The 55th Pilipinas Shell’s National Student Arts Competition (NSAC) and its face-to-face Art Interact events throughout 2022 provided venues where master artists built the next generation of talents in Metro Manila, Bacolod, and Cebu.
Evoking the year’s “Sulong Sining” theme, Pilipinas Shell Vice President for Corporate Relations, Serge Bernal, encouraged the participants to use the uniting power of art to charge forward by showing who you are, what you value, and what you envision through art.
During the culminating event at the Ayala Museum, he thanked the young artists for showing that creativity and art are alive, well, and growing in the country.
Shell NSAC alumni who won in various categories that span generations mentored the students about their skills, craftsmanship, and how to succeed as professional artists.
Shell NSAC alumnus Jan Leeroy New conducted workshops for the Bacolod and Cebu Virtual Art Interact events. He won 2nd place in the Sculpture category in Shell NSAC 2004 and 2006. He is a celebrated artist whose installations have won acclaim in New York, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, and other major global centers.
Three artists took the lead during the Metro Manila Virtual Art Interact. The first was Edgar Doctor, recognized among the “2000 Outstanding Artists and Designers of the 20th Century” by the London-based International Biographical Centre.
He was the Shell NSAC 1960 3rd-place winner in the Conservative Art category and Shell NSAC 1964 1st-place winner for On the Spot Painting.
Jonathan Joven, who won 2nd place in Shell NSAC 2012’s Watercolor category, has showcased his works in top galleries in the Philippines, Singapore, and Asia. Finally, Hyacinth Laoke, known for her work in Digital Fine Arts, won 3rd-place winner and 2nd-place winner in that category in Shell NSAC 2011 and 2012 respectively.
The longest of its kind in the country, Pilipinas Shell’s annual NSAC has served as a platform to celebrate the accomplishments of young visual artists and open to them various opportunities in the art world. It has built a legacy of developing the local art scene by creating an opportunity for young talents to showcase their creativity regionally and nationally.
The final Art Interact was held at the Kabilin Center in Cebu City on December 10, 2022. In the Cebu Aliens workshop, New showed creative ways to reuse and recycle plastics to create wearable art pieces.
This approach stemmed from New’s youth where, as a student at the Philippine High School for the Arts, he learned how to be resourceful. “I would go to recycling centers when I had no sources” for his art, he reminisced. “My first paintings were of fishermen and farmers.” Later on, though, he learned that “art can be in a public place” and not just inside the traditional art galleries.
He advised the more daring Cebuano artists who might follow this path that “the public may have their own interpretation of their work. All you can do is make the most of how you do it, and make sure you understand what you’re doing.”
Clodoveo Nacorda, Commissioner, Historical and Cultural Affairs Commission, thanked Pilipinas Shell for mounting the event and addressed the students, “Hone your art, perfect your style, innovate, innovate, innovate—and you will join the ranks of the Cebuano masters.
Haidee Emmie Palapar, Head of The Kabilin Center, looked forward to the future, “We hope that this affair will be productive and enlightening to our young artists. We cannot wait for this to be a consistent and regular activity at The Kabilin Center.”
The first face-to-face Art Interact kicked off at the Anima Art Space, Quezon City, on September 17, 2022. Highlighting it were the creative techniques that Shell NSAC alumni taught the young artists who later applied them in the workshops.
Doctor prepared the young audience to brave the difficult moments ahead. “Work,. There’s no shortcut for success,” he said. He was also the Shell NSAC 1964 1st-place winner in the On the Spot Painting category.
Joven also reminded them of the importance of keeping the bigger picture in mind. He said, “Kailangan naroon yung vision mo, at yung willingness na mag-aspire sa gusto mong goal.: (“You need to have your vision, and the willingness to aspire to the goal you want.”)
Laoke described the Anima Art Space, which she also co-owns, as a haven that supports the artists’ journeys: “Bilang estudyante na may critical na pag-iisip, hindi naghihinto ang tanong, pagsiyasat, at lumikha,” said Laoke. (“As students with critical thinking, we never stop questioning, investigating, and creating.”)
The second Art Interact, held at the Orange Project in Bacolod City on October 26, 2022, showcased creative ways to transform existing materials into unique pieces of art. The Bacolod Aliens Workshop also held by Leeroy New taught students how to create a wearable art installation by converting a variety of collected plastic bottle discards into biomorphic industrial alien growths that can be displayed and worn.
Experienced in diverse disciplines like film, theater, product design, and fashion, he explained his holistic approach as a way to connect with his audience on common ground because “people understand skills, technicalities, simpleness, craft—yung linguahe ng Pinoy [the language of the Filipino].”
The 55th Shell NSAC was co-sponsored by McDonald’s, Grab, Bakuna Hero Health and Medical Services, and Phirst Park Homes Inc. Partners such as Anima Art Space, Art Elaan Gallery, Ayala Museum, Blanco Family art Museum, Iloilo Museum for Contemporary Art, Modeka Creative Space, Museo Iloilo, Orange Project, Stuart Gallery, and The Kabilin Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. played a vital role in the success of the 55th NSAC.
To learn more about Shell NSAC, please visit www.shell.com.ph/juanartnation.