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  1. #1

    OSG approves National Artist selection

    MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) has given the go-signal for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to proceed with the selection process for the next batch of National Artists amid the clamor to confer the National Artist Award, even posthumously, to Comedy King Dolphy.

    The OSG said the NCCA is now cleared to proceed with the selection process since what is covered by a Supreme Court temporary restraining order is the conferment of the award in 2009 to film director and comics illustrator Carlo J. Caparas and several others.

    Dolphy was nominated for the award in 2009 but failed to make it to the final list.

    He died on Tuesday due to multiple organ failure.
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  2. #2
    4 National Artist awards invalidated

    By Edu Punay

    (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 17, 2013 - 12:00am

    MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday declared invalid the conferment of National Artist awards on film director Carlo Caparas, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, fashion designer Jose “Pitoy” Moreno and architect Francisco Mañosa in 2009.

    SC spokesman Theodore Te said the justices unanimously ruled to nullify Proclamation Nos. 1826, 1827, 1828 and 1829, which declared the four as National Artists.

    Te said the order issued by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was voided because it disregarded the rules of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in giving “preferential treatment” to the four in the selection of awardees.

    “The manifest disregard of the rules, guidelines and processes of the NCCA and CCP was an arbitrary act that unduly favored Alvarez, Caparas, Moreno and Mañosa,” the SC said.

    It stressed there was violation of the constitutional “equal protection clause” because of this preferential treatment.


    The high court added that the conferment orders were issued with “grave abuse of discretion.”

    “There is grave abuse of discretion when an act is done contrary to the Constitution, the law or jurisprudence or executed whimsically, capriciously or arbitrarily out of malice, ill will or personal bias,” it explained.

    The high tribunal pointed out that the four were not among the nominees shortlisted by the NCCA and the CCP boards.

    The SC granted the petition filed in August 2009 by former recipients of the prestigious award, led by National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, and lifted the status quo ante order stopping the conferment of the 2009 awards.

    The high court, however, upheld the decision of the Arroyo administration dropping Ramon Santos from the list of awardees and dismissed the appeal of the petitioners for his reinstatement in the list.

    The SC said it was well within the Palace’s power and discretion to proclaim “all or some or even none of the recommendees of the CCP and NCCA boards” without having to justify his or her action.

    It pointed out that the recommendation of the NCCA and CCP was not “binding but only discretionary.”

    With this latest ruling, the conferment of the awards on the three remaining awardees – Lazaro Francisco (posthumous for literature), Manuel Conde (posthumous for film and broadcast), and Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (visual arts, painting, sculpture and mixed media) – may push through after it was halted by the SC order in 2009.

    SC decision lauded

    Meanwhile, the NCCA yesterday lauded the SC decision invalidating the proclamation of Caparas, Alvarez, Moreno and Mañosa as National Artists.

    NCCA legal division head Trixie Cruz-Angeles said they are pleased with the SC ruling because “it protects the integrity of the selection process.”

    “There was grave abuse of discretion because they did not go through the process, so they should not be hailed as National Artists,” Angeles said.

    “They could go through the process again. The nomination of Alvarez was questioned because she was then executive director of the NCCA so there was conflict of interest,” she added.

    In the case of Caparas, Angeles said his name was only added to the shortlist of nominees by the Malacañang committee.

    There were widespread perception that the inclusion of their names was “politically motivated.” – With Evelyn Macairan

  3. #3
    Artists and artistas

    by Jovito V. Cariño

    Posted on 02/09/2014 12:04 AM | Updated 02/09/2014 2:14 PM

    Last January 20, passengers of LRT 1 and LRT 2 were feted with flash performances from various groups and individuals tapped by the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) to usher in the festivities calendared for February, the month of arts.

    Reports described the reaction of the crowd as one of surprise, unaccustomed as they were to finding themselves treated with various artistic shows while queuing for tickets or wiggling their way to the train coaches. The efforts of NCCA, as well as various cultural agencies and art groups, deserve to be lauded for their sustained campaign for public arts education. Much remains to be done no doubt but given the sad reality of the place of arts in the national budget and government priorities, not to mention the less than meager resources of arts communities themselves, one can only sigh with amazement when such a feat is successfully pulled off.

    But taking the element of surprise aside, it makes us wonder whether the performances merited anything more than curious glances from the commuters. It’s hard to imagine they would really pause to take in the dances, songs, on-the-spot painting or performance poetry staged for them. If they simply move along while the show was going on, such reaction would not have been unusual by Philippine standards. Not that the public won’t pay attention but the kind of attention to come from them would probably be a lot keener had it been a movie shooting of Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz that welcomed them at the train station.

    "Arte" and "art"

    The ambivalence of Filipinos concerning arts is probably best reflected by the popular confusion that surrounds the words "arte" and "art." Through some historical and cultural mix-up, the word "arte," a derivative of the Spanish word for "art," has come to mean for most Filipinos as a gesture or behavior that borders on the artificial and frivolous. A person is described as maarte, not because he is artistic, but because of certain actuations that are perceived as contrived. He fails to evoke sympathy or good will due to expressions which are seen as incapable of being taken seriously.

    A corollary of this ambivalence would be the confusion between the words artista and artist, its English counterpart. Artista, in Filipino, refers to showbiz personalities, that is, entertainment celebrities whose looks and talent capture wide public liking. In former times, looks and talent were necessary dual requirements to qualify as artista. These days however, it seems the qualifications have been relaxed so that one can become an artista on mere face value or some bodily enhancements.

    These misplaced aesthetic criteria (or more pointedly, the lack of them) explain why despite their being excellent artists, outstanding members of the film industry like directors Marilou Diaz Abaya, Mike de Leon, Ishmael Bernal and Lino Brocka are never considered artista by popular standards.

    The same is true for writers like Pete Lacaba, Ricky Lee, Butch Dalisay or musicians like Willy Cruz, Rey Valera and George Canseco. They demonstrate artistry through their craft, but they may never reach the same stellar acclaim enjoyed by a Daniel Padilla or a Sir Chief, except probably within the limited circles of people in the know.

    The confusion between "art" and "arte" and the overshadowing of artists by artista in our consciousness are actually a result of our miseducation on the arts that have long alienated us from our own culture and creative traditions. Our tastes have been so desensitized that we become easy captives of films like My Little Bossings, which demand nothing from us in terms of engagement and sensibility.

    Quick entertainment

    We think of movies the way we think of TV and songs on radio. They are our constant sources of quick entertainment to distract us from the discontents of modern living. In some less complicated past, there was no divide between life and art for, in its bare simplicity, life itself was one aesthetic experience.

    That was when rice plains were home to the songs of the wind and birds took pleasure in tree tops and tall grasses in their dances. There was ritual in the rising and setting of the sun and folks could recite in their verses their version of the poetry of the moon and stars. It might even be thought that Fabian de la Rosa and Fernando Amorsolo did not really create art; they merely captured art in the scenes they painted, half certain we would lose sight of them had they not immortalized them in their canvas the way we no longer see them now in the age of reclamation areas, gated communities and gigantic malls.

    It doesn’t help that in our schools, art is relegated to the mere ornamental, something to add color to the celebrations of Linggo ng Wika, UN Day, Teachers’ Day, Foundation Day, field demonstrations and Christmas parties. The result is a generation after generation of students who harbor the unfortunate idea that art is an excess baggage; that time spent on NVM Gonzales or Franz Arcellana or F. Sionil Jose is time wasted; that learning the Filipino of Rolando Tinio, Rio Alma and Alejandro Abadilla is a lost cause; that Sinulog and Dinagyang are but mammoth street parties.

    There seems to be an unconscious, unspoken effort to subordinate art to hard sciences and professional courses so students can acquire unhampered, so they say, the necessary skills to qualify them for jobs abroad. The recent Kto12 educational reform of the government seems to affirm this. The reform is introduced because our students, it says, need to be ready and equipped for the global world. Through this program, education, officially, has been reduced to training and skills acquisition.

    Empty wallets or barren soul?

    Arts and humanities have taken the back seat for the sake of human resource importation. One wonders which type of poverty is worse: empty wallets or barren soul? When they earn their degrees, our graduates would fly out of the country hoping they can make it better elsewhere. It is a sad irony that we sacrifice education on arts and humanities so we can send our young professionals abroad to places where citizens have nothing but supreme appreciation for things cultural and artistic.

    Meanwhile, in our homeland, casinos, hotels and shopping complexes continue to rise. We have no more public museums to house our shared memories or public galleries to shelter the expressions of our national spirit. Parks and public squares where people used to congregate to enjoy the morning sun or sing and dance under the moonlight have given way to commercial spaces. Festivals no longer mark our life cycles and have become mere marketing events for tourism. When art is disjointed from life itself, we turn to movies not for stories they would remind us of, but for the things we hope they would keep forgotten.

    The function of art is to enhance our imagination, to strengthen our capacity to hope and to animate our desire for the different and the possible. If only for that we need more artists in the government to infuse optimism and dynamism in the way we look at ourselves and in the manner we do things for and among each other. I say artists, and not some artista who cannot even render justice to the word entertainment.

    Arts help us remember, beside the beautiful and the sublime, who we are and who we can be. Rose Fostanes sang her way to the finale of the recent X Factor Israel knowing there was more to her than her ordinary caregiving chores. She blends her voice with those of Brillante Mendoza, Kenneth Cobunpue, Miguel Syjuco, Marivi Soliven, Rodel Tapaya and a host many other artists who give us reason to see our being Filipino in a different light. February, the month of arts, invites us to take our cue from them.

    Jovito V. Cariño is a member of the Department of Philosophy, University of Santo Tomas.
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  4. #4
    Why star power and foreign policy don't always mix

    by Jo Biddle, Agence France-Presse

    Posted on 02/09/2014 2:03 PM | Updated 02/09/2014 2:38 PM

    WASHINGTON, USA – Feted actress Scarlett Johansson is denounced as the "poster girl of Israeli apartheid," Dennis Rodman enters rehab after leaving North Korea, Kim Kardashian is the butt of jokes for tweeting her love of Bahrain.

    When celebrities wander into complex foreign policy issues, it can be a minefield, leaving diplomats and human rights campaigners scrambling for damage control.

    To be fair, many stars such as Bob Geldof, Bono, George Clooney or Angelina Jolie have used their fame – and often their personal fortune – to successfully highlight atrocities or abuses flying under the radar.

    "Those guys have really got in root and branch and understand the issues in a way that is equal too or better than many human rights or humanitarian professionals," said Brian Dooley, a director at the advocacy organization Human Rights First.

    "They can hold an astute conversation and lobby very effectively and more effectively than NGOs can in certain contexts."

    But the problem comes when some stars, perhaps naively, accept big-paying engagements that can be used to shine a more favorable light on controversial companies or oppressive regimes.

    With star power comes a great deal of responsibility and we hold our idols to a higher standard than most other people, said Dooley.

    "I do feel a bit sorry for them. If you're a celebrity and you want to use the power of your brand for a good cause, it's a minefield," he told Agence France-Presse.

    "So those that do it and do it properly really ought to be applauded rather than sneered at."

    But it's all too easy for things to go wrong.

    Hence the kerfuffle around Johansson, who quit Oxfam last month after a dispute over her Super Bowl ad campaign for a firm operating in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank.

    Former basketball star Rodman has also been in hot water for his links to repressive North Korean leader Kim Jung-un, who he calls "my friend."

    To the chagrin of the State Department, actively working to try to secure the release of a devout Korean American Christian jailed in the reclusive country, Rodman made comments suggesting Kenneth Bae's guilt, which he later retracted.

    In 2012, TV reality star Kardashian was heavily criticized for tweeting about her visit to Bahrain.

    "Everyone from the States has to come and visit," she urged, apparently oblivious to a brutal opposition crackdown by the ruling monarchy.

    Syracuse University pop culture professor Robert Thompson said: "I can understand how for the people in the State Department, this stuff drives them crazy.

    "They've got policy, they got to control a whole bunch of different things in a very complex world," he added.

    Accepting gigs in faraway places with exotic names should already sound a warning bell for celebrities to do their homework.

    Last year, pop diva Jennifer Lopez was left red-faced after singing happy birthday to Turkmenistan's hardline leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov at a concert in the isolated nation.

    She would have abstained if she had known of "human right issues of any kind," a spokeswoman said at the time.

    "The Kardashians and Paris Hilton make a very, very handsome fortune pretending to be dumb. I have never for a minute believed that they are," said Thompson.

    To go to such countries "is a complex enough logistical event, that I find it hard to believe that somewhere along the line, someone didn't hear that there may be some problems," he added.

    Kardashian had in fact turned down an offer from Human Rights First and other organizations to brief her on the situation in Bahrain, possibly because some stars "immediately worry about brand reputation or the specter of a boycott," said Dooley.

    But he insisted the conversation these days is "more nuanced" and advised that stars be guided by local activists on the ground – much as in the days when rock music became a tool to crack open the Iron Curtain. – Rappler.com
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  5. #5
    State honors set for country’s first-ever Muslim national artist

    Niña P. Calleja

    @inquirerdotnet

    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    5:00 AM | Friday, December 19th, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines–The country’s first Muslim national artist, Dr. Abdulmari Asia Imao, will be accorded full state honors on his funeral as part of the government’s tribute for his contributions to art and culture.

    The sculptor, painter, photographer, ceramist, documentary filmmaker, cultural researcher, writer, and articulator of Philippine Muslim art and culture, passed away on Dec. 16, of a suspected heart attack. He was 78.

    National artist and sculptor Abdulmari Asia Imao. FACEBOOK PHOTO/Toym Leon Imao/Galerie Joaquin
    National artist and sculptor Abdulmari Asia Imao. FACEBOOK PHOTO/Toym Leon Imao/Galerie Joaquin
    In a statement, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) said on Thursday that the government had set a necrological tribute for the national artist on Dec. 21, 8 a.m. at Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (main theater), of the CCP.

    “State funeral and honors [will] follow at Libingan ng mga Bayani,” the NCCA statement added.

    Imao’s family welcomed the state arrangements offered to all national artists.

    Last respects

    In a statement, the family said it was Imao’s wish to accept a state funeral upon his demise, and to hold a wake to allow family members and friends to pay their last respects and goodbyes.

    “We welcome and are grateful for the tribute being planned for Dr. Imao by the NCCA and the CCP,” the family said.

    “We will be coordinating with the said agencies for the Muslim burial rituals that [will] be officiated alongside the military honors and burial ceremonies at Libingan ng mga Bayani,” the family’s statement added.

    According to Muslim tradition, a deceased’s body should be buried as soon as possible from the time of death.

    Imao, whom his family described as “a beloved brother, father, grandfather and a creative soul of the Bangsamoro,” lies in state at the main chapel of Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, until Dec. 20. Those who wish to pay their last respects are welcome from 3 p.m. to 12 midnight, the family said.

    Fondly called “Mari” by his friends and colleagues, Imao led a full and colorful life as an artist.

    ‘Sarimanok’

    He adopted the mythical “sarimanok” of Maranao legends in his paintings and sculptures as a visual metaphor for the depth and richness of his native Mindanao, particularly the Sulu archipelago where he was born.

    After getting his degree from the College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines, where he was mentored by Guillermo Tolentino and Napoleon Abueva, who would later become national artists themselves, Imao received a Schmidt and Fulbright Scholarship for graduate studies at Kansas University in the United States.

    He also received two yearlong fellowships at the Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia University in New York, and became the first Asian recipient of a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) fellowship grant to study in

    Europe.

    Upon his return to the Philippines, Imao taught Fine Arts at the University of the East.

    He also set out on several photojournalistic and scholarly research work about the peoples of Mindanao. He studied and promoted indigenous brass casting techniques as well, and crafted several public art and historical installations around the country.

    Awards

    Imao’s contribution to Philippine art and culture was duly recognized with several awards, starting with his being named among the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines in 1968, and given the Gawad Patnubay ng Sining by the City of Manila in 1985. He was also awarded the Gawad CCP para sa Sining in 1990 and the Presidential Medal of Merit in 2005.

    In 2006, Imao was declared a national artist for visual arts.

    Imao’s works and motifs are deeply rooted in his Muslim upbringing, but he also embraced a healthy relationship and respectful dialogue with other faiths. His wife, the late Grace Bondoc de Leon, was a devout Catholic. Their strong interfaith relationship is reflected in his paintings and sculptures, and in the attitude of his children toward art and society.

    Scholar, freethinker

    “Dr. Imao is a true academic, scholar, a freethinker. He is a Muslim artist, but is also a Filipino creative [spirit] whose style and expression cut across cultural and religious limits,” the family said.

    “His faith is reflected in the exuberance of the patterns and colors of his artworks that celebrate life without borders,” his family added.

  6. #6
    In the Know: National Artist Award

    Philippine Daily Inquirer 4:58 AM |

    Friday, December 19th, 2014

    The National Artist Award is the highest national recognition given to Filipinos who have made significant contributions to the development of Philippine arts and letters. It was created through Presidential Proclamation No. 1001 on April 27, 1972.

    Jointly administered by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the award is conferred by the Philippine President upon recommendation by both institutions.

    The rank and title of National Artist is conferred by means of a presidential proclamation. It recognizes excellence in the fields of music, dance, theater, visual arts, literature, film and broadcast arts and architecture, or allied arts.

    To date, there are 66 national artists, 24 of whom received the recognition posthumously, including renowned painter Fernando Amorsolo, who was the first to receive the award in 1972.

    Criteria

    The criteria for selecting a national artist include Filipino citizenship, the contribution of their works to nation-building, impact of their distinctive and pioneering works or styles on succeeding generations of artists, excellence in the practice of their art form which enriches artistic expression or style, and prestigious national and international recognitions.

    The National Artist Award secretariat (the NCCA and CCP) announces the opening of nominations through media releases and letters to qualified organizations, such as government and nongovernment cultural organizations, educational institutions, and private foundations and councils.

    The National Artist Award Panel of Experts and Jury of Experts, with the living national artists as automatic members, screen and deliberate on the nominees, after which a final list of recommendees is sent to the President for the issuance of proclamation.

    Benefits

    Aside from a gold-plated medallion minted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, national artists are given a lifetime emolument as well as material and physical benefits comparable in value to those received by the highest officials of the land, such as: a minimum cash award of P200,000 net of taxes for living awardees, and a minimum cash award of P150,000 net of taxes for posthumous awardees, which are payable to their legal heir/s; a minimum lifetime monthly stipend of P30,000; a life insurance coverage for awardees who are still insurable; state funeral benefits not exceeding P500,000; and a place of honor in state functions, national commemoration ceremonies and cultural presentations.–Inquirer Research

    Sources: Official Gazette; ncca.gov.ph


 
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