The 2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila engage Filipino visionaries and industry leaders with the goal of supporting emerging talent, creative excellence and innovation. “Bringing the MullenLowe Nova Awards to Manila is our way of giving back to the bigger design and arts community that in a way, allows industries like advertising to thrive with fresh creative talent that challenges the norms”, says Alan Fontanilla, Managing Director of MullenLoweOpen.
From a shortlist of 10 artists, 6 prizes were awarded: Grand Prize, two Runners-Up, YourNOVA ‘People’s Choice’ Award, and two Special Prizes: the Unilever #Unstereotype Award, Meralco Spark Prize.
The Grand Prize recipient receives a short-course scholarship supported by leading art, design and performance college, Central Saint Martins, University of Arts in London.
Manila is the first city to present NOVA Awards outside of the UK while Australia is gearing up to launch it in 2020, and is expected to expand the years to become a global awards-giving body. With an outstanding lineup of finalists for its first year, MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila hopes to inspire more countries in the region to follow.
The committee of art and industry experts shortlisted the entries which were anonymously labeled and were judged exclusively through their artistic merit and purpose. Lastly, a panel defense for each of the finalists explains the narrative of their work, before the judging committee finally selects a winner.
Taking after MullenLowe NOVA’s parameters in the UK, each entry is judged by its social impact, creative process, and innovation, “A truly outstanding project, in either concept, execution, or use of materials, and addresses or solves a problem that society is faced with today. For each of these parameters, ceiling percentages are not set; instead, the merit of the artwork is judged in ‘whole’ with the stated parameters in mind. In essence, an entry that is overwhelmingly outstanding in just one aspect could still win.”
The judging panel consists of Filipino creative icons including Kenneth Cobonpue, Leeroy New, Len Cabili, Mark Nicdao, and JC Buendia. The final awards program was held last November 29, 2019 at KONDWI PH in Poblacion, Makati.
All shortlisted entries are exhibited in KONDWI PH until 06 December 2019.
KEN SAMUDIO, “Below Sea Level”
YourNOVA People’s Choice Awardee
With accessories using upcycled plastic, wood beads and recycled upholstery leather backing, Samudio and his team of disadvantaged artisans mimic the color, texture and beauty of the coral reefs through fashion accessories and jewelry. The message is clear: Samudio, a biologist by education, challenges the viewer to look deeper into the real purpose of his fashion.
MACO CUSTODIO, “Lalapatos”
Unilever #Unstereotype Awardee, Meralco Spark Prize Awardee
Marking his fresh venture into sneaker fashion, acclaimed designer Custodioexplores the path of sustainability: from a community in Baseco where the pre-consumed foils are manually cut and folded into strips, to its weaving in the small town of Pililla, to finally getting assembled in Marikina, the country’s shoe industry capital. The result is a collection that is all artful, sustainable and wearable.
MAMURO OKI & ABRAHAM GUARDIAN, “Mama! Mama! I Feel Quaint”
“The ‘Mama, Mama! I Feel Quaint’ collection talks about emotions that are in limbo, of not feeling neither joy nor sadness,” its creators described. Tangible forms of these feelings arerepresented and fitted on deconstructed mannequins: Corded tubes are bound together and hemmed by tulle, oversized hand-shaped textiles hover at the sides, and cotton-filled tubular pieces collectively envelope a mannequin with a huge round piece for a head. It’s a collection that is not only avant-garde but also evocative.
WIKA NADERA, “Passion, Place, Privilege”
A monument to ‘make history public and enduring,’ Nadera’sentry attempts to immortalize the forms, materials, and processes consistent to the design of the Philippine High School for the Arts’ MakilingCampus as they move to a newone in Bay, Laguna. Design elements from the old building are featured andcelebrated: from itsbahaykubo-inspired cottages, to its Ifugao motif-inspired cement tiles and surrounding native trees.Together, students and workers construct a house made from ‘shared memories’.
JEROME LORICO, The Labyrinth
Inspired by the myth of Icarus and the perpetual struggle of Sisyphus, ‘The Labyrinth’ is a commentary about how man devices things to trap himself consciously or unconsciously; only to yearn in the end for a great escape. By employing handmade techniques, basic machines, and spontaneous weaving, Lorico’s piece is symbolical of the quiet and violent clash between the modern and the natural world; humanity – its suspect and victim.
Other shortlisted finalists include:
DEX FERNANDEZ, Particles
Through the use of silk-screened prints, balloon and resin, Fernandez tries to make sense of the fleeting ang temporal: a balloon gets filled with air, bursts, deflates, then disappears. A reiteration and replication of the ‘garapata’ aesthetic he is known for (garapata is a multi-legged tick in the Philippine language),the entry was inspired by a recent medical scare, and ultimately,the transient value of life.
MJ SUAYAN, The Deconstructed Garden
Known for images that hover between a photograph and a painting, MJ’s process of creating his masterpieces is notoriously intricate and tedious – from photography, to chemical treatment, burning, scratching, and eventually, digital manipulation. The result appears to the viewer like a dream: mysterious, distorted, majestic.
AK OCOL, Non-space, Paronama (triptych)
‘Non-space, Paronama’ is a triptych that features a data landscape made up of overwritten images that was made to comprise a panorama. By using a panoramic glitch to overload and produce a fake image, Ocol generates a “non-place” which was then made to exist as institutional structures in real space. Stirring and reflective, the entry is a fine detail on a generation’s fixation on the ‘immortality of data’ – and its eventual effect on history and culture.
ANNA ORLINA, Mon’s Drian
An ode to her father, Ramon Orlina – ‘Mon’s Drian’ is a play on words on Ramon’s name and his favorite artist, Piet Mondrian. Made from optical glass that is cold-worked and laminated, the artpiece demonstrates the eccentricities of both artists as they find their own space within Anna’s handwork.
HAROLD DELIMA, LESLIE ANGBUE-TE & JEAN MICHAEL DIOSMA, Within Water: Beyond Water
Technically a water filtration system – ‘Within Water: Beyond Water‘ brings to life the beauty and wisdom of water: Its artistry, transparency, reflection. Impressive and towering, the art installation intends to draw the viewer beyond the ‘simplicity’ of the filtration process, which the creators perceive as a deeper philosophy to life.
The 2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila was made possible through its partners at Unilever, Meralco, Heineken, WheninManila.com, TMG and MullenLowe Group Philippines.
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