Arts and Culture

INKCANTO | Some National Artist buzz and Cevio’s Art House

There’s a lot of talk, especially on social media, about the nominees for the National Artist Award. The official list of nominees chosen by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), has not been released—and is unlikely to be released until President Noynoy Aquino approves the selection. He also has the prerogative to add his own choice to that list or even remove a nominee from it. Usually, the National Artists are declared around November.

What we do have right now are rumors and speculation. Diehard fans of actress Nora Aunor are eagerly waiting if she will finally be declared a National Artist—and this cryptic post on the Facebook account “Nora Aunor for National Artist” will only add fuel to their anticipation:

Image source: Nora Aunor for National Artist Facebook page.

Image source: Nora Aunor for National Artist Facebook page.

Could the “magandang balita” (good news) being hinted at be her proclamation as National Artist for Film? We can only wait and see…

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Two other names are rumored to be on the list: poet Cirilo F. Bautista as the nominee for National Artist for Literature; and architect Jose Maria Zaragoza as National Artist for Architecture. Fans of Cirilo F. Bautista will be happy if this rumor is later shown as fact. Zaragoza is also deserving of the award, considering his accomplishments in the field.

Other rumored nominees include Dean of Philippine comics Francisco Coching for visual arts, Alice Reyes for dance, and Francisco Feliciano for music. Hopefully, we are able to get updates about the truth to these rumors in the coming weeks.

We repeat: the official list of National Artist nominees from the CCP and NCCA has not been released. It is unlikely to be released until after President Aquino makes a final declaration—but it’s still okay to speculate and hope that those who are deserving will actually be proclaimed as our new National Artists.

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Cevio’s Art House is not exactly the easiest art gallery to find, nestled as it is in Number 60 San Isidro Street in Barangay Kapitolyo in Pasig City—to the uninitiated in the winding side streets and roads within Kapitolyo, it can take a while to find Cevio’s. Then you see it, right under the shadow of a huge, imposing church structure of the Iglesia ni Cristo—it’s in fact the only landmark you need to know about to find Cevio’s. You truly have to love art to go out of your way to Cevio’s—and your effort will be rewarded.

Inkcanto attended Cevio’s opening last October 5, and was bowled over by the sheer number, quality, and variety of the artworks exhibited. From the photorealistic to the surreal, it seemed that every single visual art-style was featured. Cevio’s Art House is just that: a house owned by lawyer Cecilio Tobillo.

Tobillo is a passionate art collector and he went from being a collector to a gallery owner because, according to him, he wanted to be instrumental in helping the careers of young, new contemporary artists.

Cevio’s is a huge, multi-level space. With the 88 artworks featured during its opening, it literally became a house of art. There are two floors—both of which were full of paintings that night—and a “basement” area, which is really open space where performances and events could be held. On opening night, there were musical performances, an on-the-spot mural painting activity, as well as a poetry reading.

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The various paintings at Cevio’s bear mentioning. Most of them stood out with distinguishing features in style and subject matter. Some of the paintings we liked include:

Left to right: “Butterfly?” by Leomar Conejos; “Akashic Records” by Mek Yambao; “Plastic Wrapped Series # 22” by Julmard Vicente.

Left to right: “Butterfly?” by Leomar Conejos; “Akashic Records” by Mek Yambao; “Plastic Wrapped Series # 22” by Julmard Vicente.

“Butterfly?” has an apocalyptic feel as well as a lyricism in its form. “Akashic Records” looks mythical and mystical; while “Plastic Wrapped…” is interesting in how it desexualizes the human figure.

“An Allegory of an Ideal” by Buen Abrigo.

“An Allegory of an Ideal” by Buen Abrigo.

Artist Buen Abrigo’s “An Allegory of an Ideal” makes a compelling juxtaposition of two iconic images: former President Ferdinand Marcos’ gigantic, crumbling monument in Ilocos and former Senator Benigno Aquino’s body sprawled on the airport tarmac after his assassination. Considering what we know of history—we can’t help but note that Marcos was driven out of the country for, among other things, widespread corruption in his administration, and now Aquino’s son Noynoy, who is now the sitting President, is also saddled by accusations of outrageous corruption in his administration as well.

One begins to think, looking at Abrigo’s work: will the two subjects’ legacies—remember that Marcos is painted as villain while the elder Aquino is considered the heroic inspiration of the Edsa Revolution of 1986—sadly end up on a disturbingly similar note? As governments that had rampant corruption?

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New spaces for works of art are always welcome—and Cevio’s proves to be a home where a variety of styles, manifested in the works of young and/or new contemporary artists, find their rightful showcase. Atty. Tobillo also told us that Cevio’s is open to hosting cultural events as well, from performances to poetry readings, etc. For inquiries about Cevio’s Art House, you may send an e-mail to cevioarthaus@gmail.com or text/call (+63) 917-9965470.

InterAksyon.com
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