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THE VALUE of caring for Filipino heritage, the environment, and our own mental health amid a fast-paced, high-tech world was captured by the winning entries of the Paloma Digital Art Awards (PDAA), presented by Galeria Paloma at The Gallery in Greenbelt 5 on Nov. 10.
For its first year, the competition carried the theme “The Past Holds the Future, the Future Holds the Past,” reflecting the excitement of digital artists for technology while still being fully entrenched in traditional visual art forms.
Conceptualized in 2022 by the Rocha sisters — Mia Lauchengco, Kimi Delgado, and Georgia Chu — who are co-directors of Galeria Paloma, PDAA aims to bring local digital art to the forefront of the art scene. Over 60 entries were submitted.
“We’re trying to promote local digital artists. We found that the recent interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies was a way for digital art to have its own spotlight,” said Mia Lauchengco in her opening remarks.
Pamana by Gio Karlo won in the Solo Still Work category. It blends the struggles of Filipino forefathers with the aspirations of a modern Filipino child. The child’s cape, a dynamic cascade of symbols and patterns, “represents the precious thread connecting past sacrifices to present opportunities,” according to the artist’s statement.
Pwede Po Magpahinga(?) by Jarrett Cross is the winner in the Solo Video Work category. The clip shows an overwhelming circus of figures all around the artist, a nightmare he quickly wakes up from before he falls back into bed. The description of the work online says that technology can “help us with our daily needs and our hunger for more knowledge, but also break and harm us, becoming too fast for us to digest the new stuff.”
Restart by Mark Angelo B. Argarin and Mae Liza M. Montibon is the winner for the Collaboration Still Work category. It shows a figure representing Death in a barren landscape as he holds a plant, the last piece of life on earth. “Through this work, we wanted to share that taking control of our present by taking care of the environment can ensure a better future,” Mr. Argarin told BusinessWorld after the awarding ceremony.
Calle Historia by Lucius Felimus and Armie Loraine Corpus was the winning Collaboration Video Work. The animated artwork depicts a district in old Manila which has preserved its heritage architecture, juxtaposed with a futuristic cityscape in the background. “Our goal is to show that heritage buildings can co-exist harmoniously with futuristic buildings — that even far into the future, the historical district is still preserved and thriving with activity,” Mr. Felimus said of their work.
The judges for the first PAA were Kenny Schachter, a multi-disciplinary artist and columnist for Artnet.com; Talenia Phua-Gajardo, founder of the international art consultancy firm and online gallery TheArtling; Michelle Gray, founder of web-curated digital art platform Culture Vault; Trickie Lopa, co-founder of Art Fair Philippines; AJ Dimarucot, an art director, artist, and graphic designer for various international brands; and Eric Paras, designer and founder of Artelano-11.
The winners of each category received a cash prize of P50,000, gifts from sponsors, and opportunities to have their works included in exhibitions.