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Mindanao Art 2020: Harnessing a living art in a scale yet untried

THE  success of the 1st Mindanao Art Fair Exhibit and Conference (Mindanao Art 2019) last year, from its gala opening to fellowship night and visual spaces tours and the thousands of people who were able to view the exhibit at the Gaisano Mall for two days, obliges the art fair organizer Lawig-Diwa Inc. to conceive of something more grand for this year. But not even in the plans and imagination of the organizer did it imagine that it can be this big.

Thanks to the pandemic and the push to go online, the 2nd Mindanao Art opened on October 21, 2020, in a grand online gala at 3 p.m. hosted at an online site exclusive to invitees and participating artists. The online portal will then be opened to the public who will be able to view the artworks and read about the participating art groups, their inspirations and their organizations.

The online gala will be attended by the top executives of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Committee for Art Galleries (NCAG), which provides the grant to stage the art fair.

To deliver their speeches from the NCCA are former Davao City Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre who is now the executive director; Archt and Commissioner Michael F. Manalo, NCCA Sub-commission on Cultural Heritage, and; Danilo Rayos del Sol, who heads the NCAG.

Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Z. Duterte is once again giving his full support and will deliver a speech for the city. While, Lawig-Diwa president Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan will lead the virtual toast and give a hint into how Mindanao Art is transforming way beyond the imagination of any artist organization, so far.

As the speeches and toast is done, Datu Hudson Bayawan of the Obo Manobo tribe of Kidapawan will introduce Manobo cuisine he prepared for the ceremony. His inclusion in the program gives a glimpse into the living art that is in Mindanao, how visual artists are challenged to create not just what is in their heads but imbibe what is local.

Behind the scene is the participation of young IT scholars, schooled in their formative years in public schools and are now developing their acumen in the information and technology field, who are behind not just on the website but the conference and program hosting through a video-conferencing facility that is truly Davao. This snippet into how the 2nd Mindanao Art is organized underscores the fact that the Mindanao artist in order to reach his full potential has to connect with his roots and live the art he creates.

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