By Lyka Manalo
A total of 197 artists from different regions and provinces in the country joined the 2nd national painting competition organized by KUNST Pilipino -an non- government organization based in Batangas province which promotes artists and their artworks here and abroad-in partnership with the provincial government of Tarlac.
The competition, which was held at the National Parks Museum and Archive Gallery in Rizal Park, Manila on Wednesday, is one of the highlights in celebrating KANLAHI (Kanlungan ng Lahi) Festival in Tarlac – a weeklong celebration which will start on March 5.
KUNST project director Bill Perez said the competition was opened to all Filipino artists with this year’s theme “Mother and Child” (Ang Dakilang Ina at ang Kaniyang Supling).
“This national competition comprised of artists from 16 years old and up, they were free to explore on the theme, it’s not confined with the literal meaning of the word – a pregnant woman, mother tree and small plant, an animal and a human mother, it could be anything” Perez said.
He said out of the total paintings submitted, 20 finalists were chosen by a set of judges comprised of veteran portrait and landscape artist Aquilino Acasio, portrait artist Caloy Gabuco, artist Fil de la Cruz, art critic and writer Dr. Paul Zafaralla and artist, art critic and writer Cid Reyes.
Finalists will be judged by another set of judges at the provincial capitol of Tarlac on March 5 from first, second and third with 10 honorable mentions which will be displayed at the Museum of Tarlac.
Participants who were not chosen have given opportunity to display their artworks during the art exhibit in the museum gallery.
Tarlac Governor Susan Yap witnessed the arts competition and met the participants who came from different parts of the country – both amateurs and professionals.
Yap as an art enthusiast, conceptualized together with KUNST the painting competitions to relive the interest and promote the arts and culture in the province.
“If I have time, I do paint a little, not that good, but I like the arts. I wanted to explore the children of Tarlac, the young ones to arts and culture because for a long time, walang nadadalang sining sa probinsiya, we have a museum in Tarlac hindi naman nagagamit for that purpose” Yap told the Manila Bulletin.
She added that nowadays, children are much inclined with cinemas and social media thus the interest on arts and culture has been set aside.
“It’s one way of also getting them away from (using illegal) drugs, to keep their time busy” she said.
The Kanlahi Festival was first celebrated in May last year which also commemorated the province’s 144th foundation day.
However, the provincial government through an approved resolution of the provincial board has changed the celebration month because of the rainy season which usually starts during the month of May.
“The board resolution was approved declaring the first Monday of every March as the official Kanlahi Festival Week,” said provincial tourism officer Arsenio Lugay II.
He said some of the highlights in the event this year are the paralympics for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Mutya ng Kanlahi, Mr. Tarlac, competitions on street dance, drum and lyre, chorale and best floats.
Enduro car race, car and motor shows and variety shows with celebrities are also much awaited in the event.
Lugay said the province is looking forward to the declaration of Kanlahi Festival as the official festival in Tarlac by the Department of Tourism after celebrating three consecutive years in 2019.