With reports from Leia Pelobello/UPC Public Information Office
“SHOCKING and attractive” was how University of the Philippines Cebu Professor Raymund Fernandez described University of the Philippines Cebu (UPC) 39th National Artist Jose Joya Awards winner, Aldrich Maligsa’s piece.
“His (Maligsa’s) work is in the field which reminds us of the Dada movement. It’s in a way shocking; it’s attractive that way. And it was unexpected. Because normally, they (Joya winners) are more into techniques, more into realism. And this time around, it was purely an unexpected winner. But we’re very happy for that, because that’s what we wanted to do,” said Fernandez.
The annual painting competition is named after national artist for the visual arts Jose Joya who, as dean of the UP Diliman College of Fine Arts in 1976, decided to hold a contest for painting, Fernandez said. The contest was launched a year after the institutionalization of the UP Cebu Fine Arts Program.
“In 1975, Jose Joya, along with local artists Martino Abellana, Professor Julian Jumalon, and Carmelo Tamayo founded the Fine Arts program of UP Cebu. This was the first degree-granting formal institution of the Fine Arts outside of Manila,” said Fernandez.
UPC Fine Arts Program Coordinator Palmy Pe-Tudtud saw significant strides in the quality of works through the years.
“I see a lot of potentials. Meaning, our students have really improved in terms of skills, in terms of concept. And I think it’s a positive development in the Fine Arts program. And also, one very important thing is the fact that quite a number of students coming from the Product Design program have joined the competition,” Tudtud said.
Tudtud had encouraged product design students to participate in the competition despite its tradition of being participated mostly by Studio Arts students.
“I’ve been telling them that this is a creative endeavor—a creative initiative ba. So it should not stop you from joining, even if it’s been stereotyped as a Studio Arts activity,” said Tudtud.
This year’s winning artwork by FA senior student Aldrich Maligsa shows a soiled underwear hanging solitarily on a clothesline.
“Ang art dapat, it should react to people either good or bad kay art should make an impact on sight. Dili jud siya para lang (It should’t be just for) crowd-pleasing. Art should come from within and not come from the outside, although it should have influence also from the outside, but murag okay ra man siya (But it looks ok though),” said Maligsa.
One of this year’s judges visual and recording artist Errol “Budoy” Marabiles, himself a Joya awardee in his undergraduate years in UP Cebu, said this year’s conduct of the competition is better than the preceeding years because “there are no longer categories that the artists must follow.”
“At least, makit-an gyud kung kinsay deserving ba makadaog (we’d see who really deserves to win),” he said.
Some of the Joya winners who made a name for themselves as artists are UP Cebu Professors Karl Roque, Raymund Fernandez, Javy Villacin, Dennis Montero, New York-based artist Janine Barera, Errol “Budoy” Marabiles, Arlene Villaver, among others.
Winners take on dark and heavy themes for the competition
This year’s crop of Fine Arts students carry on the painting tradition in the 37th National Artist Jose Joya Awards held on February 22, 2013 at the SM Art Centre.
According to Prof. Ligaya Rabago – Visaya, UP Cebu’s Arts and Culture Head, expressing oneself most especially on canvass is “the essence of what an iskolar ng bayan is.”
The annual arts fete is named after the late National Artist, Jose Joya. He formerly served as the dean of the College of Fine Arts in UP Diliman. As such, Joya is a recognized patron and supporter of the local arts. His family’s estate has ardently helped in the institution of this art competition, in steady cooperation with the National Commission of the Culture and the Arts and UP Cebu’s Arts and Culture Committee.
This year, the student artists responded to the competition with 53 entries. The exhibit was a sea of colors expressed on canvass.
As in every year, the Jose Joya Awards has no theme because it encourages students to paint what they will. But this year’s winners were keen on carrying dark, intrinsic and deep color schemes.
Third place winner is Gelo Arcaya, with his piece entitled “Intimacy.” His creation played around with henna tattoo rendered on leather.
“Intimacy is a representation of two lovers,” Arcaya said. “The medium I used was an experiment when I was working for my thesis. The materials hit to the colors I wanted that is why I used it for my piece,” he added.
On the other hand, second place winner Jesus Codeniera, used nails on aluminum to depict the meaning of the pain Jesus Christ had suffered to save humankind. In equal measure, Codeniera’s “Sympathy for the Callous’ is also said to be inspired by a rock song by the Rolling Stones of the same title.
“We are hard headed but Jesus died for us and his execution is a tough pain,” Codeniera shared.
This year’s champion artist’s piece is “Fairytale.” In stark contrast to its name, this winning piece is a visual medley of somber colors. Sebastian Penayes III, its maker, portrayed the realities of life through three symbols in his painting.
There is the concept of the uncertainty of life which is symbolized by the blurred body structure. “Life is uncertain, we make choices that we are not sure of,” says Penayes.
Also present in the same painting is a ram, the same artist’s representation of the struggles of man. “Ang ordinary nga tawo negative ang connotation sa ram because they think it is demonic. But actually, these are the reasons ngano nindot atong kinabuhi,” he went on to say. A fitting balancing element to Penayes’s depiction of a fairytale is the sun which, according to him, takes for a “happy ending.”
While these three artists have made a name for themselves this year, they still hope to keep the burning passion for the arts, if only for the future generations to see.
In terms of finding the right medium, Arcaya’s advice is straightforward: “Do what you want.”
This year’s champion’s parting shot is this: “Be sure that in every output, give your best and think of it as your last artwork.”
This year’s Jose Joya Awards were judged by JV Castro, a Manila-based curator, filmmaker Joana Arong and former Joya awardee, Jboy Altirado.
(Contributed by Annie Fe Perez, BAMC-4)