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Catanduanes educator promotes abaca paper as artwork canvas

By Connie Calipay

Balancing the importance of science, economy, and art in promoting the abaca industry in the island province, Catanduanes State University (CatSU) President Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza has initiated an art exhibit that uses abaca paper as a canvas material.

In an interview, Azanza said the main purpose of the exhibit is to promote alternative uses of abaca paper, including as a canvas in artworks, particularly paintings.

“This is the first exhibit participated by 26 local artists that used abaca fiber as their canvas. This is also one of the advocacies of CatSU in helping the abaca farmers since 60 percent of our students are from abaca-farmer families,” he said.

Asked about the price ranges of the artworks, Azanza said that the organizers of the exhibit made sure that these are sold at reasonable prices.

“We make sure that the amount is within the reasonable rate for the reason that we want to popularize the usage of abaca fiber as canvases. Some of the local artists who participated are already well known in their fields, like Maroja Panti, and Alma Ang, to name a few,” he said.

Azanza, who is himself an art collector for 35 years now, added that a coffee table book featuring the art exhibit would be launched soon.

“Maswerte ang mga nakabili na at makakabili pa ng mga art na naka display, since an art featured in a book or in a calendar doubles in price when it’s being bought,” he added.

The exhibit will run for the whole month of April.

Azanza also said that from April 27-30, cultural events that will be participated in by different state universities and colleges in Bicol region will be held, promoting Catanduanes’ abaca industry.

CatSU won the second prize in the Likha Award for Outstanding Creative Research on Abaca Core Wine during the 2021 regional invention contest and exhibits held at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) regional office in Legazpi City.

Azanza said research on abaca is continuously being conducted to help widen the scope of its usage not just in the country but also in the entire world.

ABACA FIBER CANVAS A painting of artist Maruja Panti currently on display in an exhibit at the Catanduanes State University (CatSU) in Virac town where abaca paper was used as a canvas material. The exhibit is participated in by 26 local artists. (Photo courtesy of John Reale Barba)

“Delegates from University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) and CatSU will conduct research that will study the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of abaca resiliency in viruses, typhoons, and other factors that affect their growth,” he added.

The CatSU abaca museum research center also showcases its 17 varieties common in the island province.

Meanwhile, Chiarra Hernandez, exhibit facilitator and curator of Renzo Art Gallery, in a separate interview, said the idea to set up the art exhibit is to give more value and make the canvases more presentable to the public, particularly to art collectors.

“With more than 40 paintings, we extensively handled the paintings with extra care during the framing since some artists used oil, acrylic. We also need to consider humidity, and moisture during the framing,” she said.

As a curator who can appreciate visual arts, Hernandez said using abaca papers as canvas gives the artist the chance to explore the texture of the paper, compared to the ordinary canvas.

“Nalalaro nila ung paper mismo, doon palang meron na silang nagagawa. Abaca paper as canvas can be used as an option or alternatives to the normal canvas used,” she added.

Unsold artwork will be displayed at the Renzo Art Gallery located at San Jose Street, in Virac Catanduanes and interested buyers can contact 0938-522-1878.

Another art exhibit showcasing abaca and “Para Hag-ot” will be displayed at Catanduanes Provincial Capitol from May 24-28, 2022 during the Abaca Festival. (PNA)


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