By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
Three new galleries at the University of the Philippines Visayas Museum of Art and Cultural Heritage (UPV MACH) were made open to the public on Monday, May 8.
The additional exhibit of Ilonggo artists featured Ed Defensor’s sculptures in ‘Súpat’, Nelfa A. Querubin’s ceramic art in ‘Gindáp-ung’, and Western Visayas’ patadyóng industry in ‘Naúg’.
In ‘Súpat’, Defensor showcased his sculpture explorations in form and figure of wood, brass, bronze, clay, and cement, among others.
Querubin’s ‘Gindáp-ung’ highlighted the surprising beauty and inherent characteristics of clay. This exhibit was made possible by the generous loan of Querubin’s ceramics from the 1990s and 15 artworks from the collection of the Central Philippine University.
‘Naúg’ focused on the patadyóng (loose-checkered skirt products) made by the Bagtason Loom Weavers Association in Bugasong, Antique. The exhibit particularly highlighted men who have taken over the looms and have become expert weavers themselves.
UPV Chancellor Clement Camposano, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, and Ed Defensor led the opening of the exhibit.
Treñas said the exhibit is a testament to the celebration of the Ilonggo culture, creativity, and artistry as he recalled the years when exhibits were held in the old city hall (now UPV MACH), with floors that are almost dilapidated.
“It is evident that Ilonggos have embraced local arts and more young people are getting involved and building in their creative professions,” the city mayor said as he lauded UP Visayas’ efforts to encourage more individuals to appreciate art and for the steps made in making Iloilo an arts capital of the region.
Meanwhile, Camposano emphasized the collective realization that “for the arts to thrive, we need to bring together different sectors.”
“We have to do more than just shout on the rooftops and make statements about how we are so devoted to the arts. We have to create a space that will bring together everybody because that is really how art flourishes,” he stressed.
Since the MACH’s formal launching in October last year, Camposano said the response from the art community has been encouraging.
“We are already able to tell the country that Iloilo is not only growing as a commercial center but that we have made very important strides in… celebrating both our indigenous people and colonial heritage in a way that defines ‘Ilonggo-ness,’” he said.