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Ateneo Art Awards goes biennial

AFTER a one-year hiatus, the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) announced the winners for the 17th season of Ateneo Art Awards (AAA) on Sept. 15 via Facebook live.

With the cancellation of the AAA program in 2020 due to the pandemic, this year marks the start of the visual art prize adopting a biennial schedule.

Nice Buenaventura, Christina Lopez, and Jo Tanierla emerged as the winners for the 2021 Ateneo Art Awards – Fernando Zobel Prizes for Visual Art.

The three were selected from a shortlist of 12 artists by seven jurors after the final deliberations were held online in August.

Ms. Buenaventura won for her solo exhibition titled “Fools will copy but copies will not fool.” The exhibit was held at Artinformal Makati from June 1 to 29, 2019. In the show, Ms. Buenaventura attempted to mimic print failures using charcoal and oil in the same spirit as how a printer produces unfaithful copies.

The power of artificial intelligence and the weaponization of identities are timely concepts that gained Christina Lopez her very first Ateneo Art Awards recognition. Her show, “Portraits (Proxies)” was held from March 7 to 31, 2020 at The Drawing Room in Makati. The exhibit was cut short following the temporary closure of local galleries and museums because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) lockdown. In what was her first solo exhibition, Ms. Lopez reflected about her own paranoia over surveillance by rendering portraits of people who don’t exist using a dataset that consists of over 500 profile pictures of paid trolls in the Philippines.

Jo Tanierla emerged as a winner for his show, “Pagburo at Pag-alsa: Natural Depictions and Illustrated Prophecies (Gelacio, 1910).” It was his first solo exhibition. Held from Oct. 20 to Dec. 12, 2020 at the Jorge B. Vargas Museum & Filipiniana Research Center in UP Diliman, “Pagburo at Pag-alsa” is a historical fiction set in 1910 Luzon about the journey of Gelacio and Manta-tio from Malagonlong bridge in Tayabas to Pamitinan cave in Montalban. Through illustrated prophecies and journal entries, the project was Mr. Tanierla’s response to fascism and its imperialist origins.

Meanwhile, Eugeniu Rotaru, Charge d affaires of the Embassy of Italy in Manila, announced that Brisa Amir was the recipient of the 2021 Ateneo Art Awards – Embassy of Italy Purchase Prize. Ms. Amir was shortlisted for her exhibit, “Untitled Blankets,” held at Artinformal Makati from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16, 2019. In the show, Ms. Amir presented her poetic approach to makeshift shelters and homemaking, using paper and textile to explore the ever-changing landscape of her birthplace and community in Krus na Ligas, Quezon City.

For the 2021 Ateneo Art Awards – Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism (PKL), Carla T. Gamalinda and Portia Placino were declared winners from the six shortlisted writers in the English category, while Jaffy V. Fajardo was declared as winner among three shortlisted writers in the Filipino category. The final selection was made by the three PKL publication partners along with other jurors last July.

The recipient of the Purita-Kalaw Ledesma Prize – The Philippine Star is Ms. Gamalinda for her essay, Art and the inevitable crisis of the screens. Ms. Gamalinda will be contributing to The Philippine Star’s Arts & Culture section twice a month for a year. Meanwhile, Portia Placino took the Purita-Kalaw Ledesma Prize – ArtAsiaPacific for her essay, Forging on by the Mountainside. She will be writing six articles over a year for the bi-monthly publication.

This year’s competition also saw the collaboration with a new publication partner, the Katipunan Journal. The recipient of the Purita-Kalaw Ledesma Prize – Katipunan Journal was awarded to Jaffy V. Fajardo for his entry titled, “Nandiyan lang kultura at mga sining.” Mr. Fajardo will be contributing two articles to the bi-annual research publication. In addition, his winning essay will also be published in The Philippine Star.

A new incentive for the PKL Prizes was also introduced this year. The AAG and Kalaw-Ledesma Foundation Inc. (KLFI) partnered with Orange Project in Bacolod to grant a month-long writer’s residency to one of the winning writers. Ms. Placino was selected by Orange Project to be given the opportunity to immerse and interact with local art communities in the Visayas through talks, workshops, and conversational exchanges.

Due to current quarantine restrictions, the Ateneo Art Gallery has deferred the annual physical exhibition featuring the 12 shortlisted exhibits for the Fernando Zobel Prizes for Visual Art. In place of an onsite show, the AAG will release online a series of video features about the exhibits through its social media accounts and website. Meanwhile, the nine shortlisted essays are posted on the Vital Points: Essays from the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism microsite. To read the essays, visit pkl.ateneoartgallery.com.

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