PAINTINGS depicting mental health and the lives of local farmers were recognized at this year’s Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) ceremony held on Sept. 19 at the LaPavillon in Pasay City.

MADE, formerly known as the Metrobank National Painting Competition, was founded by the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty in 1984 as a platform for expression on the economic and political climate of the Philippines at that time.

“George Ty envisioned art as a key element in democratic dialogue as an important investment for economic development,” president of Metrobank Foundation, Inc. Aniceto Sobrepeña said in his speech at the awarding ceremonies. “Art must not be separated from the pursuit of progress, but must go hand and hand with it.”

Held through the auspices of the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI), MADE’s 35th year had the theme “Unleash.” It aimed “to reflect MBFl’s continuing advocacy to seek out and exalt Filipino visionaries — young individuals who bring vibrancy to the evolving art scene whether they are working with a blank canvas or a space waiting to be transformed,” said a press release.

Jayme Emille C. Lucas received the grand award in the Oil/Acrylic on Canvas category with his work Evanescing Lives from Homeland. The painting shows a snapshot of farmers standing on land they till.

Ms. Lucas was inspired by Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac where she lives, and had asked some of her relatives who are farmers to act as models for her work. “Pag gagawa kasi ako ng painting, kailangan connected din siya sa buhay ko (When I make a painting, it has to be connected to my life),” Ms. Lucas, a Bachelor of Arts Major in Advertising from the Tarlac State Univerity, told BusinessWorld after the ceremony.

The painting consists of orange bursts of color which create a human form. Ms. Lucas, a 22-year-old freelance artist, explained that she used subtractive light technique to depict her concept of “vanishing lives from the homeland.”

“Both the simplicity of life and my personal experiences are teaching me to see and magnify more things in life from the bottom status and up as I grow as a student and as an artist,” Ms. Lucas said in a statement.

Existence of Blue by Christian Jame F. Maglente received the grand award for the Watermedia on Paper category. The work shows a central figure with his head bowed to his knees with surrounded by bursts of color against a blue wall.

Dume-depende ako lagi sa emotion ko at sa mga bagay din na na-inspire ako ng matindi. Gusto ko rin na paiba-iba ang style ko kasi doon ko nararamdaman na malaya ako.(I always depend on my emotions and the things that inspire me the most. I also like to explore various styles because that is where I feel free),” Mr. Maglente said in a statement.

The 23-year-old artist from Quezon City is a Fine Arts (major in painting) graduate from the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology.

Ms. Lucas and Mr Maglente received P500,000, and a Mula glass trophy designed by 2009 Metrobank Prize for Achievement in Sculpture (MPAS) awardee Noell El Farol.

Aside from the top awards, there were several special citations given.

Christian Cedrick M. Dela Paz’s 25/7, which shows an image of a seated man in a jeepney, and Dave Alcon’s Upuan, which presents social, political, and economic hierarchies conveyed in a metaphor through a chair, both received special citations in the Oil/Acrylic on Canvas category. Arman Jay S. Aragao’s Walang Hihigit Pang Sandata, showing a central figure who abandons his duty in the army and holds a Bible, received a special citation in the Watermedia on Paper category.

This year’s Painting Recognition Program board of judges were multi-media artist Norberto “Peewee” Roldan, cultural worker and multi-media artist Katrin M. de Guia, painter Antonio “Tony” C. Leaño, art curator Andrick Caesar “Ricky” P. Francisco, and gallery owner Alberto E. Avellana.

No awardee was selected for the Sculpture Recognition Program. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman