Sep 17
PHILIPPINE ART AWARDS 2010 by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Sep 17, 2010

It may be surprising to the uninitiated that an art competition nowadays is not just a painting contest. Aside from paintings, entries can be a sculpture or any art work expressed in mixed media.

Mixed media, the new fad of modern artists, involves other materials like stone or cement or discards like old computer chips. It can be a com-bination like painted CDs mounted on a rubber tire. Sometimes there are unusual materials like stamps used in a mosaic.

The National Museum was host to the Philippine Art Awards 2010 held on September 3. The grandest art competition received more than 600 entries nationwide. After selecting the top 40 late last year, this time it would be the final declaration for the grand prize.

The top 40 is comprised of 10 winners each from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila. Each had already won P40,000 as their prize. All the provincial winners were billeted in a hotel and were provided with transportation money for the grand affair.

Before the program proper, the vidiwall showed the previous winners while waiters roamed the area with drinks and cocktails. The garden was fully decorated and tables were adorned with packs of cigarettes, free to anyone.

Former president Fidel V. Ramos exhorted the crowd to greet each other Mabuhay with a matching beso-beso

The guest of honor is no other than former president Fidel V. Ramos who continually thanked Philip Morris Philippines for sponsoring the com-petition. Also present were National Artist Napoleon Abueva who crafted the wooden trophies for the 8 finalists. National Artist Bencab also graced the affair. Both National Artists acted as jurors.

Of the eight finalists, two will receive P80,000 for Juror’s Choice Award for Merit and five will receive P120,000 for Juror’s Choice Award for Excellence. The lone grand prize winner will receive P350,000 pesos. All the eight finalists will get an all-expense paid trip to showcase their winning pieces in China.

Personalities on the stage was led by President FVR wearing an elegant barong and National Artist Bencab in light shirt. Philip Morris president Christ J. Nelson handed the cheque facsimile to Elopre

President Ramos was preceded by Jeremy Barns, the director of the National Museum. Chris Nelson, president of Philip Morris (PMFTC Inc.), also shared some few words especially to the artists. The hosting was ably handled by the former commercial model RJ Ledesma.

After much ado, the grand prize winner was finally announced. Entitled The End of the Black In-hear-itance, the master piece of Augusto Elopre, Jr. was outstanding to the eyes of art connoisseurs because of the material used.

souvenir shot of grand prize winner Augusto Elopre with National Artist Bencab and Vic Dabao

Elopre had painstakingly assembled chicken feathers piece by piece for almost two years. He had to clean the feathers before pasting on the canvas with ordinary glue. There was no paint nor any other material on the canvas except the feathers.

According to Elopre, the cost should be taken into consideration aside from the time and effort because he had consumed a total of 70 chickens, mostly female. Plucking the small, soft feathers was a difficult chore. He didn’t use the wing feather because it’s brittle.

And when it was time to submit his entry to the competition, Elopre had to destroy their door because the huge canvas couldn’t pass thru. By the way, he lives in Baguio and one of the finalists for the Luzon area.

Augusto Elopre and his masterpiece – The End of the Black In-hear-itance which was purely made of pressed feathers

With that grand prize, Elopre became an instant celebrity. Countless of people had requested for a photo op, including RJ Ledesma and some in the organizing committee. RJ said that starting now, Elopre’s work would have a higher tag prize.

In the world of art, recognition is hard to come by. An artist needs to win in competitions and contests although others resort to putting up their own galleries. Some others try to get the help of wealthy or famous friends. It’s a given that President Cory Aquino’s paintings have a high tag price even when she was still alive.

photo opportunity: Elopre with RJ Ledesma (second from left) and some art lovers who attended the Philippine Art Awards

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was an event that showcased the art works of celebrity painters. Sponsored by Muebles Italiano, the painters were led by Victor Wood, Celso Ad Castillo and even Rosanna Roces. Unfortunately, the event had no encore.

The Philippine Art Awards night was capped by a sumptuous dinner with a live band for entertainment. The gallery, where the entries were displayed and will be displayed for a while, was open until 10 pm.

The Philippine Art Awards 2011 will still be sponsored by Philip Morris (PMFTC Inc).

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