Wednesday, February 24, 2016

UP Open University showcases artworks from Paete, Laguna

Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso (in red) and Ann Yom Steel, IRRI’s Strategic Planning head (in black) during the opening of Silip Paete. Also in photo are IRRI Communication’s Antoinette Caballero (right) and Priscilla Grace Cañas (left). Photo by: Christopher Gapuz, IRRI

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—An art exhibit that highlights the incredible abilities of artists from a town famous for its wood carvings is currently open for viewing at Galeria Sinag at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Community Hub.

Silip Paete: Sculpture and Painting Exhibition features 49 artworks by Angelito and Lell Baldemor, Joseph and Jayson Bañez, Danilo Cads, Bayani Rey Acala, Glenn Cagandahan, Phaern Afurong, Edgar Driodoco, Ernesto Cagayat, Oddette Monfero, Christine Aquilo, Melecio Baysauli, Ronnel Cainto, and Edward Dave.

The beautifully hand carved and painted Koi 
by Paete artist Jai Bañez. (Photo by Christopher Gapuz, IRRI)

Their creations—wood carvings, sculptures, and paintings—cover a wide array of subjects that appear random. These are united, however, by the extraordinary skills of the artists. The art pieces generate a melody of visual energy, both soothing and vibrant. One needs to be there to appreciate the santan or Ixora flowers, meticulously carved in wood and brought to life by bursts of colors; delicate koi ponds that exude the tranquility of the real thing; and the unbreakable bond between a mother and her child.  There are also the fantastical handiworks that seamlessly fit in Tolkien's imaginary world: majestic wild horses running like the wind, whimsical tree houses inhabited by fairies and elves, as well as a dragon in a fierce and hostile stance.

The event is organized by UPOU’s Cultural Committee, headed by Dr. Prime Garcia, and the Banhay Kulay Paete Artist Guild, led by Mr. Joseph Bañez. UPOU has been hosting competitions and exhibits, wood carving workshops and forums for local wood carvers since 2013.

“These events provide an avenue where everyone can appreciate the wood carvers’ art pieces depicting Filipino culture and the ways of life in local communities,” said Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso, chancellor of UPOU. “Through these artworks, may we realize that Filipino artists are truly gifted and are more than capable of producing obras, which are truly world-class.” UPOU also aims to help build and strengthen networks among artists and give them an opportunity to market their works, Alfonso added.

Banhay Kulay Paete Artist Guild has been a UPOU partner since 2015 and nurtures established and upcoming talents of Paete. Paete in Laguna is widely hailed as an artistic hotspot, particularly for its excellent woodcarvings. In fact, the town's name is derived from the Tagalog word for chisel.
"Some of our members left their high-paying jobs abroad,” said Jayson Bañez, who leads the guild. “They chose to return to Paete to practice their art."

Silip Paete: Sculpture and Painting Exhibition is open to the public until 21 March.

IRRI Communication intern Christopher Gapuz (left) and Paul Hilario, 
curator of the IRRI Riceworld Museum.
 (Photo by A. Santiaguel, IRRI)

Nestor Cagayat found his inspiration in a crowd of rowdy inebriated menfolk for this complex and 
intricately carved Mabo-boteng usapan.(Photo by Christopher Gapuz, IRRI)

Members of the Banhay Kulay Paete Artist Guild at the opening of Silip Paete exhibit. (Photo: UPOU)

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