National Arts Month: Even cemeteries are being used as places to keep the arts alive during the pandemic

MANILA, Philippines — The annual celebration of National Arts Month in February is mandated under Presidential Proclamation No. 683, issued in 1991.

In 1992, Republic Act 7356 appointed six agencies to carry out national arts and culture guidelines. These are the offices of the National Museum of the Philippines, the National Library of the Philippines, the National Historical Institute, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Archives of the Philippines, and the Philippine Language Commission.

“Life goes on in the new normal with the new challenges as well. The messages from the seven artistic disciplines – film, music, dance, drama, architecture and allied arts, literary and visual arts – have remained unwavering. We are moving forward towards a brighter direction. Padayon!” National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Executive Director Oscar Casaysay said during a recent virtual press briefing.

This year’s theme revolves around the concept of “Sining ng Pag-asa”.

“This year marks the 31st year since the 1991 mandate. February is celebrated each year as the month of nationalism and pride in being Filipino. It highlights the importance of the arts in our lives as we safeguard, promote and preserve Filipino art throughout the year.” enthused Deputy Executive Director Marichu Tellano.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is the current NCCA Artistic Ambassador, while all-male singing group SB19 is this year’s Youth and Sentro Rizal Ambassador. Sentro Rizal now has a center in New York, the art capital of the world.

“Art as a source of hope, coupled with its healing power, is an ongoing means of creation against the pandemic; as we pursue our mission with the entire nation. This is the largest flagship program for bring out a deep sense of respect for our culture and traditions,” said NCCA President Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso.

Art is key to overcoming the pandemic. “The 14th Cinema Rehiyon collected 300 submissions for consideration. Of these, 50 films, as well as four feature films will be presented as “Films with Social Commentary”. From February 25 to March 1, 160 films will be presented at the festival Asian short film on the Vimeo portal to awaken our cultural awareness,” said Dr. Rolando Tolentino, President of the National Film Commission.

This year, creativity is harnessed as a catalyst for recovery. “Our webinar series, which began in 2021, focuses on spaces in the new normal and has been rolled out in cooperation with various design councils. There is a need for creative solutions to existing problems,” said the architect landscape architect Zenaida Dela Cruz Galingan, President. of the National Commission for Architecture and Related Arts.

The various forms of dance – classical ballet, folk, hip-hop and jazz – recognize new perspectives to navigate through these difficult times. Today, performances take place on mountain tops, in caves, seas, heritage sites, rivers and even in cemeteries.

“During the height of the pandemic, many dance schools were closed and festivals were canceled. So we had to find innovative ways to present dance on the virtual space. ‘Sayaw Pinoy’ provides an online space to more than 250 dance companies across the country. . Every Saturday from February 5 to March 5, there will be no limit to terpsichorean creativity”, intoned Dr. Shirley Halili Cruz, President of the National Commission dance.

The community theater is now in its 16th year. “The Tanghal 16 Festival combines theatrical techniques with technological advancements. You see, collaboration is the essence of theatrical work. With #Tanghal16, audiences can listen to the voices of the masses. There will be 71 participating bands from Luzon, Visayas , Mindanao, and the NCR with specific themes per week. And on February 26, an original work will be performed by all participants as a culminating activity,” said Dr. Felimo Blanco, Chairman of the National Dramatic Arts Commission.

Literally, pandemic experiences will be the subject of written rhetoric. “There will be an online conference on March 25 and 26. Our upcoming book anthologies will look at “Himaya: Panitikan ng Pagbabanyuhay” and “Hulagway (Image/Countenance). Himaya is translated as ‘rapture’ while banyuhay as ‘metamosphosis,’” revealed Dr. Julieta Mallari, chairwoman of the National Literary Arts Commission.

Music can unify our national consciousness. “There are eight musical cultures in this country, yet only pop music is accessible to the public. Our music festival will present a collection of contemporary music gems in different genres. National unity is as musical as anyone. what a political task,” said Dr. Felipe de Leon Jr., chairman of the National Music Commission.

All visual presentations for the various visual arts disciplines will be posted on the NCCA Facebook page which will be live from March 8-12.

“Bagong Biswal is a celebration of 30-40 artists and groups in various exhibitions. This visual arts ecosystem will unfold its collective presentation on February 28,” revealed Ms. Geraldine Araneta, Chairperson of the National Visual Arts Commission.

The opening salvo, which took place on February 4, showed an overview of the activities of the various committees.

“It showed the essential nature of art in responding to social change and making art work for climate justice/action, as well as highlighting culture as a human right,” said declared Edward Perez during the virtual confab.

The press conference ended with a montage of “The Grand Reveal” from the Metropolitan Theatre, featuring Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as Prima Ballerina, Opera Enchantress, Classic Thespian, Screen Siren and Carnival Queen in and around of the many areas of the newly renovated theatre. .

About Monty S. Maynard

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