Every two years, since 1994, Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. has taken the lead in organizing the Philippine Art Awards (PAA). Since its inception, the competition has yielded an impressive roster of winners: Gabby Barredo, Peewee Roldan, Alfredo Esquillo Jr., Winner Jumalon, Alfredo Aquilizan, Kawayan de Guia, Ambie Abaño, Marina Cruz, Joy Mallari, Mark Justiniani, Nona Garcia, Ronald Ventura. A panel of judges chooses ten winners from four regions (Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao) to further compete for one Grand Prize and seven Juror’s Choices.
Since 2007, when the National Museum started hosting the exhibit of winners, I’ve made it a point to view the PAA shows. I’ve always enjoyed them, even if I did not always agree with the judges’ decisions. To me, making the time and effort to create work for this competition also speaks of the seriousness with which artists regard their craft.
The competition opened up to multi-dimensional works in 2009. This concession seems slow to catch on, however. As in the past, paintings dominate this batch of winners from Metro Manila and Luzon. Nona Garcia, who served in this year’s panel, intimated that out of the hundreds of entries, very few submitted non wall-bound work.
As in most competitions of this nature, you get pieces that resort to clichéd compositions, images that seem to appear in every other art contest. I thought a few stood out from the rest: Riel Hilario’s Portrait of The Filipino As A Conceptual Artist, a polychrome sculpture that keeps to his practice of using the techniques of rebulto-carving on slabs of fruit wood, Art Sanchez’s Real Time Connectivity with its embellished convex mirrors embedded onto a printed canvas, and Raffy T. Napay’s Ang Manananhi ng Buhay at Ang Makinang na Makina, a portrait of the artist’s parents executed by using a sewing machine to crisscross his canvas with stitches. I have to admit, though, that I’ve never been good at predicting the PAA’s results. Besides, there are still the Visayas and Mindanao winners to consider.
All 40 regional winners receive a substantial cash prize, and those who win at the national level get to attend ArtHK 12 in May. Thank you Philip Morris for continuing to support these awards!
Metro Manila Winners: louie talents, Ronald J. Hilario, Raffy T. Napay, Dennis T. Atienza, Roderick Cruz, Florence Cinco, Dexter Sy, Mark Andy Garcia, Melvin B. Culaba, Chester L. Calayag
Luzon Winners: Ricky V. Ambagan, Alexander Marcaida Roxas, Arturo T. Sanchez Jr., Armand Jay S. Arago, Joseph T. De Juras, John Paul Antido, Rodrigo R. Clapano, Salvador Corpuz Sierra, Manuel Lotsu Q. Manes, Bonifacio G. de Guzman Jr.
The Philippine Art Awards Exhibit of Metro Manila and Luzon Winners for 2011-2012 runs from 14 October 2011 at the 4F, Museum of the Filipino People, Agrifina Circle, Manila. For more information visit www.philippineartawards.org
In March 2012, the exhibit will expand to include the winners from Visayas and Mindanao.