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IT is wise to pay attention to each year’s list of winners of the Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC). After all, the 53-year-old competition has attracted an impressive list of students who went on to become some of the biggest names in Philippine art, including National Artists Jose Joya, Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Ang Kiukok, and Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera. One of the winners of this year’s NSAC may just be a big name in the future.
The competition this year received over 1,500 entries from college students from all over the country. This was despite the contest being held online — although the awarding ceremony, also held online on Nov. 27, did show a video of the judges in masks scrutinizing the artworks. The judges included veteran artists Lex Kabigting, Jose Tence Ruiz, and Ross Capili for the Digital Fine Arts category; Edgar Fernandez, Renato Habulan, and Nemi Miranda for Watercolor; Jan Leeroy New, Toym Leon Imao, and Ram Mallari, Jr. for Sculpture; and Nestor Olarte Vinluan, Kenneth Esguerra, and Mark Justiniani for Oil and Acrylic.
Awards were given in those four categories: Digital Fine Arts, Sculpture, Watercolor, and Oil and Acrylic. The winning artists from each category bring home P60,000, a gold medal, and a plaque for First Prize. The college or department to which the student belongs also win a special grant worth P20,000 in support of faculty development. The second placers won P40,000, a silver medal, and a plaque; while third-placers won P30,000, a bronze medal, and a plaque.
The winners are as follows:
DIGITAL FINE ARTS
1st Place: Wala Akong Choice Kundi Magdasal — Rianne Abucejo, University of San Carlos
2nd Place: MHM (Mental Health) Matters — Bea Therese Musni, University of Rizal System, Angono Campus
3rd Place: One by One, Whole Body — Victor Nadera, University of the Philippines, Diliman
1st Place: Ayuda — Bea Cortez, University of the Philippines, Diliman
2nd Place: Pag-Asa Bldg. Room 50/50 — Jao Pelaez, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila
3rd Place: Ako Ay May Lobo — John Lirio, University of the East, Caloocan
1st Place: Rep-Leksyon — Wendel Candawan, Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology
2nd Place: Pag-usbong ng Binhi — Mark Lagrana, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila
3rd Place: I Am Genuinely Optimistic — John Magbuhos, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila
OIL AND ACRYLIC CATEGORY
1st Place: Foresight — John Santos, Bulacan State University
2nd Place: Back n Front — Ranier Bolivar, GK College
3rd Place: Plantito/Plantita — Gyles Abac, University of the Philippines, Diliman
On how they chose the winners, judge Mr. Miranda said during the ceremony, “When you see a painting, you already see something different in it that makes it distinct from the rest of the artworks.” Meanwhile, Mr. New said, “Conceptually, it has to be more or less whole and complete in relation to the theme for this year’s competition.” The theme for this year was important considering 2020’s challenges: “Hope in Our Art.”
The winner for the Sculpture category, Ms. Cortez, said in a video during the awarding, “Advice ko (my advice) is don’t lose hope; do not lose the passion in your heart. Always continue making art for the people, promoting the common good.”
Mariles Gustilo, Director of the Ayala Museum (which houses the winning entries from 1952 to 2017) said, “Art is more than just a painting on the wall or a sculpture on display. It is about the dreams, hopes, and the heart of an artist.”
The winning works will be on display in a virtual gallery, the details of which will be forthcoming on Shell’s social media pages facebook.com/Shell. — Joseph L. Garcia