P60,000 at Stake: Build hope through art by joining this competition

Published September 2, 2020, 6:56 PM

by Jules Vivas

Even in the middle of the pandemic, student artists may now build their own name and inspire other people through artworks by participating in the 53RD Shell National Students Art Competition

Last year’s first placer in the water color category, Nicolle T. Plamer of the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, for her work “Gising Sanip

Our lives have been upended by the global health crisis. Now more than ever, we take to art to distract ourselves, to ease our anxieties, and to experience even just a fraction of normalcy in this time of despair. The world may seem dark and dreary, which is exactly why it is best to focus our energy on creativity and positivity instead.

To address the collective hunger for arts, one of the country’s longest-running student arts competitions, the National Students Art Competition (NSAC) pushes through with its 53rd installment this year themed “Hope in our art.”

NSAC is calling on student artist from all over the country to showcase their talents in all types of mediums from digital arts, to oil and acrylic, to water color, and even sculpture. Entries can be submitted until Oct. 11.

Pilipinas Shell vice president for external and government relations Serge Bernal

“Art can inspire creativity, provoke thought, and empower people to make a change—and that is how it gives hope,” explains Pilipinas Shell vice president for external and government relations Serge Bernal. “Young artists often have a fresher vision and an untarnished idealism. We believe that they can influence the country toward a better and brighter future. Shell continues to invest in programs that promote social development because we believe in the power of the Filipino youth,” he adds.

Over 1,250 students are expected to participate this year. Winners will be granted cash prizes, medals, and plaques, with the third placer getting P30,000, second P40,000, and first placer Php60,000.

“Art is needed now more than ever and we will see to it that it continues,” says Serge. “It is crucial to acknowledge the industry’s struggles, amplify their voices, and support them now. By providing a wider platform for Filipino artists, curators, and collectors, we are giving the next-generation art sector a better chance to thrive. The young artists who emerge from them will be the first to lead us to a brighter tomorrow,” he concludes.

52nd NSAC first placer in the acrylic painting category Rhichelle Kirk A. Tabanera of the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology, for his work “Still Standing”

The online event will also have an arts talk where industry insiders and thought leaders such as independent curator Con Cabrera, festival director and founder of Fringe Manila Andre Pamintuan, and multi-media artist Riza Romero will shed light on the challenges and opportunities of the art sector in this precarious period.

Many artists are out of projects or jobs, which is why Con Cabrera believes that it is an essential time to present fresh and new creations. NSAC is among remaining opportunities art can thrive in.

Meanwhile, award-winning digital strategist and arts advocate Amor Maclang emphasizes that art is an effective means to spark dialogue. “How relevant is NSAC really during the time of COVID? Well, [art] is what allowed us to make the most difficult conversations,” she muses.

Award-winning digital strategist and arts advocate Amor Maclang

More of the mechanics here.

The future is in the hands of the youth, as long as they are given the tools and platforms to succeed. “I have confidence that the Filipino youth will prevail. They’re resilient, and they’re digital natives who can quickly adapt to technological progress,” says Riza Romero.

“Do not stop expressing yourselves. Let’s embrace this digital world for now. The pandemic is temporary but your art and your contributions to society will always be a lasting legacy,” Andre Pamintuan says to all the artists everywhere.

For over half a century since it first began, NSAC has been instrumental to the growth of thousands of artists, including abstract artist and National Artist of the Philippines awardee Jose Joya, expressionist painter Ang Kiukok, applied sculpture practitioner Leeroy New, and realistic oil painter Ivan Roxas.

NSAC winners will be given innovative platforms to unveil their craft while also inspiring their fellow countrymen. Though various physical galleries and museums have shuttered all over the world, the visual artworks made for the virtual event will be featured in digital displays and promoted to the online communities.