Emerging visual artists win 2023 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence competition

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Photo from Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Seven visual artists emerged as victors among over 400 artists who joined the 2023 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) organized by the Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI), paving the way for them to further boost their careers in the arts.

Taking off from the theme “Connect: Stronger Ties, Bolder Strides,” this year’s competition invited young artists nationwide to take the leap of faith and seize new opportunities that come along their way for them to unlock their full potential. This year’s theme also speaks of the transformative power of creative collaborations, and how art can create linkages and transcend boundaries.

“In our 39 years of sustained service to the art community, it is our privilege to care for artworks that reflect the soul of our nation. As we approach our 40th year, we look back at tradition while braving the times. In the journey ahead, we will continue to champion not only excellence, but also the sustainable development of our artists and the nation's artistic tapestry,” shared MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña.

Out of 402 entries received this year, seven up-and-coming Filipino painters and sculptors were named as this year’s awardees by the esteemed Board of Judges.

Two were adjudged as Grand Awardees for the Painting Recognition Program and will receive P350,000 worth of cash incentive. On top of this is P150,000 worth of scholarship at the Linangan Art Residency, as part of the Foundation’s support for their artistic development. Another three artists for the Painting Recognition Program bagged the Special Citation with P100,000 in cash prize each.

On the other hand, one Grand Awardee for the Sculpture Recognition Program will be awarded with P500,000 in cash incentive. Another artist will also be awarded with a Special Citation, receiving a P100,000 cash incentive.

All seven awardees will receive the “More” Trophy designed and created by 2007 Metrobank Foundation Prize for Achievement in Sculpture Juan Sajid. Called “More,” the design signifies the growth of hundreds of homegrown talents recognized and presented to the larger sphere of the art community.

Photo from Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI)

The awardees also join the MADE-Network of Winners, the alumni organization of past winners that implements pay-it-forward projects in aid of marginalized sectors.

This year’s Final Board of Judges was chaired by artist, educator, and consultant Sandra Palomar and co-chaired by Qube Gallery founder Maris Holopainen. Members of the Board include visual artist and sculptor Kublai Millan, painter Golda King, visual artist Raffy Napay, sculptor Richard Buxani and curator and educator Laya Boquiren-Gonzales.

“On behalf of my fellow panelists, I congratulate this year’s MADE awardees for their artistic rigor and ingenious allegories. Not only do their artworks reflect truthful conditions and enduring values of Filipinos—they urge careful consideration of the persistence of figuration in Philippine contemporary art,” said Palomar.

The awardees will be formally recognized during the Awarding Ceremony & Exhibit Opening on September 21 as part of Metrobank’s 61st anniversary celebration at The Metropolitan Museum of Manila in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig. Co-presented with Samsung Philippines, the exhibit will be open to the public from September 22 to October 6.

Thanks to venue partner Metropolitan Museum of Manila, MADE’s exhibit of winning works from the competition is now back onsite after holding it virtually for two years due to the pandemic.

Through Samsung's cutting-edge technology that was incorporated into the venue, this year's exhibition has been transformed into a space where audiences can innovatively experience art and immerse themselves in the world of artists.

In the same venue, a public exhibit tour and forum called Art MADE Public will also be held on September 30 focusing on the topic “Fostering Thriving Art Communities” to provide artists with a platform for storytelling to highlight the ways art served as a force for good. The forum will feature Emerging Islands, a coastal-based organization and art residency based in La Union, focusing on art, community, and ecology. Visual artist and core community member Jao San Pedro will be presenting her journey through and within the practice of collaborative artmaking and caregiving through Emerging Islands and her own art practice.

Founded in 1976, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila aims to amplify the Filipinos’ sense of cultural and artistic heritage from the past, present, and beyond, becoming the leading hub for contemporary art by Filipino and international artists engaging in the ever-renewing contemporary discourses and experiences that shape our understanding of society. Today, with a refreshed dynamism for the 21st century, the museum re-introduces itself as The M as it reopens its new art spaces in the heart of the emerging and vibrant cultural hub that is BGC. It renews its commitment to its core mission of Art for All, with a bold curatorial direction that takes an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to art exhibition programming in a location with greater accessibility to a wider and more inclusive audience.

The events are also made possible together with advocacy partner Project PEARLS. More than a non-profit organization, Project PEARLS is a powerful movement driven by a heartfelt promise: to offer underserved Filipino children education, literacy, empowerment, nutrition, and healthcare, aiming to break the chains of poverty and help them achieve their highest potential. Their vision stretches beyond traditional outreach, molding brighter futures from Tondo, Manila to Zamboanga Sibugay.

Established in 1984 by the late Metrobank Group founder and chairman Dr. George S.K. Ty, MADE has served as a platform for discovery for the most passionate and persistent creative visionaries in the country. To date, more than 500 visual artists and design professionals have been recognized. A majority of them are now carving significant names in the local and even international art and design scenes. Past awardees include Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Jan Leeroy New, Alfredo Esquillo, Andres Barrioquinto, Yeo Kaa, and Cedrick dela Paz.