Mosaic on child labor wins Joya prize

PHOTO: HAT TRICK. Ferdinand Aragon offers words of gratitude after winning the Jose Joya art competition in 2017 as UP Cebu Chancellor Liza Corro, instructor Monica Alcudia and other winners look on. Aragon's work, "Beast of Burden" is his third Joya-winning creation./PHOTO BY MARIA ARNIE BENITO, UP CEBU PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

PHOTO: HAT TRICK. Ferdinand Aragon offers words of gratitude after winning the Jose Joya art competition in 2017 as UP Cebu Chancellor Liza Corro, instructor Monica Alcudia and other winners look on. Aragon’s work, “Beast of Burden” is his third Joya-winning creation./PHOTO BY MARIA ARNIE BENITO, UP CEBU PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE

A depiction of the problem of child labor was adjudged the winner of the 41st annual Jose Joya art competition at the gallery named after the artist in the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu last Feb. 15.

Jurors chose senior fine arts major Ferdinand Aragon’s “Beast of Burden” for the top prize in the tilt that featured the best student works of the previous year.

The victory was Aragon’s third consecutive one. He bested second placer Cleanne Padilla with her work titled “It’s Too Early For You To Bloom, Rosie” — a piece that hints at teenage motherhood — and third placer Tyroon Mike Nuñez with his animated piece dubbed “Handumanan sa mga Batan-on (Souvenirs of the Youth).”

“It did not sink in immediately that I had won the Jose Joya Award for the third time,” Aragon said in a statement to the UP Cebu Public Information Office.

“I’m just thankful to God for bestowing upon me this gift of art that I can use for His glory.”

The works of seven other student artists were also rexognized as finalists. They are Ave Rothe Marie Mayol, Marriane Lourdez Abenoja, Daniele Astrid Nazareno, John Michael Pujante, Ninniane Sojor, Precille Love Terante, and Sitara Beatriz Enguerra.

This year’s top three artists received medals and certificates conferred by UP Cebu chancellor Liza Corro, professor J. Karl Roque — director of the Joya gallery, and juror Lucilo Sagayno of the University of San Carlos fine arts program.

Aragon’s entry, a paper mosaic is part of a series in his undergraduate thesis. Working with the medium has been difficult, he said, adding that he does not know anyone in the local art scene who specializes in the use of paper for mosaics.

For Aragon, previous triumphs did not diminish the pressure to produce excellent work.

“Even if I were not a previous awardee, being a senior means people always expect something great from me,” he added.

He feels that coming up with content cannot be done by force.

“I’d like to believe that the message of a painting is born rather than made,” he said.

Professor Roque congratulated the participants of the exhibit and the organizers — the Fine Arts Students’ Organization. He encouraged those who did not receive any citation to keep working and to vie for the prize again next year.

Chancellor Corro expressed pride in the fine arts majors and noted that the centerpiece of her office, “Island Girl” is a Joya award winner.

Dean Jocelyn Pinzon of the College of Communication, Art, and Design commended the fine arts students and paid tribute to art as a statement about the cultural and historical contexts of the artist and his or her creation.

The Joya contest is over but all entries are on exhibit at the eponymous gallery until March 10.

The late Jose Joya was conferred the title of National Artist in Visual Arts in 2003.

He served as UP College of Fine Arts dean from 1970 to 1978 and won several awards including the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award from the City of Manila in 1971.

According to the website of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Joya “distinguished himself by creating an authentic Filipino abstract idiom that transcended foreign influences… He espoused the value of kinetic energy and spontaneity in painting which became significant artistic values in Philippine art.”/MARIA ARNIE BENITO AND UP CEBU PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICE