MANILA, Philippines - Now on its 17th year, Philippine Art Awards (PAA), the most prestigious national visual art competition, honored eight national winners last March 2, 2012 and formally opened the exhibition at the Museum of the Filipino People (National Museum) in Rizal Park Manila.
The eight national winners were chosen out of the 40 regional finalists selected in 2011. On top of the cash prizes, all eight winners each received a trophy designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva and got an all-expense paid trip to the Hong Kong Art Fair in May.
The oil and pastel on board painting entitled ''Ang Walang Humpay na Harana ni Temyong kay Magda'' of Jericho Valijusto Vamenta from Cagayan de Oro prevailed and won the Grand Prize of P350,000.
The four winners of the Juror's Choice Award for Excellence, each receiving P120,000, were: Ronald Hilario for ''Portrait of a Filipino as Conceptual Artist''; Manuel Lotsu Manes for his oil on canvas ''Philippine Deep''; Dexter Sy for his mixed media ''Souvenir''; and Raffy T. Napay for his thread on canvas ''Ang Mananahi ng Buhay at ang Makinang na Makina.''
The three Jury's Choice Award of Merit, each receiving P80,000 were: Louie Talents for his cauterized Bible book pages on wood ''Burn Out 4''; Arturo Sanchez for his mixed media ''Between Real Time Connectivity''; and Arel Zambarrano for his oil on canvas ''Homecoming''.
Bayen Elero, PMFTC Corporate Affairs Director thanked the partners of Philippine Art Awards without whose support, the PAA would have not been as successful for the past 17 years.
''Through the years, PAA has maintained its pre-eminent status, particularly due to the consistent support of our national as well as regional partners, and generally, by the growing participation of Filipino visual artists nationwide,'' she said.
The different communities had the chance to view and appreciate the winning entries when PAA conducted the awarding ceremonies and exhibitions at the University of Mindanao for the Mindanao region, at the Museo Iloilo for Visayas and at the National Museum for both Metro Manila and Luzon. Notable in the 17th PAA was an increase in submission of art forms other than painting, and the participation of more established artists in the regions.
After an aggressive road show which launched the competition, PAA was able to attract a total of 626 entries, a 27 percent increase from the 2009 regional record of participants.
''It is our commitment to make a difference in the lives of the people in the communities where we operate. As part of that, we are very pleased to say that the Philippine Art Awards has played a very important role in developing artists in the different regions,'' says PMFTC President Chris Nelson.
Nelson added ''As we strengthen our community projects all over the country, we truly take pleasure in collaborating with the sectors promoting Philippine culture and the arts. That is why through the past 17 years, we have strived to continuously improve Philippine Art Awards and expand its essential infrastructure of expertise and resources on which its consistent credibility and public recognition are founded.''
Cedie Vargas, a member of the panel of judges who announced the winners, said ''sitting alternately all throughout the selection process, the members of panel have come to the happy conclusion that the artists have greatly improved their craft, not only in terms of their artistic skills, but also of how they expressively see the world.''
The exhibition featuring all the eight national winners and the other 32 regional winners may be viewed at the North wing Gallery of the Museum of the Filipino People beginning March 3.