HORDES OF ART FANS flocked The Link in Makati on February 17 to view the works of various artists that are showcased at the Art Fair 2017. At the top floor, known and young artists together with art enthusiasts and the media celebrate the works of this year’s winners of the Don Papa Art Competition.
Known to many, Don Papa Rum a small batch rum from the island of Negros that continuously support local artists in their quest to break through the international market with the Don Papa Art Competition.
With Don Papa receiving numerous international awards for its unique and bespoke packaging design since its launch in 2012, it recognizes the commonality between its own design aesthetic and the works of the Philippine artistic community – bold, complex and multifaceted.
The event is the culmination of the art competition. Twenty-two-year old Henrielle Pagkaliwangan whose work, “Field Notes for Papa Isio” in pen, ink, and watercolor on canvas bagged the grand prize (feature photo). The youngest artist from this year’s competition, Henrielle graduated from the Philippine High School for the Arts in 2011 and graduated magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman, College of Fine Arts where she received one of the Outstanding Thesis Awards in 2011. Henrielle is a resident artist of Tin-Aw Gallery, a gallery that traces its roots from the island of Negros.
“Pagkaliwangan’s work consists of detailed ink drawings of various objects on paper that adopt the taxonomic format of natural history prints and illustrations. She utilizes illustration to frame material and visual culture by the grouping of objects, presenting order as a kind of language in the realm of the visual.
The artwork shows the story behind the Masskara festival – a symbol of Negros’ resilience and positive disposition during a time of crisis. This dark story behind the lively Masskara festival inspired the amalgamation of contrasting yet coexisting elements of the work: the inevitable symbiosis of sugarcane and the pests, the rum barrels and glasses representing the production of succulent rum, the beautiful yet endangered species of Negros, and the ornate, smiling, ‘moustached’ Masskaras (in honor of Negros’ unsung hero, Papa Isio) that conceal the difficult past.
First Runner Up is Dexter Sy of 1335 Mabini, created “Papa Isio,” in mixed media on canvas. Dexter is a seasoned Filipino artist who has had various art expositions both in the Philippines and abroad.
His work depicts the story of Papa Isio and his heroism during the colonial struggle in the Philippines. In his artwork, Papa Isio is imagined as the “Christ” indigenized through a native loincloth printed with the Sacred Heart. Surrounding him are smaller figures and scenes juxtaposing indigenous peoples, icons and traditions, workers toiling in sugarcane plantations, and the supposed manifestation of our Christianized culture, the fiestas.
Second Runner Up is John Paul Antido of Pinto Art Museum, with his work entitled “Journey to Paradise Island,” in oil on canvas . John Paul is alsoan award-winning artist who hails from Antipolo City. He has joined several art competitions and has held various solo and group exhibitions in the Philippines and in other Southeast Asian countries. His work represents the richness in character and culture of Sugarlandia.
The People’s choice of the Art Competition was awarded to Ricky Ambagan of Gallery Anna with his work entitled “The Origin of the Black Gold” an acrylic on canvas. The artwork is a modern take on a local story on the search for “black gold” in Negros. Papa Isio, the hero of the story is prominently displayed with colorful images related to him: his Ilonggo lineage, the hacienderos who owned the sugarcane plantations, and an ethereal Michael Angelo looms around the painting concocting your favorite divine cocktail. The whole feel is completed with old barrels, and endemic Philippine animals, which adds that festive feel.
Brand Director Monica Llamas-Garcia said they released last year’s Art Canisters in the Philippines, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. “Art is the most tangible connection they have to the Philippine culture aside from our exotic and lush landscape. We are very happy with the response of the consumers and Don Papa lovers for the Art Competition and the Art Canister Series,” says Monica.
As the grand prize winner, Pagkaliwangan’s winning artwork will be the visual basis of Don Papa Rum’s limited edition Art Canister Series, which will be released in the Philippines and internationally for the Holidays 2017.
Henrielle, will be granted with a four (4) week Artistic Sojourn in Florence, Italy, complete with airfare and accommodations, allowances and an artistic immersion to key locations, courtesy of Bleeding Heart Rum Company, the makers of Don Papa Rum. Tin-Aw Gallery will also receive a round trip ticket to Florence, Italy.
Don Papa Rum continuous to support and empower Filipino artists through their art ambassadorship with the brand, not only in the Philippines but also to the world.