"History of Democracy" Painting by Alfredo Martirez of PUP Wins VAC 30 Grand Prize

Sep 8th, 2016 at 12:57pm by DPC-PLDT Visual Arts Competition

“History of Democracy”, an acrylic painting by Alfredo Martirez of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) was adjudged the grand prize winner of the 30th DPC-PLDT Visual Arts Competition (VAC 30). This was announced during the March 29 awarding ceremony at the Cultural Center of the Philippines main theater lobby.

Martirez’s interpretation of the VAC 30 theme, “Rekindling People Power”, shows a pair of hands, representing common folk, pounding an old typewriter. The red background conveys the tension of impending change, as ordinary people begin to stand up against dictatorship. On the typewriter carriage, a sheet of paper on which is written, “Martial Law”, begins to rip apart. From it emerge three doves and a hint of the inscription, “People Power”, symbolizing the peaceful restoration of democracy in the Philippines.

The image is a reminder that, even today, the route to meaningful change does not require violence or fancy technology. It begins with people who are willing to stand up against the abuse of power and to commit to empowering their marginalized countrymen to uplift their lives.

“History of Democracy” will be featured on the cover of the 2016-17 DPC Yellow Pages and PLDT White Pages in Metro Manila, which will come out in June 2016, and in all other DPC and PLDT telephone directories in Luzon.

Martirez, who made it to the ceremony just in time to hear his name being called out to receive his VAC 30 finalist’s certificate, received the grand prize trophy, designed by ceramic sculptor, Lanelle Abueva-Fernando, and a cash award of P100,000.

His school, the PUP College of Architecture and Fine Arts, received a VAC 30 certificate of commendation and a cash donation of P40,000 from DPC and PLDT for its fine arts program. A PUP student, Arnica Acantilado, also won the grand prize in VAC 22 in 2008.

In brief opening remarks, Ricardo Bautista, DPC president, thanked the participating schools and other stakeholders for enabling a smooth shift back to painting after a four-year VAC foray into digital photography. Curious to find out how young artists would translate the “people power” theme in terms familiar to them, he noted: “Elements symbolic of freedom, unity, peace, courage, nationalism, justice and prayer could be found in many of the paintings that were selected among the 30 finalists. Underlying all these was the Filipino people’s realization of the innate power in their hands after years of suppression under martial law.”

“In a broader sense, people empowerment is especially meaningful to both DPC and PLDT for it lies at the core of what we do,” Bautista added. “In the case of DPC, our Yellow Pages (YP) has always been about empowering people and sectors, specifically ready buyers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Over the past 58 years, the team behind YP has honed its expertise around serving the needs of these two core markets, both online and offline.”

"Human Barricade for Peace, Love, Freedom and Unity" by John Merick Eupalo of Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) won the second prize trophy and a cash award of P70,000. The painting depicts the surfacing of the Filipinos’ finest virtues in the face of immense challenges through people linked together in embroidery-like fashion. AUP received a VAC plaque of commendation and a P30,000 donation for its fine arts program. The painting will be featured on the cover of all 2016-17 DPC Yellow Pages and PLDT White Pages in the Visayas.

The third prize went to "Suppression for Sovereignty" by Artemio Bongawa, Jr. of University of Mindanao. The painting depicts a bird, representing a united Filipino people, breaking free from a barbed-wire cage, symbolizing the martial law dictatorship. The painting will appear on the cover of all DPC Yellow Pages and PLDT White Pages in Mindanao this year.

Bongawa, who was unable to travel to Manila for the awarding ceremony, will receive P60,000, in addition to the third prize trophy. The University of Mindanao will get a VAC 30 plaque of commendation and a P20,000 donation for its fine arts program.

The VAC 30 board of judges consisted of Chris Millado, vice president and artistic director of the CCP; Nestor Vinluan, former dean of the UP College of Fine Arts; Ruben “Totet” De Jesus, award-winning illustrator of children’s books; James “Bong” Banal, graphic artist, Philippine tape art pioneer and singer-songwriter; and Ma. Victoria “Boots” Herrera, director of the Ateneo Art Gallery and former director of the CCP visual arts and museum division.

Fourteen schools with fine arts colleges or departments took part in VAC 30. Each of them was entitled to submit a maximum of five paintings, done by enrolled fine arts students, 19-24 yers of age. The judges narrowed the submissions to the top 30 and, from there, proceeded to rank the most outstanding works, based on the following criteria: visual composition, 25%; originality; 25%; adherence to theme, 25%; overall impact, 15%; suitability as cover, 10%.

In addition to the major prizes, a “People’s Choice” award was given to "Ang Rebolusyong Gumising Sa Buong Sambayanan" by Sean Aldrin Sayat of Kalayaan College. The painting, which depicts a closed fist of defiance against dictatorship in the colors of the Philippine flag, garnered the most number of votes on www.visualarts.ph during the March 11-18 online voting period. Sayat received a trophy and P15,000 for the win.

The major prizes were awarded to the winners by the DPC president; Arturo Diago, DPC COO; Robert Sarte, service assurance analyst of PLDT, Jesus and Banal. Also in attendance was Emily Abrera, chairperson of the CCP board of trustees.

Aside from PUP, AUP, University of Mindanao and Kalayaan College, the other participating schools consisted of: Batangas State University (BatSU), Bulacan State University (BulSU), Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), Far Eastern University (FEU), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), St. Scholastica’s College (SSC), Tarlac State University, (TSU) Technological University of the Philippines (TUP), University of the East (UE), University of Northern Philippines (UNP), and the University of Santo Tomas (UST).

Four of these schools—AUP, BulSU, EARIST and TUP—dominated the last stretch of the competition with four finalists each. Each finalist received a VAC 30 certification and P5,000.

The VAC 30 major prize winners and finalists will be on display at the Pasilyo Vicente Manansala on the second floor of the CCP main theater from March 29 to April 10. The exhibit is open to the public.

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