DAVAO CITY - Amidst the global health crisis, art in Mindanao continues to thrive and proof of that was the successful opening of the second Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit, and Conference (MindanaoArt 2020) at the Malayan Colleges Mindanao campus here on Wednesday, October 21.
An online gala was also hosted at the campus which was attended exclusively by invited guests and participating artists onsite and was streamed live for the global audience through the Mindanao Art Facebook page.
Biggest art event in Mindanao
MindanaoArt 2020 is the biggest art event in Mindanao and one of the biggest gatherings of artists in Southeast Asia. The event is organized by Lawig-Diwa Inc. and is supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts National Committee on Art Galleries (NCCA-NCAG) through a grant.
The theme this year centers on "art in a new landscape" and is participated by over 200 artists from Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Caraga region, North Cotabato, General Santos City, Bukidnon province, Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and Zamboanga Peninsula.
The 1st Mindanao Art Fair Exhibit and Conference (Mindanao Art 2019) was attended last year by thousands of art enthusiasts and the general public at the Gaisano Mall.
More Mindanaoan artists
In his speech during the online gala, Lawig-Diwa president Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan said "MindanaoArt 2020 has brought together more artists than it did last year, in a feat and scale never before dared."
"And it does much more than that. In this new uncertain landscape, we chose to make art live," he said.
"We chose to push through with Mindanao's biggest art event and we chose to do more, aim for more, despite or perhaps of the ongoing crisis, because crisis is the mother of revolution and Mindanao is beginning its own revolution," Millan said.
"This is a revolution which creates new possibilities, new opportunities and new ways of thinking. It is a revolution which sees Mindanao creatives dare to carve craft, curate a new sense of collective identity and community, a new spirit of optimism and pride, a new brand of audacity," he added.
Millan also introduced the 10 legendary virtual museums the designs of which were inspired by iconic symbols of Mindanao including the Tapayan, Uyayi, Tambol, Kaban, Lamin, Balangay, Dabakan, Kulintang, Vinta, and Bakaw.
Artists during lockdown
One of the participating artists was an art practitioner for 15 years Victor Augustus Dumaguing. Dumaguing was born in Zamboanga City in 1977 and has established his own non-formal visual art and music school in Tagum City, Davao del Norte province. He teaches in the College of Architecture and Fine Arts Education at the University of Mindanao in Davao City.
In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Dumaguing shared that before the lockdown, he was working on some 25 artworks.
"Marami na, 25 artworks ito pero hindi pa siya finished. Nung nag-lockdown, yun na, inisa-isa ko nang tapusin pagkatapos dun ko na pinasukan ng concept na 'stay at home' you have to spend more time with your family," he said.
Dumaguing said instead of letting anxiety and depression overpower him because of the pandemic, he chose to enjoy spending time with his family at home.
His artworks called "Stay At Home" depicts the daily bond among family members. Some of the artworks show a mother playing with her child and a father and his child doing gardening.
"Ang gusto kong ipalabas sa artwork ko is the positive view, hindi yung negative side (I want to show the positive view, not the negative side of it through my artwork)," he added.
His paintings resonate not only his call to strengthen the Filipino families but also the beauty of Mindanaoan culture and the intricate patterns inspired by handwoven textiles by the indigenous peoples of Mindanao.
"Inspired yan nung damit ng mga tribespeople natin. Hindi sya copied, but the process itself, the intricacy of the patterns, I applied it to the artworks," Dumaguing said.
He said he also contacted some of his students to participate in MindanaoArt2020 by sharing their experiences during the lockdown through their artworks. The exhibit shows a total of 15 artworks by Dumaguing and his students.
MindanaoArt also features the works of the special artists from the Deanna Sipaco (DS) Foundation for the Differently-Abled, Inc. Their works are displayed at the center of the physical gallery.
The exhibit also features the special project entitled MinTODA by veteran artist Leonardo "Bing" Cariño.
According to the organizers, "Cariño's colourful illustrations of Mindanao's diverse tricycles will be exhibited publicly in six different major urban centers around the island, making Mindanao one large open air gallery."
They added that the illustrations will be mounted on actual tricycles and public spaces in Pagadian City, Tagum City, Davao City, Koronadal City, General Santos City, and Midsayap, "with more towns and cities set to join."
"Tricycle passengers will be treated to a free art show! " they said.
After the online gala, the participating artists and guests were also introduced to Monobo cuisine prepared by Datu Hudson Bayawan of the Obo Manobo tribe in Kidapawan City.
The public can make an appointment to see the artworks at the Malayan Colleges of Mindanao from 10AM-4PM starting October 22, 2020 until November 8, 2020.