8 Up-and-Coming Painters and Sculptors in the Philippines
Eight outstanding Filipino artists won this year’s pool of P2 million in prize money at the 2021 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) Awards. The annual event, which aims to elevate and inspire Filipino artists, adopted the theme “Spectrum: The Art of Possibilities” for the year’s awards. The Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI) received its highest number of entries in the last 10 years with a record-breaking 701 entries, but only eight were chosen as this year’s batch of MADE awardees.
Three Grand Awardees, two painters and one sculptor, received a prize of P500,000 each. Meanwhile, five awardees, three painters and two sculptors, received a Special Citation worth P100,000 each.
“The hundreds of entries submitted across the country are a testament to our local artists’ passion to create. 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,” MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña said in his welcome remarks at the event’s virtual awarding and exhibit launch.
He was joined by the judges: panel chair and artist Toym Imao, Art Fair co-founder Dindin Araneta, metal sculptor Daniel de la Cruz, CCP visual arts and museum division OIC Rica Estrada, intermedia artist Mark Salvatus, and interdisciplinary artist Josephine Turalba. The artist Leo Abaya was also a member of the board of jurors before he passed away in May.
“Our participants created awesome, honest, and powerful works that win or lose, have become an important part of history: of how this generation of artists imaged the spirit and the essence of these challenging times. Of how their narratives and stories can help all of us find the light again,” said Imao.
Here are the eight artists you need to know today:
Ariosto Dale Bagtas, Grand Awardee
The 25-year-old from Marilao, Bulacan’s winning entry can be perceived as an artistic impression of the virus on a cellular level or the representation of the frontlines and civilians coming together to defeat the virus. The artist also offers the vision of a collection of vortices of those who seek to restore their health.
Lymuel Bautista, Grand Awardee
The 27-year-old artist’s winning MADE artwork is a powerful commentary on the chaos and confusion caused by the pandemic. He described the piece as an “awakening that needs to be felt not only by those who are vigorously fighting but especially by those who are blind to what’s happening around them.”
Kathleen Dagum, Grand Awardee
Based in Sultan Kudarat, the 36-year-old’s winning entry depicts human suppression through chaotic poses. The title of the work is a Cebuano word that means “to break apart into constituent parts,” which is reflected in the inharmonious swinging of the children who fail to achieve collective action and unity.
Mark Anthony Laza, Special Citation
The social realism artwork by the 26-year-old is a sobering look at the last moments of innocence. It features a young peddler with a temporary halo that, for now, protects him from the brutal realities of the life of a Filipino living under the poverty line.
Clark Manalo, Special Citation
Created by Navotas City-based artist Clark Manalo, this piece is a critique on blind faith and false faith in these troubling times. The faces of children feature screen glitches, proposing an intriguing discourse on faith and morality, and the questionable effects on society.
Crispo Mantiquilla, Special Citation
An OFW currently working in Saudi Arabia, Mantiquilla’s piece is an extraordinary depiction of the end of times, inspired by the verse Lucas 21:11, which reads: “And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences, and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” It’s a stark parallel to our current situation battling a global pandemic, climate change, and pockets of wars.
Tyrone Dave Espinosa, Special Citation
Based in Iloilo, Espinosa moves the spotlight to another pandemic that is just as pressing: the untreated pandemic of mental illness, made worse by the stigma and ignorance that surround the issue. The sculpture represents what happens when we neglect mental health—we become unrecognizable versions of ourselves.
Carlo Laza, Special Citation
This Rizal-based sculptor portrays the conflicting halves of man: the side that dreams, and the side that is just trying to get through the day. The work is composed of two figures that represent each half, and it strikes a familiar agony in each person seeking self-actualization.
What is Metrobank’s MADE?
Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) was established in 1984 by Metrobank Group’s founder and chairman, the late Dr. George Ty Siao Kian as a way to champion Philippine art and talent. Through the years, it has helped discover and promote over 400 Filipino visionaries. Some of MADE’s most notable previous awardees include Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Jan Leeroy New, Alfredo Esquillo, Andres Barrioquinto, Yeo Kaa, and Cedrick dela Paz.
During the pandemic, MBFI helped support local artists who were struggling during quarantine with a cash assistance program that benefited over 200 artists from the P1 million financial aid budget.