An experienced artist stated that increasing the level of art appreciation in Palawan is necessary because the local art community is struggling to establish its identity.

In his 26 years in the industry, homegrown artist Jonathan Benitez of Palawan Artist Collective has observed that local art has yet to establish its identity in comparison to other parts of the country.

In the long run, he believes that some artists may lose interest in pursuing their artistic careers due to a lack of financial support to sustain production.

“Na-i-istop ang practice kasi kulang sa support ng local government units, kulang na kulang– Yong nagsu-support sa art kalimitan mga non-government organization, mga foreign na grupo. Ang mabilis makaintindi ng art ‘yong foreign kasi mataas ang kultura na pinanggalingan sa lugar nila, mataas ang appreciation,” he said.

Benitez said that having an artistic identity also helps to promote a place. It will be possible if there is high art appreciation not only from appreciators but also in the level of practitioners, educators, and government support, he added.

The art community looks at the support of the local government as an essential tool to help bring Palawan to the level of art appreciation in the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, and Baguio.

He pointed out that the importance of art should not be neglected as it gives harmony to a place and is also applicable in everyday living, relationships, leadership, and public service. A place with a high level of art appreciation values beauty and life as well.

“Malaki ang role ng art sa community kasi ito yong legacy kung ano ang identity, pagkakakilanlan kung sino tayo. Kung may artist na Cuyonon, makita nila sa artwork, ma-promote pa yong culture ng isang lugar. Ma-promote ang culture ng Palawan, na ganito pala ang buhay sa Palawan. Through art, makikita nila ang existence ng isang community, ‘yan ang nagpapakilala ng identity natin bilang tayo,” he said.

As an artist himself, he wishes to see more people in Palawan interested in art for reasons other than monetary gain.