Fashion retailer Freeway has a unique way of honoring National Artists every year. It holds fashion shows for them, creates clothes inspired by their works (and they’re for sale), conducts forums in which experts and relatives of the National Artist are invited as resource persons, and gets some luminary to host the program.
Among the writers, three National Artists have been thus honored: Nick Joaquin, José Garcia Villa and F. Sionil José. Add to the list a fourth—Bienvenido Lumbera, poet, playwright-librettist and critic, among other accomplishments.
Like José, Lumbera is very much around although he is not exactly a spring chicken: He is 80 or so, and his contemporaries include Gregorio C. Brillantes, Gilda Cordero Fernando and Fides Cuyugan Asensio.
The program to honor Lumbera will be held tomorrow (Tuesday), 6 p.m., at the main Freeway branch in Glorietta I, Makati City. Program host will be fashionista and Inquirer columnist Tessa Prieto Valdes. Special guests are poet Vim Nadera, who is director of the Philippine High School for the Arts and—gasp—rapper Gloc-9.
Lumbera is said to be a fan of this rapper.
The writer’s works will be interpreted in fashion, using some of his material like “The Yaya’s Lullabay” and integrating these into colored mosaic images.
“We chose Dr. Lumbera because he is a versatile esteemed writer,” says Freeway-Elite CEO Sheree Gotuaco. “Aside from being a poet, he is also a critic and dramatist through his librettos for musical theater. He has also written numerous books in English and Filipino. We do not have many contemporary writers who are well-versed in Filipino, that is why he is special.”
She added: “Since he is one of our few living National Artists, it would be a rare honor to listen and learn from the man himself.”