Kapampangan artist completes marble sculpture training in Italy

GUAGUA -- Presidential Merit Awardee for Ecclesiastical Art Willy Layug has completed almost two-weeks of training in marble sculpture in Carrara in Italy.

Layug has embarked on acquiring skills in marble sculpting in Carrara, a city known for its fine marble. Layug said that the training is part of his exploration into other media as he further explores non-religious themes through sculpture. Layug will be back anytime this week and is expected to apply what he has learned with his future projects.

The training included apprenticeship training with local artisans on actual marble medium.

It could be remembered that Layug was tasked during the recent Papal Visit to create the images used in the various Papal Masses, chief among these was the image of Our Lady of Hope that has now become the icon of the Yolanda disaster and has become a subject of devotion in Palo, Leyte.

The son of a simple boatman who started sculpting at five years old using clay, Layug created the image of Our Lady of Palo used by Pope Francis in the Holy Mass in Tacloban. He now joins the elite rank of four other “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” Filipino awardees, which include musician and composer Ryan Cayabyab, noted liturgist and theologian Dom Anscar Chupungco, OSB, Jesuit composer and Cebu politician-writer Mariano Jesus Diosomito Cuenco and musician Rev. Fr. Eduardo Pardo Hontiveros.

The Kapampangan artist from Betis in Guagua is the first Filipino to up the first ever Filipiniana-inspired altar dedicated to Filipino Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Blessed Pedro Calungsod at the prestigious Pontifico Collegio Filippino. He has done major retablos including that at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Nueva Ecija, the St. John Cathedral in Lingayen-Dagupan, San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod and Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion in Urdaneta, Pangasinan.

Layug was also named Outstanding Guaguaeño for sculptor, Most Outstanding Kapampangan for ecclesiastical art and Best Actor in the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival for “Dukit,” an autobiography of his life as an artist. He is the most accomplished sculptor of his time.
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