Soar high, Bacolod!

Local artist Neil Benavente is drenched in water as he stepped out of the fountain area in front of the Bacolod City Government Center where he supervised the men in mounting six flying figures that will form part of the installation art conceptualized by Charlie Co in collaboration with Neil and 10 other artists for the 43rd MassKara Festival.

The installation art entitled “Soaring High: The Power of Imagination,” will be unveiled today, September 30, during the MassKara Kick-off Salubong which will start at 4 p.m. at the BCGC.

The inspiration of Soaring High took its flight in Dubai where Charlie was one of the Filipino artists featured in the Dubai World Expo last year.

This time around, “we are bringing this message home that with imagination, with resiliency and with our talents, Filipinos can make it in the global stage,” Charlie said.

The six flying figures looked like superheroes taking off to do battle in the skies and Charlie said it is “reminiscent of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who are facing the unknown when they decided to leave our country to provide for their families. Yet, through perseverance and sacrifices, they’ve made it.”

Leading the pack is a flying man who was distinct from the other figures as he has his right hand across his chest and was adorned in a suit with the colors, the stars and the sun found in our Philippine flag.

“I wanted to highlight the spirit of nationalism among us,” Charlie said, adding that this was inspired by the singing of the national anthem when we place our right hand on our chest with pride.

This is what he hopes to impart of Bacolodnons and the visitors of the MassKara Festival. “Let us celebrate our resiliency as a people. Let us be proud of our culture, let us celebrate our local talents, and let us bring back the smiles in Bacolod.”

All the figures were sculptured by Benavente and Charlie painted the central figure. Bry Cervantes and RA Tijing, Jun Jun Montelibano and Jay R Delleva, BillyBoy Abonado and Ayla August, Jovito Hecita and Red Santilian, and Anika Marie Loquite with HR Campos III were paired to collaborate in painting the rest of the five flying men.

Cervantes said they also want to send a message out to the world that “Bacolod artists are ready to take on the global stage, and Charlie has done that. Similarly, this is a celebration of MassKara which has earned its name globally as well and after two years under the pandemic, we are ready to soar high, we are ready to smile again.”

Charlie added that in celebrating local arts, we are reminded that the MassKara Festival idea was actually conceptualized by an artist and to date, we have a new generation of artists living those ideals and sharing the magic of their art to bring smiles in our faces.”

“Soar high, think big as there are limitless possibilities around us. At the center of it all, inculcate love for self and love of country and we hope this new installation will inspire us to work for the future of our city, of our nation,” Charlie said.