by Nina Isabelle Alolod | February 18, 2023
When one thinks of February, what first comes to mind are the romantic pageantries of Valentines Day—flowers, chocolates, haranas dedicated to a significant other. But aside from these displays of affection, February is also a celebration of National Arts Month.
Our country is certainly no stranger to creativity, for it is reflected and embedded in our culture. We see this in the personalized art spray-painted on our jeepneys, in the unique use of piña fiber to create traditional Filipino clothes, the costumery donned by street dancers during festivals, and more.
National Arts Month acts as a tribute to the uniqueness and diversity of Filipino heritage and culture. Throughout this month, Filipino artists are able to showcase their talent as well as find new avenues to channel their creative energies. In celebration of National Arts Month, an art exhibition called Arte Fair is currently being displayed in the Arté Café Gallery located in the 2nd floor of Allegre at Rizal Boulevard from Feb. 4-26 with a lineup comprised of local artists in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Cebu, and Manila.
Silliman University alumni Cil Flores took part in this exhibition with her artwork “Uncover” featuring her original character Clae inspired by the annual Sandurot Festival that emphasized the hospitality and friendliness of Dumaguete City. “The background and elements (i.e. glowing rocks, runes) are inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is a videogame I’m currently playing.” Flores expressed when asked about the inspiration behind her artwork.
One trademark of a good artwork, according to Ian Rosales Casocot in his article entitled “The Arts City of Our Secrets”, is its ability to tell a story. Casocot expressed that to tell the story of Dumaguete is to be immersed in the language of how it embraces culture and the arts. Miss Flores’ artwork is no exception to this—with its colorful artistic interpretations and elements that accentuates a nice depiction of Dumaguete’s culture and arts. The dark colors of nature complementing each other in the starry night sky adds a dreamy feel to it that provides a strong foundation in captivating the viewer’s eye to the center of the artwork—the girl holding a glowing cube that radiates an inviting warmth adorned with outlines of figures partaking in revelry and community, further honing in on Flores’ interpretation of the Sandurot festival.
There is no shortage of love for artistry in Dumaguete whether it be literary, musical, or theatrical. Silliman University is a testament to this—from the Tiempos who marked their place in the Philippine literary scene and are now immortalized in the annals of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop to the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium where countless local and international performances have been held.
“Dumaguete is slowly developing its vibrant art scene and we’re blessed to have three art galleries and ongoing exhibitions in the city.” continued Flores. She also expressed that through the art exhibition, students and budding artists out there will be able to view each artwork present and appreciate the talent, skill, and creativity that local artists of Dumaguete and around the country possess.
As students in university, we may find ourselves stressed or burnt out at times constantly chasing after deadlines and catching up on assigned reading materials. When we inevitably become distracted, we begin to seek more stimulating content usually found on our phones. But instead of doomscrolling on Twitter or Facebook, why not redirect interest into our local artists? Dumaguete’s art scene not only provides a more intimate experience with the craftsmanship within the community, but also a front row view to the city’s ever evolving culture.
The recognition of local artists goes beyond likes and shares as it cultivates the much needed spotlight of the creatives in the Philippines. The Arte Fair showcases more than 40 talented artists and they hope that the students will get to know and appreciate each one.