The VIVA Story

Jeannie Javelosa who served as reactor noted that while in Manila there is a small group of art critics there is virtually none in the province. On the other hand, she noted that the role of art writing is more important than art criticism because there is a need to bridge the gap between artists and the ordinary man in the street. Consequently, she advised the artists to learn to communicate in a clear, simple and concise language, and to be actively involved in the promotion of their work. Hence she stressed the artists’ need to network with the media and to put themselves in the center of the community since they cannot afford to isolate themselves if they want to make a difference in the society in which they live. Consequently she provided artists with guidelines on how to prepare a press release.

In the same vein Valenzuela, who discussed “curatorship,” noted that curatorship appears to be non-existent in the provinces. Thus it is not unusual to find provincial art exhibitions featuring all kinds of media without cohesive theme or particular style, communicating no clear philosophy or definite message. Valenzuela advised artists to learn to be more focused. He bewailed the fact that some artists don’t want to be curated because instead of looking upon the curator as a bridge between them and the audience, they think he thwarts their creativity. Apropos of this, he advised artists not to condescend to their audiences and like Javelosa gave pointers on what materials to prepare to facilitate the viewing of their exhibits. Valenzuela however admitted each gallery has its own bias.

Aviado who talked on “Legal Rights and Ethics” discussed Presidential Decree No. 49 otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Law and stressed the need to re-study the law so It would successfully address the artists’ needs.

In discussing “Conveying Meanings through Installation Arts.” Cajipe-Endaya traced the development of her art-making from traditional painting to installation art. The latter came naturally because of her exposure to traditional art in her native Paete and her interest in festivals like the Pahiyas of Lucban. She noted that the trend in the use of indigenous art can be dangerous if the artists are simply attracted by its exotic or touristic quality since tradition is not just art but part of spirtitual and social realities. Hence the need for artists to respect the materials like rituals which they appropriate. She likewise revealed how, by simply expressing the realities of being a woman in our time, she eventually developed into what critics call a feminist artist without actively seeking the label.

Vinluan who tackled “The Education of the Artists” showed how the UP Fine Arts curriculum contributes to nation-building. Conscious of the Western influence in Philippine education, UP seeks to balance the curriculum by introducing Indonesian WayangI, Chinese brush painting and Japanese Origami and Ikebana in the curriculum. Students are also brought to places like Paete to facilitate contact with traditional arts homegrown ideas and indigenous materials.

Students are likewise steeped in the study of anthropology, customs and traditions to better understand our history. Furthermore, to produce thinking artists, who are open to exploration and experimentation Vinluan contends there is a de-emphasis on dexterity and students are made to understand there is no single way to art making. Hence, they are not forced to see things the way teachers view them. Rather opportunities are created for expressions outside the classroom through related disciplines like film, dance, and music while freedom is given to students to establish contact with professional artists and galleries.