Mindanao on canvas: Southern Sensibilities art exhibit at SM City

Southern Sensibilities brought light to the local art scene and gave an audience to the impressive works of the local visual artists. Davao just got a glimpse of Mindanao’s rising stars from the Fine Arts Program of University of Mindanao side by side with the pieces of a National Artist for Visual Arts from Davao, Ang Kiukok, at the SM City Davao’s “My City, My SM, My Art,” a celebration of Philippine visual arts (painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and filmmaking). It’s a joint project of SM, Metropolitan Museum of Manila and Shell Companies of the Philippines, with support from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.


Ang bahay ni Ang Kiukok. A installation espcially made for the exhibited works of the National Artist


SM Davao mall manager Lynette Lopez, DOT XI RD Robbie Alabado, Finale Gallery’s Evita Sarena, SM VP for MarCom Millie Dizon, MET Museum of Manila’s Daniel Devela & UM’s Betsy & Willy Torres

Southern Sensibilites, an art exhibit at SM City Davao


The curator, Finale’s Evita Sarenas, a Davaoeña, saw fine work from these promising new artists.

Concept, not just skill is important in art. It’s got to have soul, she said. “The young artists are saying something with their art. It has social content, a story in their works. It’s not decorative.”


SM VP for MarCom Millie Dizon, Finale Gallery’s Evita Sarenas & MET Museum of Maila’s Daniel Devela


Decorative, no. Narrative, yes. It was exciting to see eight young promising artists interpret Mindanao that way they did on their canvasses.

Joffry “Omar” Casan says the aesthetics of printing catches his creative attention. He showed indigenous people in traditional garbs in his prints. On one, a line up presented a series of black figures and one in red, the position signifying respect.


Joffry Casan’s “Identity”


Alynahh Bacalo Macla, a semi-finalist at Metrobank Art and Design Excellence, uses salvaged wood planks as her canvas to add texture.

Always present in her artwork is the hijab to uphold her identity as a Muslim.


Alynna Macla’s “Picturing Relations- A Family Background”

Ken Medenilla interpreted the Kadayawan through two faces, one to depict the solemnity of the celebration and the other as festive.


Ken Medenilla’s Moira


Jester Oani has a deep affinity with Mindanaoan epics, especially that of Tuwaang, the epic hero of the Manuvu people. He says that expressing these subjects in art will hopefully be a positive influence on our cultural identity.


Detail of Jester Oani’s Kuaman’s Ressurection


Boylin Poral, Jr. pays homage to Datu Bago. His documentation on canvas of an epic hopes “can create positive change in the way the Filipino can perceive their own cultural heritage.”

Soon Unlang, a runner up in the Vision Petron: National Student Art Competition and a finalist in the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence, brought life to the story of The Children of Limokon (The Creation of Mandaya). It’s his contribution to the Mandaya community to let them know of their story.


Soon Unlang’s “The Children of Limokon (The Creation of Mandaya)”


Judelyn Mae Villarta presented a festival gathering of seven ethno-linguistic groups of her hometown, Bukidnon, on her canvas.

It depicted the cultural importance of the Kaamulan Festival wherein the indigenous people themselves perform during the event.


Judelyn’ Villarta’s “Bukidnon Gathering”


The future of Mindanao-inspired contemporary art is brighter with these new breed of artists rising from the university to the bigger art arena.


The eight young Mindanao artists from the UM Fine Arts Program


Davao and Mindanao may just have another Ang Kiukok in the making.


Admiring an art piece of a favorite artist, National Artist for Visual Arts, Ang Kiukok


“They just have to be consistent in what they’re doing,” said the curator, “And they should read, and read a lot. Get the exposure, visit museums when they can.”


Art lovers. Sylvia Garcia & Ed Bangayan with his daughter (left)

Emi Ingles, Kublai Millan & Debbie Go


Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit ofapplesandlemons.com and jeepneyjinggoy.com

Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.