TWO THOMASIANS were named to the Thirteen Artists Award (TAA) 2012 held at the Pasilyo Juan Luna (Main Gallery Hallway) of the Cultural Center of the Philippines last Oct. 18.

Fine Arts alumni Mark Salvatus and Constantino Zicarelli joined Joey Cobcobo, Marina Cruz, Riel Hilario, Robert Langenegger, Michael Muñoz, Wawi Navarroza, Jan Leeroy New, Kaloy Olavides, Renan Ortiz, Rodel Tapaya, and Kiri Lluch Dalera in the yearly roster of contemporary artists.

A group exhibit featuring the new batch is running until Feb. 24 next year, curated by Lena Cobangbang. Winners received each a trophy designed by sculptor Gary Ross Pastrana.

In the exhibit, Salvatus, a cum laude graduate of the UST College of Fine Arts and Design, presents his take on urban dystopia through a series of stacked concrete hollow blocks, where space built by the walls virtually creates different perspectives and makes the viewer fill in the gap with personal notions.

“I think uniqueness in art is a matter of perspective; as exemplified by my artwork, it can be seen differently by people from many angles and views,” Salvatus said. “My art is more of a depiction of Manila, where there is a construction boom, and it relates how Filipinos strive to live in these high-rise boxes.”

Zicarelli’s work consists of a set of skulls and fragments of mirror glass that seemed to emanate from a shattered window of reality. The skull and sinister pictures bring a sense of cold and macabre repertoire where light could play a theatrical reality of reflecting and seeing the fragments of each individual’s soul.

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The annual award was started by Thomasian Roberto Chabet, the first director of the CCP Museum who originally conceived of it as a follow-through to the original “Thirteen Moderns” of National Artist Victorio Edades, the founder of the UST school of fine arts. It was then adopted as a biennial award and later in 2000 as a triennial award. Being the oldest award given by CCP, it is intended to recognize “a new generation of artists that promise to dominate Philippine art… they constantly restructure, re-strengthen and renew art making and art thinking.”

The TAA selection process was administered by the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division. The selection panel was composed of former TAA honorees Pandy Aviado (1970), Agnes Arellano (1988), Elmer Borlongan (1994), and Ringo Bunoan (2003), with Victoria Herrera, VAMD director, as CCP representative.

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