Thriving amid challenges in Davao City's art scene

Loel C. Balangauan
Loel C. BalangauanLoel C. Balangauan

LOCAL artists often face challenges gaining recognition in Davao City, leading many to seek acknowledgment on the national or international stage. 

Despite these hurdles, 26-year-old artist Loel C. Balangauan perseveres, contributing to the c.

Balangauan, who attended Jose Bastida College and St. Peter’s College of Toril, pursued a degree in Information Technology and Multimedia Arts but was unable to complete it. 

Undeterred by personal challenges, he uses his lens to capture images that not only appeal aesthetically but also benefit local communities.

Through initiatives like 'Project Tabanog' in 2019, Balangauan conducted photoshoots in exchange for hygiene kits and school supplies for indigenous students in Marilog, Davao City. 

He also showcased struggling tenants at Bankerohan Public Market and Aldevinco Shopping Mall in 2020, promoting their products through his Facebook Page Loy Portraits.

The post garnered online traction and several Dabawenyos even revisited their memories of the “OG” of shopping centers. 

Balangauan organizes the Pasundayag sa Dabaw every arts month, providing a platform for artists without exposure. 

Despite the struggle for recognition in the local scene, he believes that showcasing work nationally or internationally is necessary to grab the industry's attention.

“Lisod I please ang art sa local scene. Kailangan pa nimo mag-create ug image nationally or internationally para mapansin ka sa industry. Daghan kaayog artists na hawd in Davao pero ilang struggle kay dili sila matagaan ug spot (Pleasing the local art scene is challenging. Local artists often have to create an image nationally or internationally to garner attention in the industry. Despite the abundance of talented artists in Davao, many struggle to find a spot due to the lack of recognition),” Balangauan said.

Pasundayag sa Dabaw, a local art fair, features an art talk, flea market, art exhibit, and musical performances. 

He acknowledges the challenges artists face, including creative burnout from constant pressure for innovation. He encourages artists to take breaks, connect with peers, and build a supportive community.

He underscored that no matter how exhausting the work, it's essential for artists to acknowledge the challenges and take breaks. He said that these breaks are integral to creative growth. Balangauan encouraged artists to embrace the ebb and flow of inspiration, recognizing that creativity is not constant, and it's okay to experience moments of uncertainty or temporary blocks.

“Connect with fellow artists, share experiences, and build a supportive community. You're not alone in navigating the complexities of the creative process. Collaborate, learn, and find inspiration in the diverse artistic landscapes around you,” he added. RGP


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