esteemed as the "Master of the Watercolor in the Philippines" and acclaimed as one of the top artists in the Philippines, Rafael Cusi's paintings are wellspring of his total artistic process.

His almost instinctive

virtuosity in composing his masterworks demonstrate how much he dominates watercolor with ease often considered as a thought-provoking and formidable artistic medium to handle. The vast array of subjects he paints like the landscapes and seascapes, underwater, genre-scenes, abstracts and

nudes substantiate many years of unrelenting pursuit of his artistic identity.

Cusi's paintings captivate still life not plainly grasped through a vicarious experience but from actual observations and impressions, like his "underwater" masterworks which embodies his childhood and adolescence in Mindoro.

His paintings also attest his unwavering discipline for experimentation and innovations which he honed as a student of Fine Arts at the Philippine Women's University.

His art carries with it, a visionary and imaginative character largely shaped by the artistic movement and social climate he has come fo know as a fiery young artist.

Cusi's art philosophy is not only one of form or style but an advocacy to bring out the vibrancy and delicacy of watercolor as a medium that upholds the "oriental" (Asian) spirit, at par with oil pioneered by Europeans and acrylic by the Americans. As of one of the best out of only a handful watercolourist in the Philippines, he has elevated the medium by showcasing massively intricate watercolor artworks here in the Philippines and in various parts of Asia, the US and several European countries, including Spain, Germany, Austria, Belgium Switzerland and the UK. His art has earned him several recognitions like the the Art for Environmental Award of the European Center for Environment Art in Italy in 2000, Most Outstanding Citizen of Mindoro in 1991, and, First Prize for the Visual Arts Category, and emerging as the Grand Prize Winner in the same year during the Art Association of Philippines Annual Art Competition in 1980.

Cusi was also a recipient of several grants and scholarships such as the Khan Scholarship and Ford Foundation. His profound regard for art also gained him the momentum to further advance Philippine arts through publications which featured his uncanny artistry such as his two self-titled books, "The Philippine Coral Reefs in Watercolor by Rafael Cusi" (1997) and "Yin and Yang by Rafael Cusi" (2008), as well as the "Who's who in International Art", "Encyclopedia of Philippine Art" and "Fine Artists of the Philippines", The multifarious brush strokes, monumental themes, the poignant use of light and discerning selection of colors are the embodiment of Rafael Cusi-an explosive, passionate and immensely creative artist, A total league of his own.