Art Watch: From farm to frame, Binhi exhibits artworks by farmers

Until June 24th, artworks by the Bagobo Klata tribe farmers will be exhibited alongside the works of Kublai Millan and the Lunang mentors and mentees in “Binhi, an art exhibit by farmers,” a fundraising exhibition at the Poblacion Market Central. 

Binhi art exhibit at Poblacion Market Central

Bagobo Klata tribe members open the exhibit with a dance

From tilling the land, farmers cultivated their skills for visual art. It’s a totally new experience for this group but they welcomed it with open hands. 

“Usa kining opportunity para sa among komunidad ug makatabang ni namo,” said Ruel Dalapan as he pointed at his artwork on display. 

Ruel Dalapan pointing to his piece

Regino Onoc & his piece

“Because our approach to transformational community development is holistic, cultural preservation through arts, music, dance, and language study is key to achieving our goal of building this vibrant, healthy, and sustainable community,” shared Tancho Baes, executive director of Hope for the Nations Philippines Foundation and president and CEO of and Hectares of Hope. 

Tancho Baes, Kublai Millan & Victoria Lim lead the opening ceremonies of Binhi art exhibit

The groups’ mission is to holistically transform the lives of marginalized rural communities, and they envision a sustainable and thriving community that has its own school, clinic, grocery store, church, community center, and livelihood programs where indigenous farming families are working together, raising strong families, and building a strong community. 

Artist Kublai Millan was approached for a fundraising project for the children in this IP community. With the paintings, the artist said yes, but rather than just donate some of his works, Kublai wanted it to be sustainable by teaching the farmers to create and develop their talents in visual art. 

“I asked the farmers if they farm from the moment they wake up to the day's end, they said no. They have spare time. We made them feel they can create art. Imagine you are a farmer and you can paint and do art. Then happy kaayo kay filled with colors ang ilang life. They are benefitting from the NGO. Gadawat sila, now they have the chance to give back,” said Millan. 

How will art creation be sustainable for the farmers? Baes said they need to look for partners and funding to be able to shoulder the materials for the farmers to keep creating art. He added that they will still need the expertise of Kublai and his team since this is a guided program. 

“We are excited to partner with Kublai Millan and his fellow mentors and mentees from the Lunang Mentoring Program in helping our indigenous community celebrate their culture and share their uniqueness, skills, and talent with the world,” said Baes. 

Hope for the Nations Philippines Foundation, Hectares of Hope, Kublai Millan & the Lunang Mentoring Program mentors & mentees

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.

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Donated artworks by Kublai Millan, Lunang mentors & mentees for the fundraising exhibit.