Independent Palaweño artists will come together for the 2024 Sining Palawenyo exhibit on Feb 5-9.

Local Palaweño artists will be featured in an art exhibit at SM City Puerto Princesa’s activity center from February 5-9, along with holding workshops on sculpting and instrument playing for the duration of the exhibit as part of this year’s Arts & Culture month celebration.

Marlon Penetrante, organizer of the exhibit, said he tapped the local artists for Sining Palawenyo only a week before the exhibit went live, which led to the open-themed artworks sprawled about in the activity center, with paintings, sculptures, and mixed media artworks alike displayed, their only common denominator being the product of Palaweño hands.

“We have a lot of artists, some are members of groups based here in Palawan. Dahil art month ngayon, na-invite namin yung existing art groups na available kung sino ang gustong maki-celebrate. May mga nagrespond din (…) Di lang kami masyadong marami kasi ang ibang artist ngayon ay kaniya-kaniya sila na mga activities din, tulad ng sa Stellar Grounds,” he said.

“First time namin ngayon na parang naging full blast yung mga artist,” Penetrante added, as he relayed the other workshops headed by the artist for the week-long event, which included a live sketching class, a terracotta clay sculpting class, and a whole session for percussive instruments, all taught by Palaweño artists.

Mallgoers have an entire week to gaze upon the local artworks in the 2nd floor of SM City Puerto Princesa.

The exhibit opened on Sunday, in a ceremony that included a ribbon cutting event with special guest Ceasar “Sammy” Magbanua, and a short program opened by Emanuel “Tay Emz” Lacusan, who sung a harvest song on a tulali, an Ilonggo woodwind instrument.

“Tea harvest song iyon. Dahil walang gitara, di ko ma-execute ng masyado kaya binago na lang [ng konti]. Yung panahon nung harvest, aanihin mo na yung mga tinanim mo. Inspirasyon ko iyon kasi kapag may itinanim ka, kung anong tinanim mo yun din ang ihaharvest mo,” Tay Emz said.

Tay Emz made the tulali used in his performance, as aside from performing them, he also liked crafting indigenous musical instruments. “Gusto kong bumalik sa kultura natin as much as possible, kasi ang kultura natin ngayon ay masyadong westernized,” he said.

Tay Emz first traveled to Palawan in 1998, which was when he wrote a poem about the beauty of Palawan’s lush forests, one of two pieces recited live alongside Rosie Bienz during the opening program.

“Isang magandang sining ang dumating na ulap /Upang muling baguhin ang lahat/ Isang magandang tanawin ang naghihintay sayo/ Upang muling baguhin ang mundo,” went the lyrics.

Due to the open theme, the pieces on display were a colorful showcase of the artists’ own tastes and art styles. While most of the pieces were acrylics on canvas, there were some who used mixed media.

One such artwork was Je Armie Mondragon’s “Last Supper”, whereupon trash such as a used flat paintbrush, a flattened 1.5 liter bottle of Coca-cola, and an empty plastic box from a hardware store were stuck on a canvas, placed as “guests” on a table painted with Filipino dishes.

Mondragon noted that although the piece did not have the traditional signifiers of Palawan art- which tended towards portraying endemic flora and fauna, or using wood or clay- he still felt that the piece was true to him as a Palaweño artist.

“Kasi lahat naman po kami dito, dahil rush, talagang kung ano yung meron lang [sa amin] yun yung ginamit para sa mga painting. Ako, mahilig ako sa basura, nandiyan lang sa gilid-gilid, kaya ginamit ko din sa art,” Mondragon said.

When asked about the future of Palaweño art, Penetrante said that the local artists were still in their “blooming” phase.

“Unlike other cities or provinces, ang Palawan kasi, ever since [way back then] marami nang mga artists ang pumupunta dito nakakuha ng inspiration. Di naman masyadong consistent, pero hopefully naumpisahan ang mga roots dito ngayong February,” Penetrante added, as he remarked that the celebrations for the upcoming years might have a theme.

“Yung mga young artist na sumisibol ngayon, yung actual feature ng artworks nila, ibig sabihin na naisasalugar doon sa art nila, at sa kanilang art ay pa-mature na,” he added.

On February 10, different art pieces will also be available for public display in the Palawan Museum, including new pieces from the artists on exhibition in Sining Palawenyo.

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