Metrobank Foundation fetes 2023 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence Awardees: Art exhibit opens at The Metropolitan Museum in Taguig City

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Photo from Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - The Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) feted this year's awardees of its visual arts program, Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE), in a special evening that brought together influential figures in the art scene, foreign dignitaries, and business and society mavens on Sept. 21 at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

The main event provided 2023 MADE awardees a meaningful debut into the art scene. They are poised to become the next contemporary masters, as MADE provides a venue for them to jumpstart their journey towards a fulfilling career as creatives.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chairperson Victorino "Ino" Manalo and Singapore Ambassador to the Philippines Constance Cee were the guests of honor. They were joined by Metrobank president Fabian S. Dee, MBFI vice chairman and trustee Alfred Ty, president Aniceto Sobrepeña, trustee and senior vice president Anjanette Dy Buncio, and vice president Alesandra Ty.

With the theme "Connect: Stronger Ties, Bolder Strides," this year's competition invited young artists nationwide to embark on daring journeys towards a boundless creative future together. It also speaks about the transformative power of creative collaborations, and how art can create linkages and transcend boundaries.

"MADE's promise, deeply rooted in empowering young artists and supporting the development of Philippine visual arts, remains the driving force behind our mission," expressed MBFI president Aniceto M. Sobrepeña in his message. "MADE stands firm not just in jumpstarting artistic careers, but also in nurturing artists to realize their boundless potential," he continued.

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 each of them received ₱350,000 worth of cash incentive. On top of this is a ₱150,000 worth of scholarship at the Linangan Art Residency, as part of MBFI's support for their artistic development. Another three artists for the Painting Recognition Program bagged the Special Citation with ₱100,000 in cash prize each.

On the other hand, one Grand Awardee for the Sculpture Recognition Program was awarded with ₱500,000 in cash incentive. Another artist was also awarded with a Special Citation, who received a ₱100,000 cash incentive. All of them received the "More" Trophy designed and created by 2007 Metrobank Foundation Prize for Achievement in Sculpture (MPAS) awardee Juan Sajid Imao. 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.

The 2023 MADE 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 heritage specialist and educator Dr. Laya Boquiren-Gonzales.

Immersive, interactive, and intuitive: The 2023 MADE Experience

Guided by the belief that art is built on meaningful relationships, the 2023 MADE Awarding and Exhibition aimed to create an experience that bridges the gap between artists and their audience as well as between traditional and modern art. It attempted to push the envelope of storytelling, enabling the audience to be part of the narrative. Through the connections built, MADE stands by its commitment to make art accessible across various segments of society.

The MADE Awarding and Exhibition was held for the first time at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, as its venue partner. This is also a resumption of organizing a physical awarding event after holding it virtually in the last two years due to the pandemic. The awarding ceremony was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila's foyer, an ideal canvas surrounded by white light panels.

The galleries were recreated into an immersive environment, allowing audiences to be at the center of the experience. The walls of the foyer were transformed as canvases for stories, converting white walls into a dynamic universe.

Founded in 1976, 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 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.

This year, MADE welcomed Samsung as its co-presenter. 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 enter into the world of artists.

The screens feature MADE's program history and works from former MADE Awardees, the permanent collection, as well as information about the exhibition.

With Samsung's support for the program, the MADE experience was heightened and rendered immersive for all guests and visitors.

Kaugnayan: Enduring Connection in Contemporary Philippine Art

Works of the semifinalists, finalists, MADE awardees, and select pieces from the MADE Permanent Art Collection are exhibited at the 2nd floor galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, open for the viewing public from Sept. 22 to Oct. 6 (Tuesdays to Saturdays, window hours: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.).

Titled "Kaugnayan: Enduring Connection in Contemporary Philippine Art," it reflects MADE's almost four decades of recognizing artistic excellence and cultivating the future of Philippine art. The space was divided into two sections with a curatorial design that juxtaposes the old and the new with the goal of opening alternative paths that affirm a sense of open-endedness and a desire for self-determination.

Photo from Metrobank Foundation Inc. (MBFI)

A section of the exhibit features works by the alumni organization of MADE awardees -- MADE Network of Winners called "In Between Paths (Sa Pagitan ng mga Landas)." The exhibit highlights the career of former awardees featuring their most recent works alongside their early works as emerging artists.

It features 18 artists, among which include: Ferdinand Doctolero, Salvador Ching, Siefred Guilaran, Sam Penaso, Noel Elmido Farol, Ronald Jeresano, Jonathan Dangue, and Melvin Culaba.

The exhibit was curated by Sandra Palomar, who also served as the chairperson of the 2023 MADE Board of Judges. Palomar is a Dumaguete-based artist, educator, and consultant.

Art MADE Public: Fostering Thriving Art Communities

In the same venue, the Art MADE Public and Guided Exhibit Tour was held on September 30. The event began with a guided tour of the exhibition followed by a forum with the topic "Fostering Thriving Art Communities." Art MADE Public is an event that aims to provide artists with a platform for storytelling to highlight the ways art served as a force for good. The forum featured Emerging Islands, an art-for-ecology residency and collective growing an alternative infrastructure for Filipino artists to tell community-based island stories. Visual artist and core community member Jao San Pedro presented her journey through and within the practice of collaborative artmaking and caregiving through Emerging Islands and her own art practice. She is a visual artist exploring the generative potentials of loss and error. Her process-based practice filters data and material through transcategorial frameworks, rendering trace and surface, sound and gesture, doubles and simulacra.

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.

Supporting the events as well are premier media partner Art+ Magazine joined by, Esquire Philippines, The Philippine STAR, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, and CNN Philippines.

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.