Story and photos by Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – As the “City of Smiles” is currently celebrating the MassKara Festival here, a variety of colorful masks were featured in an art exhibit as a tribute to the vibrant spirit of the festival.
Fourteen meticulously crafted pieces of masks by Bacolod’s renowned mask maker Jojo Vito, were displayed in a MassKara exhibit dubbed “Festive Faces,” at the Art Cove of Park Inn by Radisson Bacolod.
The exhibit was officially unveiled on October 1, to kick off the month-long celebration of the festival, which is now on its 44th year.
Vito, along with former Bacolod Masskara queens Nicole Puentevella Uy and Agnes Chang, and Councilor Israel Salanga led the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
In his speech, Vito said that each mask serves as a reflection of not only himself but also the diverse spectrum of humanity.
One of the standout pieces in this exclusive collection is the “Haciendera Mask,” an embodiment of luxury and opulence during Negros’ golden era with its vibrant red and gold hues.
In contrast, the “Esmeralda Mask” is inspired by the strength of Bacolodnons. This mask serves as a powerful symbol of resilience and equilibrium in the face of adversity.
“Luna Mask” derived from the Latin word “moon,” symbolizes more than just a celestial body, it mirrors the strong sense of community and camaraderie among Bacolodnons, a spirit celebrated fervently during the festival, underscoring unity as a cherished core value.
“Gloria Mask” pays tribute to the MassKara Festival, an event that catapulted Bacolod onto the global stage. It stands as a testament to the city’s enduring fame and glory.
“Esperanza Mask” exudes an optimistic and positive outlook embodying a vision for Bacolod’s brighter future where love, peace, and justice reign.
“Reina Mask” is in homage to the esteemed Masskara Queens of Bacolod City. It celebrates not only their physical beauty, but also their intelligence, serving as inspirations to the city’s young women.
These are some of the masks featured in the exhibit which symbolizes the rich tapestry of human expressions, feelings, and experiences.
Prior to this exhibit, the hotel also featured Vito’s artwork themed around the allure of gold, silver, and glitter, entitled “Gilded Expressions.”
Vito, who was recognized as the best-selling installation in Art Cove’s history, thanked those who supported him and for inspiring him to make more beautiful art pieces.
Vito’s business “Jojo Vito Designs Gallery” has already reached global recognition and has been featured in several international programs, and notable shows in Korea and China.
He is a recipient of Pasidungog and Gawad Bagonhon Awardee for the Culture and Arts of Bacolod and Bago City in Negros Occidental, respectively.
Apart from being an artist, Vito is also an entrepreneur, educator, and a multi-awarded international travel blogger.
Meanwhile, Sherwin Lucas, hotel’s general manager, said that “Festive Faces” offers a unique opportunity to experience the enchantment of Bacolod through the lens of one of its most esteemed artists.
He encouraged Bacolodnons and visitors to come and explore the transformation of Vito’s artistry.
The “Festive Faces” exhibit will run until November 19, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the festive spirit and creativity of the MassKara Festival.