By Terence Repelente
Video by Jan Lo Inocentes
In its 34 years of existence, Metrobank Art & Design Excellence, or MADE, continues to be a platform for passionate and persistent Filipino artists to show their creative visions and talents. This year, according to The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) president Aniceto Sobrepeña, with the theme “Discover,” MADE 2018 aptly captures the beginnings of their recognition program. “MADE is essentially a discovery of more than talent.
“When Metrobank chairman emeritus Dr. George SK Ty conceived an idea of an art competition in 1984, he was creating a venue for the nation to discover their voice at a time of economic crisis and socio-political unrest,” said Sobrepeña. “There were uncertainties that heightened a search for meaning and hope. While many took their struggles to the streets, Dr. Ty thought of an alternative creative bullhorn, where the sentiments of young people would be heard. His idea birthed a competition that revealed thoughts and feelings that were otherwise cowered into silence or were yet undiscovered.” MADE is an arena to challenge assumptions. It aims to reframe perspectives on the prevailing realities of that time.
“Our roster of awardees, now counting to more than 400, discovered their potentials, and many of them are now emerging significant names in the local and international art scenes,” said Sobrepeña. “More than a competition that discovers artistic talent, MADE facilitates a generation of fresh ideas for social development.” A testament to what Sobrepeña said is the recently-held MADE awarding ceremony at the Le Pavillon, Metropolitan Park in Pasay City. Celebrated during the much-awaited night were works of different artists from different parts of the country. “It is worth mentioning that the ideas, while sharing commonalities, were gathered throughout the Philippine archipelago,” he said. “The hundreds of submitted entries emerged from far-flung places.” Four of the five awardees come from the provinces, three coming from Iloilo. According to Sobrepeña, these remarkable demographic of artists conveys the heartbeat of a nation that is strong and dynamic from even the grassroots.”
Iloilo-based Noel M. Elicana is the Grand Awardee for the Oil/Acrylic on Canvas Category with his piece Kanya-kanyang Tinik, Kanya-kanyang Landas, Iisa ang Ginagalawan, which portrays both creation and destruction. “Every single Filipino has their own yoke to carry. But no matter what their differences are, their eyes shine with positive thoughts. These people envision their dreams and are searching to unlock their journey,” said Elicana.
There will always be problems that need to be solved, questions to be answered, and challenges to be faced in our country. Art does not presume to provide solutions to the concerns of a nation. At its extreme best, art can serve as a catalyst to discover answers or a way to address the situations or circumstances we collectively face.
Grand Awardee for Watermedia on Paper Category Alex P. Ordoyo from Santa Barbara, Iloilo portrayed the devastation of post-siege Marawi City in his monochromatic piece Destroyed. The artwork stitches various features of the capital city of Lanao del Sur through the presentation of the destroyed urban landscape, ruined houses, establishments, mosques, and fleeing figures.
Bulakeño artist Francis Eugene E. Andrade’s Oil/Acrylic on Canvas piece The Sacrifice grabbed a Special Citation for its remarkable message tackling a mother’s undying love for her children. Andrade expresses melancholic experiences through clothing. In his work, a crumpled silken dress lie below three hanged clothes paired with hats depicting different occupations: flight attendant, seaman, and engineer. Rendered in sepia and with the dresses being old-fashioned, the work offers a simple but no less moving testament to parental love with no cost.
The third artist from Iloilo, Roland F. Llarena’s The Diminishing Memories of Home touches upon notions of departure. Described as a subtle and sad representation of reality, his entry “interprets the eventual estrangement from family values and indifference to family and friends through the depiction of an abandonment of a home.”
Finally, Maria Ronna Lara-Bes won this year’s Grand Award for the Sculpture Recognition Program with Interconnected, a medley of spheres and lines symbolizing binding ties. With three equidistant spheres representing the country’s major islands, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as the base, the indoor sculpture is interconnected by stems inspired by different indigenous fabrics and stainless spheres that serve as vital connecting nodes of the composition.
This year’s MADE Painting Recognition Program Final Board of Judges was chaired by one of the country’s leading art critic and 13-time MADE judge Cid Reyes. Members of the board included Alfredo Esquillo, Jr., Marina Cruz, Ricky Francisco, and Leo Abaya.
“There will always be problems that need to be solved, questions to be answered, and challenges to be faced in our country. Art does not presume to provide solutions to the concerns of a nation. At its extreme best, art can serve as a catalyst to discover answers or a way to address the situations or circumstances we collectively face,” said Sobrepeña. “By continually challenging us to shift our frames of reference, art can help us uncover alternative approaches and discover a breakthrough for our lives, personally and for this nation.”