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EDITORIAL: A novel idea

A FEW WEEKS AGO, there was this novel, nay, brilliant call (which regretfully not many have heard of) for mandatory display of Filipino artworks in government and private establishments to showcase the talents of Filipino artists so they may develop their skills and at the same time promote art within the lower and middle level of our society. The call was made by Art Discovery and Learning Foundation, Inc. President Fernando B. Sena who wanted hotels, hospitals, malls, banks, and government offices to display and buy artworks of Filipino artists, “especially those who are starting in this financially-challenging world of artistry.” As per report, first to respond was Social Security Commission Chairman Amado D. Valdez who assured that the Social Security System that he heads will extend its full support to Sena’s advocacy so that local artists may develop their talents and at the same time promote art, and may we add, contribute to the nourishment of national consciousness and identity. During the SSS’s 152nd art exhibit, masterpieces of the artists of Freedom Art Society in Metro Manila were featured which allowed budding artists to exhibit their works to the public while Sena himself asked for support to promote and market their creations. More than the messages being relayed by the artworks – paintings and other forms of visual arts – such works by local artists also help boost national pride, glory and honor that our nation and our people sorely lack these days. While we have so much of political self-glorification and propaganda, there is barely anything to feed our heart and soul that, sadly, stunt our growth as a unified and righteous people who should otherwise understand and relish proudly our past and living history. Indeed, our lawmakers should be prompted to help find a measure, or more concretely, enact this idea of promoting both the artist and his art and strengthen our common effort of enriching and preserving cultural heritage, as well as encouraging the majority our people to appreciate art by, first of all, making such masterpieces accessible to them. Under such intent, our government offices, including the local government units, should start collecting or buying local artworks to adorn their walls, halls, and planning sessions, instead of those tasteless cheap copies (yet with high price tags) by bootleggers and commercial craftsmen. Here in Bicol alone, we have a host of talented artists whose works are worth hanging in, say, the walls at the office of the governor or city mayor, or the halls where many people, including tourists or visitors, converge for a conference or training seminar. Works by local artists may be relatively cheaper and are therefore affordable for even municipal government units to purchase. These LGUs had built useless waiting sheds or costlier pedestrian overpasses where no one passes by, or bought drums of paint to write the names of traditional politicians on school buildings, covered courts, and even on the roofs of these public structures (as if many people are flying over to read them) even if those gallons of paints were purchased by taxpayers’ money, so there’s no reason why they can’t allocate more for these paintings by veteran Bicol artists Salvosa, Alcomendas, and Piano, or aspiring Perez and Ubaldo. For the meantime, it won’t be a bad idea if our public offices should display reprints of famous paintings (because the originals are in the museums or in prestigious halls such as Malacanang and GSIS, or are kept as personal collections) by Luna, Amorsolo, Hidalgo, Resurrecion, Ang Kiukok, Francisco, Amorsolo, Ben Cab, and many more, for our people to be aware of them, appreciate them, and learn of their stories, and be proud of their heritage. To their credit, at least three of the popular hotels in Naga have long patronized the works of at least two of our local artists whose works are displayed on the lobbies and walls of Naga Regent Hotel, Crown Hotel, and Avenue Plaza Hotel.

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