The VIVA Story

Having already established cultural exchanges as early as its CAP years, when it participated in shows in Sydney, Japan, and the Netherlands and possessed with organizational components left over from its CAP days, BAA was ideally placed as a lead agency for the launching of VIVA EXCON. Not surprisingly as early as the first VIVA EXCON in Mambucal Resort, it succeeded in drawing not only Visayan artists but Manila artists of the stature of Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, Pablo Baens Santos and Roy Veneracion as well as Baguio-based artists Bencab, Santiago Bose and the late Roberto Villanueva.

That VIVA came about in Bacolod at all is due as much to Norberto Roldan’s vision as it was to the cohesiveness of the members of the BAA. In 1989 while participating in an arts festival LA LUCHA CONTINUA in Sydney, Roldan had occassion to observe how strong artists organizations were in Autralia. Notng hiw artists’ initiative preceded government support, Roldan, upon his arrival in Negros, urged fellow artists to link beyond BAA and assert their presence to make up for the fact that provincial artists are traditionally looked down upon as second-rate and perennially lose out those in the National Capital Region even in matters of grants. Hence VIVA was envisioned to be a potent organization that would represent the artists in policy-making bodies, lobby for support and assistance from national or international agencies, coordinating the different artist groups in the region and provide assistance and or support to the promotion of Visayan arts” (VIVA 1996 Program).

Not surprisingly BAA drew its original members from Pamilya Pintura, a loose aggrupation of artists founded in 1980 by Nunelucio Alvarado and the late Felixberto Solmayor. They were Norberto Roldan, Charlie Co, Dennis Ascalon, Mario Stephen Regolio and Boysie Imperial. Together with some original members of the visual arts section of CAP that included Rafael Burdeos, Rodel Peña and Joelen Resuma, and later joined by Nunelucio Alvarado, BAA became a formidable force of politically conscious and socially committed visual artists in the Visayas.

The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), Negros Chapter was formally organized in December of 1983 at the height if the mounting protest against the Aquino assassination, the escalating human rights violations in the countryside and the government take-over of sugar trading in the ailing sugar industry. It was a progressive coalition of individuals and groups from different theater and music organizations, writers and visual art communities. It took an active role in the initial stages of the people’s cultural struggle by promoting nationalist consciousness in the arts during the Marcos years. The BAA artists’ cohesiveness came about because of their close association with each other during these years.