It’s no longer news that all people in all sectors around the globe have endured great setbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the anticipated Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) competition was deferred due to the intensity of the situation in the country.
This year, Metrobank Foundation’s flagship program pushes through despite the precariousness of the situation. MADE’s 37th year carries on with the theme Spectrum: The Art of Possibilities. On September 16, 2021, we were welcomed to MADE’s first-ever online awarding ceremony and virtual exhibit opening. This edition emphasizes the arts industry’s braveness in treading the seemingly unconquerable bounds brought by the pandemic.
This year’s panel of judges is headlined by Toym Imao, an esteemed visual artist and educator. The jury is composed of multimedia artist Mark Salvatus; interdisciplinary artist and dean of Philippine Women’s University School of Fine Arts and Design Josephine Turalba; sculptor and president of Visual Arts Helping Hands Foundation Daniel Dela Cruz; Art Fair Philippines’ co-founder and head of Visual Arts Committee of the NCCA, Dindin Araneta; OIC of Visual Arts and Museum Division of the CCP, Rica Estrada; and Leo Abaya, art educator, visual artist, who sadly passed away on May 26, 2021.
During the virtual ceremony, Mr. Aniceto M. Sobrepeña, President of the Metrobank Foundation, recalled the prevailing themes and sentiments in the submissions, “This year’s MADE awardees dared to bare their thoughts and emotions and produce art that reflects our collective plight. Their works are direct responses to the crisis and uncertainties that we faced. They convey visually the heartbeat of a people facing a global disease, the fears, the anger, the sadness, and loss, but also the hope, the courage, and the tenacity to fight this enemy with kindness, generosity, and compassion.”
A record-breaking number of entries have been recorded, the highest in the past 10 years: 564 for Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category, 77 for Water Media on Paper, and 60 for the Sculpture Recognition Program. Among them, 8 artists were recognized:
Painting Recognition Program Awardees
Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category
- Grand Awardee: “Between Heaven and Earth” by Ariosto Dale Bagtas
- Special Citation: “Binyag sa Landas-apoy” by Mark Anthony Laza and “Uncensored Fallacy of Faith” by Clark Manalo
Watermedia on Paper Category
- Grand Awardee: “Haunting Wail of Chaos” by Lymuel Bautista
- Special Citation: “Lucas 21:11” by Crispo Mantiquilla
Sculpture Recognition Program Awardees
- Grand Awardee: “Bungkag” by Kathleen S. Dagum
- Special Citation: “Nakakabinging Katahimikan” by Tyrone Dave Espinosa and “Isang Pangarap ang Managinip” by Carlo P. Laza
The Painting Recognition Program Awardees
Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category Grand Awardee Ariosto Dale Bagtas is a 25-year-old artist from Marilao, Bulacan. He graduated with a degree in Interior Design from the University of the East Caloocan. An abstract expressionist, his entry, “Between Heaven and Earth” is a detailed painting filled with vivid biotic forms and shapes. During the lockdown, Bagtas admittedly had it rough and had stopped painting at one point. As an artist, he usually conveys emotions in his art, specifically “happiness despite the sadness, love despite the hatred, and prosperity despite hardship” which are especially pertinent in our current times.
Lymuel Bautista won the Grand Award for Water Media on Paper Category for his work, “Haunting Wail of Chaos”. Bautista is a 27-year-old full-time artist from Calumpit, Bulacan. He studied Visual Communication at Bulacan State University. In his winning entry, Bautista painted frantic dogs fighting and displaying their chaotic animal instinct. Bautista drew inspiration from social issues and personal experiences which he translated to social realism and surrealism styles. His painting was shaped in the form of the corrugated metal sheet (yero).
One of the Special Citation awardees for Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category is Mark Anthony Laza for his work, “Binyag sa Landas-apoy”. Laza is a 26-year-old artist based in Pasig City. He received a degree in Visual Communication from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology. A social realist artist, he cites Renato Habulan, Alfredo Esquillo, Manny Garibay, Elmer Borlongan, and Ronald Ventura as some of his inspirations. During the pandemic, Laza struggled to deal with the anxieties from financial problems, social issues, and health crises, which he reflected in his entry.
Clark Manalo’s “Uncensored Fallacy of Faith” also received a Special Citation Award for Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category. The Navotas City-based 26-year-old artist is a social realist artist who styles his works with glitches and distortion. Manalo struggled to build concepts during the onset of the pandemic but revealed that his works are inspired by current events. He is a graduate of Advertising at Technological University of the Philippines.
Crispo Mantiquilla got a Special Citation in the Watermedia Category for his work “Lucas 21:11”. The title was lifted from the bible with a passage that reads: “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” The Ilonggo artist is a designer and currently works as an OFW in Saudi Arabia. He has a degree in Architectural Drafting Technology from the Iloilo School of Art and Trade University.
The Sculpture Recognition Program Awardees
Kathleen Sareena Dagum is the Grand Awardee for this year’s Sculpture Recognition Program. The 36-year-old artist is based in Sultan Kudarat. She has a degree in Secondary Education (Major in Mathematics) and another in Fine Arts (Studio Arts) from UP Diliman. Her work is titled “Bungkag”, a Cebuano word that means to divide. The wooden sculpture depicts children discordantly playing on swings. This symbolizes the lack of unity and disorganization during the pandemic. The pandemic situation has been deteriorating the artist’s spirit, but credits MADE for recognizing her talent and redeeming her confidence.
Tyrone Dave Espinosa is awarded Special Citation for his sculpture “Nakakabinging Katahimikan”. Hailing from Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, he graduated with a degree in Architecture from Iloilo Science and Technology University. Espinosa expresses current events and biblical references in his works. His entry is inspired by the rise of mental health issues.
Another Special Citation for sculpture is Carlo P. Laza’s “Isang Pangarap and Managinip”. Laza is a sculptor from Cainta, Rizal. He obtained his Fine Arts (Major in Sculpture) degree from UP Diliman. Laza states that he “often incorporates themes on the human mental state and emotions” in his works, and practices social realism “with a formalist approach on aesthetics”. His entry represents the dilemma that engulfs one’s life purpose, dreams, and direction.
This year presents an exciting batch of winners innovating the art scene. Despite the struggle and challenges during these times, MADE’s Board of Judges chairman Toym Imao sees brighter days ahead for the art scene “We may be in the darkest of times right now, [but] I would often quote [the poet and playwright] Bertolt Brecht [when I see the artworks of] young people right now–“
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times
Imao continues, “That is the important role that we have to fulfill. We need to sing about the dark times, and once we’ve conquered it, we have to sing about the victory. I think it’s already a moral responsibility of every artist to respond to these times. [When you’re] given the powerful gift of imaging that can touch hearts and reach a wide audience, [then] you have a very powerful medium and you should use it.”