“THEY are individuals who, despite economic struggles, have dedicated themselves to their crafts.”

This is how historian Ambeth Ocampo of the National Historic Institute (NHI) described National Artists during the opening of the exhibit Meet Our National Artists at the Rustan’s Tower in Pasig City last May 12. Notable personalities such as Department of Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano and organizer/socialite Bambi Harper graced the event. Only one National Artist, however, showed up: prominent painter Arturo Luz.

The display featured all 45 National Artists, among them the renowned Thomasian Nick Joaquin, commended for his works like The Woman who had Two Navels and La Naval de Manila; Amado V. Hernandez, famed for Luha ng Buwaya; highly acclaimed painter Fernando Amorsolo; and Lino Brocka, who, as Ocampo said, wanted to change society with his films like Maynila sa Kuko ng Liwanag and Insiang.

The exhibit presented each artist through brief takes on their craft, sample works, and life-sized pictures. But in spite of the organizers’ efforts to promote the forgotten National Artists’ visions, the venue and the space did not do justice to the works of these great artists.

Also on display were other outstanding Thomasian National Artists also included in the exhibit. F. Sionil Jose, known for his epic Rosales novels; Ernani Cuenco for his pieces Diligin mo ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa and Gaano Kita Kamahal; and Leandro Locsin, known for his architectural creations such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Folk Arts Theater.

The aura of famed composers Lucio San Pedro, Artemio Buenaventura, and Francisco Balagtas were also present through their acclaimed works like Kundiman and Kay Celia were rendered by the musical group Kasarinlan.

UST third in Medtech board

Meanwhile, no special mention whatsoever was given to Thomasian National Artist Ang Kiukok, who died last May 9, although his works drew the attention of the visitors.

The exhibit, though simple, had a greater message. Ocampo said it best: “By looking at our National Artists, we can hope for a better future.”


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.