Thursday, April 25, 2019

Awakening social conscience through art

WE all want to live in a just society—where justice prevails, where virtues such as honesty, fairness, and integrity are the norm and not the exception, and where citizens live in dignity and peace.

Sadly, this remains a dream in the present state of the Philippines.

Even Filipino artists, for all their boundless talents and imagination, can only dream of the same things.

But for Negrense artists Charlie Co and Nunelucio Alvarado, they put these dreams into artworks, encouraging people to look closer into these harsh realities, and hope that these artworks can awaken our collective social conscience and do something to reverse the state of the nation.

Co and Alvarado—two of the most prolific and highly esteemed artists in the country—collaborated to stage a two-man exhibit dubbed, “Dreams and Reality: Exploring Social Conscience.”

The exhibit opened Saturday at the Negros Museum in Bacolod. It will run until June 16.

The artists said their masterpieces show their different dreams and aspirations for the society. It also mirrors social realities affecting people's lives, some of which are sometimes neglected by many people.

One of the eye-catching paintings of Co titled "Maximum Security" shows the long-tolerated irregularities at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa, such as the luxurious living of some detainees, and gambling activities.
Another interesting works of art in the exhibit are Alvarado's paintings about prostitution, drugs and gambling in the province.
"Most of my paintings here are based on my observation and personal experiences," he shared.

Meanwhile, the artists lament the exposure of art in both the local and international scenes.

"The Philippines is very strong when it comes to art, but in exposure, we don't have that much," says Co.

Citing the recent success of El Gamma Penumbra in Asia's Got Talent, Co believes that if given the proper opportunity, Filipino artists can shine in the world stage.

So through their exhibit, Co wants to inspire the young and next generation of artists to strive more and continue their passion for art. He is encouraging them to believe in their talents and that through art they can also contribute to the society's welfare.

For his part, Alvarado also aspires for a more flourishing art industry in Negros, which is said to be the melting pot of art in the country.

Negros Cultural Foundation president Lyn Gamboa expressed her gratitude to Co and Alvarado for sharing their gift of art and for serving as great inspiration to their fellow artists.

The foundation hopes that their works have sent out clear messages and invite people to respond, reflect and take action on the ills that plague the society.
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