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Arts & Culture

Long Reach of short Films

By Manuel Domes Our view of the conflicts in Mindanao is shaped by the stories we read, watch, and hear through the mainstream media. These stories are often centered on violence—killings, kidnappings, bombings, and other atrocities. After all, “bad news is good news.” These stories shape how we understand the constraints of working toward peace in Mindanao. Of course, the realities of armed clashes, kidnappings, violence, and war crimes must not be ignored. But at the same time, there are stories of hope and peace, of overcoming differences in the everyday interactions of diverse communities. Such stories of peace abound, but often escape the attention of mainstream media. Over the past year, I had the privilege to work with a group of filmmakers from Mindanao in a collective effort to work toward …

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A Little ManilArt appreciation

By Ana Valenzuela  Images by Pinggot Zulueta Now on its eight year, ManilaArt is considered to be the biggest art fair in the country. It tries to differentiate itself from other art fairs by mixing in the masters and the newcomers, and differentiate from its past inception by bringing in something new to the table. This year, ManilArt broke down barriers of art being “only for the elite” as it introduced a walking art tour to about 900 high school students of public schools in Taguig—new pairs of eyes to see the works of artists who joined this year’s presentation. Tess Rayos Del Sol, ManilArt’s director, shared, “We are trying to introduce art appreciation, because once they start with art appreciation, then there is a liking, and when they grow up, they will collect and buy later on. They have to understand art, the expression of art, the …

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The Trinity in Transit

Images by Pinggot Zulueta The children of Emmanuel Garibay are making their own name in the art world Three has often been considered a sacred number representative of the past, present, and future. It has also been considered indicative of beginning, the middle, and the end, as well as birth, life, and death. For the three Garibay siblings, their art represents the transitory state of their own consciousness. Through their unique and distinct approach, they showcase a different commentary on reality, both visually and conceptually. In their steadfast commitment to inject their own brand of authenticity they have each created a diverse oeuvre that is deeply rooted on both the mundane and the extraordinary, as well as the banal and the exceptional moments in life. Talented, passionate, and dedicated to their crafts, …

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Beware Red-Eyed internet detectives

The s—t hit the fan in the electrifying world of Philippine art. It seems that a painting allegedly by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo could be a re-baptized Belgian painter’s work. Lot No. 144 of Salcedo Auction’s “Important Philippine Art” event last Sept. 17 was a little girl’s portrait entitled Una Damita and inscribed A mi querido amigo Gonzalvez / FR Hidalgo / Paris 1901. Estimated price was at nosebleed heights, seven to nine million pesos. The Auction Catalogue declares that the subject is Ana Maria Gonzalvez, she of a “young, innocent, and beautiful visage,” daughter of extremaduran Antonio Gonzalvez who was in the hospitality industry, who had migrated to Paris and who was a good friend of Hidalgo, “a great admirer of his art.” And further, that Ana Maria died during World War II …

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It’s all about hard work

Portrait by Noel B. Pabalate Many have written and even made movies about North Korea to try and paint a picture of what life is like in the communist country. The extremely secretive country has only opened its doors to very few outsiders, and when it does, certain limitations are set and only the superficial things are brought into light. Authors and researchers only get an idea of what North Korea is like through the accounts of defectors, those former residents who opted to live their lives outside its closely guarded walls. It is illegal to talk to an ordinary citizen inside the country. Author Adam Johnson had to read a lot of materials about the country, talk to defectors, and visit the country itself just to finish his book. He recently …

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Capturing nature

The natural world is the resounding expression of the universe and, within the diverse tape story of life, it offers the secret to peace and longevity. Nature embraces the fleetingness of existence, and celebrates how life and destruction work in harmony with one another. It serves as a haven for the world-weary soul and it is in communion with it, away from the artificiality that prevails in urban and modern life, that we can gain deeper understanding of previously confounding issues. Nature holds infinite wisdom, and it is only upon returning to nature that humans can connect deeper with their most authentic self. The unquestionable power of nature to heal and transform serves as the catalyst for photographer-artist Hersely Casero’s recently concluded exhibit, “Sanctuary.” Debuting at the Art Veritae, “Sanctuary” chronicled …

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Burning desire

If you were a young woman in the early 1940s who got raped—and impregnated—by a Japanese soldier, would you let your child live? This is the dilemma that confronts the pivotal character Chayong in Artist Playground’s adaptation of Dan Hollanda’s war-time drama Lagablab, a play inspired by British writer W. Somerset’s short story The Unconquered. Directed by Paul Jake Paule, the one-hour, nine-minute play is set in Bulacan during the Japanese occupation. The story revolves around the desolation of a Filipino family who was forced by the cruel realities of war in making difficult choices of either painfully giving up their dignity in exchange for security or bravely fighting for their name and reputation to a bitter end. “Lagablab is the second show in our second season. Artist Playground is an arts company that would soon have a …

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Saints, sinners, and history repeating itself

By Ana Valenzuela Portrait by Cyrus Panganiban For some, the name Jerrold Tarog is—and probably always will be—synonymous to the 2015 blockbuster film Heneral Luna. Maybe that was why, when he was scheduled to give a talk at the recent “Inspire Every Day” event at the Ayala Museum about his inspirations, people figured he would be leaning more toward historical biopic films. He didn’t. When the director took the stage, he confessed that the subject was awkward for him as he only had done one historical movie, the much lauded, rousing portrait of General Antonio Luna. “I don’t even watch too many historical films. Obviously I’m not an authority on this,” he said. Even though he may not deem himself on top of the historical film ladder just yet, Tarog is more than a …

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Magic in motion

Portrait by Noel B. Pabalate Dance is the poetry of movement and the ballad of the body. For Giulio Scatola, it is also the truest expression of his being. So innate was his affinity for dancing that he cannot recall ever falling in love with it, affirming instead that his passion and dedication toward dance was already present within his “flesh and blood” when he entered this world. “I cherish all sorts of self-expression and art forms. I guess dance has always been the most ‘complete’ to me. I can speak with my body. I can make music with my body. I can act with my body. The body to me is like a full orchestra and a full choir. It has many layers of expression. And it is able to transmit …

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Two stolen Van Gogh paintings seized from Italian mafia

Two stolen paintings by Vincent Van Gogh were seized in a criminal network linked to the mafia near Naples, Italian authorities said on Friday. The two paintings, "Seascape at Scheveningen" and "Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen," had been stolen from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam in 2002. Italy's financial police found them during an operation against drug trafficking on the coastal town of Castellammare di Stabia, which targeted a group affiliated to Naples-based Camorra mob, police said at a press conference. Museum curators confirmed the authenticity of the two artworks, which would be worth around 100 million euros (111.6 million U.S. dollars), Ansa news agency reported. Vincent Van Gogh, born in the Netherlands in 1853, is considered one of the greatest painters in history. Despite a 14-year journey, the two stolen works …

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