The Young Filipino Artists You Need to Know From This Year's MADE Awards  

IMAGE METROBANK FOUNDATION INC.

The Metrobank Foundation Inc. recognized another batch of Metrobank Art & Design Excellence awardees this year, who were guided by the theme “Emerge: Step into Your Boundless Future.” Artists were encouraged to step out of the shadows, inviting painters and sculptors to create art that showcased “unconfined potential.” 

“Through this undertaking, we are reminded of essential truths at a time of crisis: that art-making cannot be stifled, and that it offers opportunities for community-building through an examination of shared experiences. Amid adversities, Filipino artists strive to create masterpieces that mirror our society’s stories and sensibilities,” shared MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña.

This year’s awards received over 537 applicants and entries, but only four Filipino painters and sculptors made the cut. A prize of P500,000 was awarded, each, to two Grand Awardees for the Painting Recognition Program and one Grand Awardee for the Sculpture Recognition Program. Meanwhile, P100,000 was awarded to one Special Citation awardee for the Sculpture Recognition Program. Far from the art competition it once was when it was launched in 1984, MADE has since become an opportunity for artists to examine reality and inspire discourse for the national conversation. This year’s winners join a long list of prestigious and established awardees, such as Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Jan Leeroy New, Esquillo, Andres Barrioquinto, Yeo Kaa, and Cedrick dela Paz. 

Here are this year’s winning artists and their art. 

Melvin John S. Pollero, Grand Awardee 

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“Ninuno"
Oil/Acrylic on Canvas

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“Ang “Ninuno” ay pagsasalarawan sa kalagayan ng kalikasaan at ng ating pambansang minorya.” -MP 

Raymundo Y. Ador III, Grand Awardee 

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“Dalawang Libo’t Dalawang Pu 
at Hanggang Kailan?” 
Watermedia on Paper 

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“Tungkol sa pandemyang-covid 19, kung paano tayo naapektuhan nito at kung hanggang kailan tayo maghihintay na mawala ang krisis na ito. Pero nananatili parin sa puso ang pag-asa na darating ang panahon na malalagpasan natin ang sitwasyon na nangyayari ngayon.” -RA

Mateo D. Cacnio, Grand Awardee

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“Politika” 

“As the title suggests, this work aims to give another definition to what “politika” or politics conveys, especially in our social environment. Like in a usual fight in general, it parallels the conception of people breaking each other mentally and physically for higher authority. In this piece, I want to represent the culture of politics by utilizing two biomorphic figures fighting each other.” -MC

Jun Orland E. Espinosa, Special Citation

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“Underneath”

We’re currently living in an inhabitable environment because of personal calamities and tragic experiences, a problematic scenario that causes misery and loses our hope. We are like trees facing a super typhoon, heavy rains, floods, and destructive wind. Is there still hope on the tree to live after it has been uprooted, caused by disaster? The uprooted roots are the remaining “hope” of the tree to live, but the hope is not enough. The uprooted roots need to touch the ground in order to live again. And it needs “faith” to reach the ground. Faith with action endures dying hope. Strengthen your faith and stop doubting; doubt is an enemy of faith. Faith must be more potent than personal calamities to conquer the chaos.” -JE

MADE’s awardees were determined by a panel of judges led by painter Alfred Esquillo, who is also a former MADE awardee and the founder of the Eskinita Art Gallery. The other judges were contemporary artist Elmer Borlongan; contemporary artist and co-founder of Orange Project, Charlie Co; sculptor and former committee member for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ National Committee on Visual Arts, Reg Yuson; interdisciplinary visual artist and art educator, Mervy Pueblo; interdisciplinary artist and educator, Marc Vincent Cosico; and cultural worker, independent curator and art educator, Lisa Ito. 

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Anri Ichimura
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