Iloilo’s veteran artists revive Hublag arts festival

Published January 25, 2022, 3:52 PM

by Tara Yap

Ilonggo artists team up to revive a classic art festival

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t exactly the perfect time for Iloilo’s veteran artists to come together but it is an opportune time to rekindle and revive the spirit of an arts festival that has, for decades now, coincided with the annual Dinagyang Festival.

In “Hublag-Subong,” more than 20 artists who are considered agurangs (the Hiligaynon word for the respected older ones) have reemerged with their latest works displayed at one of the art galleries at University of the Philippines (UP Visayas) in Iloilo City.

“This exhibition reaffirms these agurangs’ talent and commitment to their muses that have sustained the growth of art in Iloilo and that has, today, enriched local, regional, and even the national art scene,” says Martin Genodepa, who serves both as a curator and a participating artist.

Participating artists at ‘Hublag-Subong’

The exhibition also features the works of Ritche Baylon, Anthony Castillo, Ritchie Condesa, Ed Defensor, Boy Dolar, Angelo “Jun-Jun” Duarte, Vic Fario, Voltaire Fernandez, Ronnie Granja, Guijo Dueñas, Joey Isturis, Jeline Laporga, Madhu Ann Liebscher, Boy Masculino, Jomari Moleta, Rheo Nepomuceno, Frank Alexi Nobleza, Fred Orig, Al Provido, Eric Tacorda, and PG Zoluaga.

“Hublag-Subong” takes off from Hublag: The Ilonggo Arts Festival during the late 1980s to the middle of the 1990s. Spearheaded by the Arts Council of Iloilo and with the support of UP Visayas, the original Hublag were mostly outdoor art exhibitions at the now abandoned PNB Multi-Purpose Hall along Gen. Luna St. and at the Iloilo National High School in La Paz district.

“[The original] Hublag engendered the first massive wave of revival in the local visual arts that brought to center stage local artists who had just been working in the shadows. It also challenged and emboldened young talents to engage in art,” explains Genodepa.

Needless to say, the new iteration of Hublag at UP Visayas’ Lantip Gallery is a more formal exhibition featuring at least two works from each participating artist. Majority of the works are acrylic and oil paintings while several are mixed-media pieces. There are also sculptures made from stone, wood, and metal pieces.

“Hublag-Subong” at UP Visayas is just the first for the art reunion of the agurangs. There will be a second group exhibition at Museo Iloilo with more veteran artists joining.

“Hublag-Subong” runs until Jan. 31. Due to the ongoing pandemic, it is suggested to call (33) 337-9159 or message Upv Oica via Facebook messenger for scheduled visits. Only a maximum of 10 persons are allowed to enter.