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Art tilt hopes to tap youth’s passion

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EMILY ABRERA, secretariat head of the 33rd DPC-PLDT Visual Arts Competition, leads the formal opening of the 2019 contest. — HTTP://WWW.PLDT.COM

BECAUSE THE future belongs to the dreamers and the youth, this year’s theme for the Visual Arts Competition (VAC), a partnership between PLDT and Directories Philippines Corp. (DPC), is “Creating the Legacy, Creating the Future.”

With the theme in mind, the DPC-PLDT Visual Arts Competition is encouraging young Filipino artists all over the country to imagine what tomorrow could be like and then transfer their vision onto canvas.

Emily Abrera, secretariat head of the 33rd DPC-PLDT Visual Arts Competition and the former chairwoman of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, said that the committee had to think of a theme that had not been used before. As VAC has been around for more than three decades, this makes it hard to think of a novel theme.

Ms. Abrera said that the theme is asking the youth this vital question: “Ano ang mahalaga sa iyo?” (What is important to you?)




“One is never too young to think of their legacy,” said Ms. Abrera during a press conference held at New World Makati last month.

She added during her speech: “In a rapidly changing world that is increasingly being driven by younger generations, we need to be more aware of the impact that our day-to-day life decisions and the values we hold dear will have on the future shape of our society and the sustainability of our planet.”

But around the same time as the competition’s launch, a study on Filipino youth and dreams came out that said seven out of 10 of today’s teenagers don’t have dreams anymore. Poverty and the lacks of self-esteem, passion, and opportunity were mentioned as among the top factors leading to Filipino teenagers’ lack of dreams and personal goals, said The Dream Project PH Founder Prim Paypon of the study which covered 614 Filipino teenagers from different socioeconomic classes across the country.

All this leads one to ask: Can art ignite passion? How can art competitions like VAC be reconciled with the survey’s results?

Reacting to the survey, VAC project head Ruben Tangco could only say, smiling, “Well, that’s unfortunate,” but he still looked hopeful.

The organizers are still hopeful about the competition’s goals. The VAC head said this year’s theme might improve Filipino youth’s self-esteem and ignite their passion, which the study said they are lacking.

Art competitions can not only inspires dreamers and artists, but also open opportunities for anyone. Discovered talents do not necessarily come from Metro Manila, said Mr. Tangco.

When the DPC-PLDT VAC started 33 years ago, it was a competition controlled by entries from Manila’s schools, said Mr. Tangco, but not anymore.

While the majority of the winners were from Far Eastern University (with nine out of 32 winners), the University of Santo Tomas (two out of 32), and University of the East (three out of 32), Mr. Tangco said students from the province are starting to gain recognition.

The DPC-PLDT VAC aims to help the young to create, imagine, and work on the future and create their own legacy, big or small.

To join this year’s competition, Filipino students aged 18 to 24 must be enrolled in any accredited tertiary school with a Fine Arts program.

The submission of paintings is from Feb. 25 to March 1, however, students’ art must be submitted through their schools.

Fine Arts colleges, departments, and schools nationwide are encouraged to choose as many as five oil or acrylic paintings by their students as official entries.

Besides the cash prize of P100,000, the winning works will become covers of the Yellow and White Pages.

In 2012, the DPC-PLDT VAC was also open to photography, but this was shortlived said Mr. Tangco, because of incidents of fraud including the use of Photoshopped images and recycled entries.

“It’s hard to police,” said Mr. Tangco.

For the full competition mechanics, visit www.visualarts.ph. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman