MANILA, Philippines—Like Hollywood celebrities Charlize Theron, Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, they used star power to help address global problems.
International star Lea Salonga, actress Nora Aunor, ballet dancer Lisa Macuja, stage actress Monique Wilson, poet Rosalinda “Baby” Orosa, painter Juvenal Sanso, playwright Alberto Florentino, entrepreneur George Yang, Filipiniana collector Danny Dolor and TV host Boy Abunda were recognized by the Climate Change Commission for speaking out on environmental destruction through the arts.
The 10 were given the Gantimpalang Lampara ng Kultura at Sining, or the Lamp of Culture and the Arts Award, at rites held at Malacañang’s Mabini Hall Monday afternoon.
But only Orosa, Sanso and Dolor made it to the rites.
Secretary Heherson Alvarez said the tribute came at a time when the biggest names in entertainment and the arts were “employing star power to help address global problems.”
Alvarez cited Hollywood personalities Robert Redford, Leonardo DiCaprio, Susan Sarandon, Charlize Theron, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Michael Douglas and Stevie Wonder for using their celebrity status to appeal for public support in campaigns against illicit drug use, the exploitation of women and children, HIV and AIDS, illiteracy and gender inequality.
Culture and power
This was proof of the “strong correlation” between culture and power, Alvarez told the awardees and guests, who included United Nations resident coordinator Luiza Carvalho.
After all, culture and the arts “flourish in places of power, and wither in places that power has abandoned,” he said.
“We salute therefore the distinguished personalities here this afternoon, both artists and patrons, (who) help us deliver urgent messages against environmental destruction,” Alvarez said.
The arts can be a “compelling driver of change in our society,” he told the awardees who received trophies designed by award-winning sculptor Toym Imao, son of National Artist Abdulmari Imao.
The Climate Change Commission and the Philippine Center of the International Theater Institute gave out the awards in celebration of International Arts Education Week.
Creative flexible spaces
Also given an international citation was the Seoul Institute of the Arts, chaired by Duk Hyung-yoo, for its exceptional architectural design of creative flexible spaces in a multimedia arts training-production center.
Publisher Emilio Yap received a special award for his lifetime service as an art patron, and so did poet, playwright and educator Frank Rivera, whose famous text poems give vulnerable groups access to media arts education.
Also cited for being “culture friendly” were Air 21, PLDT-Smart, SM Group of Companies, Jollibee Foods Corp., San Miguel Corp., Metrobank Foundation and Tesoro’s.