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Shell’s 54th NSAC award ceremony celebrates the role of young artists

The recent culmination of the Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation’s 54th National Students Art Competition (NSAC) showed the influence that the next-generation of talents can exercise in securing a bright future for the country. More than 1,500 entries nationwide, in illustrating the contest’s theme ‘reSTART,’ were a collective call to action to inspire the youth to take a stronger role in rebuilding the nation. Awards were given to the three most outstanding pieces in each of the four categories: Digital Fine Arts, Sculpture, Watercolor, and Oil and Acrylic.

Lorelie Quiambao-Osial, Pilipinas Shell Country chairwoman, expressed to the young artists her confidence in how they can make a difference in a world that is slowly rebuilding itself after a major crisis: “The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives. Yet there was a strength of spirit inside you that shone through. We see it mostly in your art, and that is what we are recognizing today. As we bravely continue to navigate through this pandemic and look forward to recovery, we believe that art could start change and progress.”

As the event guest speaker, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Secretary of the Department of Tourism, agreed, “That art and artist have an important part to play in nation-building. Art allows us to engage with current situations, and the young generation is changing the way they think and speak to create a more inclusive society.” She also echoed BTS’s famous phrase about the issue on today’s youth before the UN General Assembly, “You are not the lost generation, but rather the welcoming generation.”

Resilience, hope, and courage were the recurring messages that shone from the top three prizes in the four categories.

Digital Fine Arts Category

1st Place: “Pintura” by Gerard Lynn Mara Santos from the Technological University of the Philippines. This winning piece in the digital fine arts category encourages the people that, despite the pain they are experiencing as a result of the present epidemic, they can still seek out good, rewarding experiences. Life’s many canvases are still blank slates that can be painted on by life lessons and insights.

2nd Place: “Pagtanggap Mo Sa Aking Pagkukulang” by Mary Franz Salazar from Technological University of the Philippines, Manila. Its message: the rebuilding of a nation does not take a single person, but rather a community of people who care about each other and their common vision.

3rd Place: “Tayo’y Makakahinga Muli” by Ralph Enzo Rabaya from Xavier University. The image depicts the artist’s childhood who grew up yearning for love because of insufficient parental direction.

Oil-Acrylic Category

1st Place: “Panibagong Umaga” by Jarren Dahan from the University of Mindanao. The winning piece in the Oil/Acrylic Category demonstrates that moving forward collectively and harmoniously can overcome challenges and lead to a brighter morning.

2nd Place: “Regrowth” by Ranier Angelo Bolivar of GK College of Business, Arts, and Technology. The artwork depicts how during the pandemic, individuals, like nature, can regenerate and adapt to any condition in order to become stronger and better. After the rain, there’s a new sprout of hope that we may hold and cultivate for our future.

3rd Place: “Puhon” by Gyles Maverick Abac from the Univeristy of the Philippines-Diliman. His artwork is an exhortation to move forward, rather than be stuck in a place, when a debilitating crisis hits.

Sculpture Category

1st Place: “If Only We’ll Unite and Conquer” by Maica Rozel Borlagdan from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. The winning piece in the sculpture category demonstrates that some of us have to endure a day by passing through a needle hole. Some of us have our safety nets, which allow us to be pampered all day without worrying about tomorrow.

2nd Place: “Laban Lang!” by Mark Eclipse from Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges Marbel Inc. The artwork recommends courage and moving forward to continue the fight for one’s advocacies and passions.

3rd Place: “Future on Our Fingerprint” by Zoe Manigan from Far Eastern University. The artwork illustrates that molding the future begins with exercising our responsibility in voting for the next leaders of our country, who will hopefully bring us to a brighter tomorrow.

Watercolor Category

1st Place: “Moving Forward” by Ranier Angelo Bolivar from GK College of Business, Arts, and Technology. The winning art piece in the water color category presents Frontliners as our modern heroes, dedicated to their passion to protect the nation.

2nd Place: “Sa Dibdib Mo’y Buhay” by Patricia Serrano from the Technological University of the Philippines-Manila. The artwork depicts the tenacity of the Filipino through the image of a young girl and her capacity to find her inner soul strength during the most challenging moments.

3rd Place: “Progresibong Papel ng Pagkatao” by Elaiza Judilla from the University of the East-Caloocan. These pieces of paper are like a human being’s different phases of life, showing his progress as he triumphs over adversity.

Pilipinas Shell enlisted the help of seasoned artists and distinguished leaders in the art community to serve as judges, namely: Ross Capili, Dopy Doplon, and Pablo Biglang-Awa Jr. for the Digital Fine Arts category; Edgar Fernandez, Antipas Delotavo, and Renato Habulan for the Watercolor category; Isko Andrade, Kenneth Esguerra, and Alfredo Esquillo, Jr. fo the Oil/Acrylic category; Paul Quiano, Toym Leon Imao, and Reggie Yuson for the Sculpture category.

As art continues to play a significant role in today’s society, Pilipinas Shell’s NSAC remains committed to its support of young artists, empowering them to occupy a greater role in nation-building. Elizabeth Gustilo, Director of the Ayala Museum, said, “Through their tools and talents, our artists can craft their vision of a better future, actively taking part in shaping the nation, post-pandemic. The 54th NSAC batch of student artists knew that the story, a message that needed to be told, was one of the fresh starts on pushing forward despite the challenges.”

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