The nation through the eyes of young artists

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JUSTIN ANGELO D.G. VITAL, 21, led the invocation at this year’s Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC) awarding ceremony at the Glorietta Mall in Makati on Nov. 11. At that moment, he did not know that he was among the 12 winners to be awarded for their art depicting country’s reality, its citizen’s actions, and aspirations for its future.

Through the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, the Shell NSAC is one of the longest-running art competitions in the Philippines with the aim “to continue its legacy of recognizing and driving artists to excel.” Among the winners through its 52 years were the then starting out Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, José Joya, and Ang Kuikok, all of whom were later made National Artists.

“Shell continues to invest in programs that promote social development, because we believe in the power of the Filipino youth. We believe that they can influence the country towards a better and brighter future,” Pilipinas Shell President and CEO Cesar Romero said in a press release.

For its 52nd installment, the competition gathered 1,011 entries. Three winners were chosen in four categories — Watercolor, Digital Fine Arts, Oil/Acrylic, and Sculpture — reflecting the theme “ImagineNation.”

Mr. Vital of the Bulacan State University won 1st place in the Sculpture category for his work The Safe and Sound of Patong-Patong which depicts a house in the slums surrounded by 13 faces and standing on human legs. The artist explained that through the sculpture, he wanted to show his journey of living in various homes as he was growing up.

Mr. Vital told members of the press shortly after the ceremony that he wanted to show the positive perspective about his life.

Kahit hindi ganoon kaganda yung bahay namin, babalik at babalik ka [din] sa bahay niyo. ‘Yun ang importance ng family (Even our house is not very nice, we will still return to it. That is the importance of the family),” Mr. Vital said, adding that he valued the sacrifices his parents made for their family and the advice they gave.

Rhichelle Kirk A. Tabanera of the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology won 1st place in the Oil/Acrylic category for her work Still Standing. it depicts a standing figure holding a flower in its right hand as it moves forward through a flood.

Watercolor category 1st place winner Nicolle T. Plamer of the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology describes her work titled Gising Sanip — a portrait of a young boy with windows as eyes.

Jemill B. Pangilinan of the Technological University of the Philippines won 1st place in the Digital Fine Arts category for his work Rich Mind, Rich Land, a black and white portrait of a farmer.

The 2nd and 3rd place winners are: Nemesis B. Manahan’s Let There Be Light and Trinkher Q. Nogueras’ Mag-aaral in the Oil/acrylic category; Jarren V. Dahan’s May Layang Lumipad and Paul John V. Galagar’s Pira-piraso in the Watercolor category; Wendi T. Patoc’s Pagsibol and Sherlyn A. Belga’s Key Roots in the Sculpture category; and Keith Andrew M. Sescon’s Transparency and Andrei Timothy D. Barrantes’ The Maker in the Digital Fine Arts category. The winners each received a cash prize, a plaque, and art supplies.

The exhibition of the top 100 entries runs until Nov. 23 at the Activity Center of Glorietta 4 in Makati City. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman