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ManilArt Caravan tours Batanes

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Façade of the only artist-run gallery in Batanes

Taoid is “heritage” or “legacy” in Ilokano. And it is the title of the year-long celebration of National Heritage Month (May) organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

The celebration is spearheaded by the NCCA Subcommission on Cultural Heritage, of which a member is the NCCA National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG), which organizes the annual ManilaArt Fair.

In order to raise awareness of the art fair as well as its contribution to Taoid and cultural-heritage awareness promotion, the  ManilArt Foundation has been touring the regions through the ManilArt Caravan.

Taoid’s theme, “Weaving Our Stories, Threading Our Paths,” is echoed in ManilArt 2013, said art fair director Romana Go.

“We of ManilArt believe in making art reach a wider base and having more people learn to appreciate our country’s art and culture,” said Go. “When we nurture our grassroots and our regional talents, it is when we truly grow together as an art community. There is a cohesion that happens, and we establish ourselves further. This is why ManilArt 2013 made it a point to go around the country to invite gallery-owners and artists through its caravans. We wanted to welcome others to come in and give them a platform to be seen and appreciated.”

ManilArt Caravan recently toured Bohol, Cebu and Batanes. Robert Bjorn Santos, also of NCAG and the art fair, said that they “endeavor to embrace the visual-arts scene not just of Manila but that of the entire nation as well.  Through the caravan, the artistic flavors of the country’s key cities shall have a dynamic interaction.”

LOCAL establishments such as The Batanes Octagon serve as art-viewing venues

In Batanes, the art caravan included a book donation by the Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (Canvas). Given out to public schools were Canvas children’s books illustrated by leading Filipino artists.

Batanes is home to Yaru Nu Artes Ivatan, the local artists’ group that will  showcase their works in ManilArt 2013 in October. The name roughly means “bayanihan of Ivatan art/artists.”

Truly, the province is replete with the sense of community though it is now at the crossroads of keeping precious Ivatan ways and the inevitable adoption of technology and progress’ repercussions on local culture.

Amy Loste, head of NCAG, explained ManilArt seeking to foster and conserve Ivatan arts and crafts was not one show.

“It does not represent any one style, period or ideology in art,” she added, “but seeks to give a broad overview of all the diverse expressions, forms and voices in the local visual-arts scene.”

When asked to describe the art fair in a nutshell, the group’s unanimous reply: “ManilArt is art according to all.”

This year’s ManilArt will be at SMX Aura Convention Center. Visit www.manilart.com or see ManilArt on Facebook for details.

PAINTINGS on the ceiling of Mt. Carmel Chapel in Tukon by Ivatan artists are renditions of the images of patron saints of the six municipalities of Batanes. From left: St.Dominic de Guzman of Basco, St. Joseph the Worker of Ivana, San Carlos Borromeo of Mahatao


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