Filipino art shines anew at the 2021 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence

Published September 19, 2021, 12:00 AM

by Marie Buenaventura

These new artists are MADE

The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) recognized this year’s Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) awardees through a virtual awarding ceremony and exhibit opening on Sept. 16, 2021. MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña, together with MBFI officers, led the awarding ceremonies. Fourth District of Pangasinan Representative and House Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts chairperson Cong. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia served as the guest of honor. 

On its 37th year, MADE adopted the theme “Spectrum: The Art of Possibilities” inviting every Filipino artist to tap into the expansive realm of creativity and transpose their spectrum of ideas into works that mirror the human experience and reshape the world anew. In the current times, MADE continues to be a purveyor of visual arts, amplifying the reach and voice of local talents and visionaries.

This year, MADE received the highest number of entries in the last 10 years with a record-breaking 701 entries—564 entries for the oil/ acrylic on canvas category, 77 entries for the water media on paper category, and 60 entries for the sculpture recognition program.

Out of these entries, eight Filipino painters and sculptors emerged as this year’s batch of MADE awardees. Two grand awardees for painting and one grand awardee for sculpture received a prize of ₱500,000 while three other artists for painting and two more for sculpture were conferred with the Special Citation, with each given a prize of ₱100,000.

All awardees also received the “Mula” glass trophy designed by 2009 Metrobank Prize for Achievement in Sculpture (MPAS) awardee Noell El Farol. They were also welcomed as members of the MADE-Network of Winners, the alumni organization of past awardees, implementing pay-it-forward projects that cater to marginalized sectors.

“The hundreds of entries submitted across the country are a testament to our local artists’ passion to create. They convey visually the heartbeat of a people facing a global disease, the fears, the anger, the sadness, and loss, but also the hope, the courage, and the tenacity to fight this enemy with kindness, generosity, and compassion,” MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña said in his welcome remarks.

The board of judges was chaired by well-known painter, installation artist, art educator, and sculptor Toym Imao. Members of the board included Art Fair Philippines co-founder Dindin Araneta, product designer and metal sculptor Daniel de la Cruz, Cultural Center of the Philippines Visual Arts and Museum Division officer-in-charge Rica Estrada, intermedia artist Mark Salvatus, and interdisciplinary artist Josephine Turalba. The late visual artist Leo Abaya also served as a part of the board of jurors until his passing last May.

In his message, Imao said that “Our participants created awesome, honest, and powerful works that, win or lose, have become an important part of history: of how this generation of artists imaged the spirit and the essence of these challenging times. Of how their narratives and stories can help all of us find the light again.”

More than just a pioneering corporate social responsibility (CSR) program for the arts, MADE has evolved to become a development program that facilitates the generation of ideas promoting social development, appreciation and preservation of our cultural heritage, as well as making art accessible to the many through its various art education activities and events.

When our lives were suddenly disrupted by the pandemic, the competition was deferred last year. Now as we are learning to live with the reality of COVID-19, we continue our mission to nurture the potential of young artists and enable them to express their voices freely however restrictive this new normal. —Aniceto Sobrepeña

SPECTRUM OF POSSIBILITIES Led by Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) president Aniceto Sobrepeña, the awardees of the 2021 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) were presented to the public through a virtual awarding ceremony and exhibit opening

To affirm its commitment, MBFI remained a supporter of local visual artists who were constrained by the challenges of these unusual times. A cash assistance program dubbed as MADE-CARES (Community Aid and Relief for Emergency Situations) was implemented in 2020, benefitting over 200 artists from the ₱1 million financial aid.

Established in 1984 by the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George Ty Siao Kian, MADE has served as a platform for discovery for the most passionate and persistent creative visionaries in the country. To date, more than 400 visual artists and design professionals have been recognized. A majority of them are now carving significant names in the local and even international art and design scenes. Past awardees include Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Jan Leeroy New, Alfredo Esquillo, Andres Barrioquinto, Yeo Kaa, and Cedrick dela Paz.