IN CELEBRATION of National Literature Month, alumni artists showcased their artistic prowess in the “Performatura 2017: Performance Literature Festival” at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) last March 31 to April 2.
On its second edition, the festival honored prominent Filipino poet Francisco Balagtas with the theme “Sa loob at labas ng bayan kong sawi,” a line from Balagtas’ famous epic “Florante at Laura.”
Festival director and former Varsitarian editor in chief Vim Nadera said this year’s festival was “proof that literature is still relevant in the current generation.”
“It’s time to jolt the dying Philippine literature,” Nadera said. “The root of our problem is we tend to memorize and study only literature, we don’t practice it in our daily lives.”
National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, also a former Varsitarian editor in chief, urged the youth to “transcend” themselves as Filipinos in creating art.
“If you want to grow as an artist, you must be able to cling on to something bigger than yourself. To transcend yourself is very important for your own growth,” he said in a speech on the second day of the opening rites.
Performance art pieces by UST professor
Palanca awardee Nerisa del Carmen Guevara, who teaches at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, had two performances.
“Infinite Gestures: Red String of Fate,” which Guevara performed at the CCP Promenade, portrayed an immobile artist wrapped with red strings around her body.
The use of red strings referred to the Red String of Fate, an East Asian belief about an invisible red thread that connects individuals to those who have an important role in their lives.
“This is actually a re-encounter of my performance in Pineapple Lab which was a continuation of the exploration of elegy as space,” Guevara said.
It was followed with performances by the Tupada Action and Media Arts, who are known for performing “ambush” scenes in public spaces, and Sanghabi, a group focused on utilizing indigenous musical instruments.
A “durational” art performance by Guevara followed in the afternoon. Titled “Elegy 5: Wake,” the artist was seen standing inside the CCP Atrium, an open-air venue, with bird feeds placed on objects around her.
Guevara graduated from the University with a biology degree in 1993.
This festival also featured film showings, artist talks, spoken word sessions and marathon readings.
Photos by Miah Terrenz Provido