For one whole month, in February of every year, the country celebrates the National Arts Month (NAM).
Started in 1991, under the administration of the late President Corazon C. Aquino, through Presidential Proclamation no. 66, NAM is spearheaded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
This year marks the 29th year of NAM. It is also the first year under the leadership of new NCCA chairperson and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso.
A grandnephew of nationalist poet and lyricist Jose Corazon de Jesus, Lizaso is a child of film and theater, having spent about 60 years in film, theater, and television as director, actor, and producer.
Lizaso directed a slew of movies like the Alma Moreno-starrer, Edgardo M. Reyes-penned Markadong Anghel (1976), Flor de Liza (1981), starring Janice de Belen and the late Julie Vega (1981); the Rudy Fernandez-Charito Solis action film, Ulo ng Gapo (1985), Anak ng Dilim, starring Gladys Reyes and Amy Austria (1997), to name a few.
Lizaso began his film career by providing acting support for films starring major league actresses and actors like Nora Aunor and Cocoy Laurel (Impossible Dream, 1977); Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon (Broken Marriage, 1983); Rudy Fernandez (Operation: Get Victor Corpuz, the Rebel Soldier, 1987); the late Fernando Poe, Jr. (Magnum .357, 1996).
In theater, he acted in a host of plays mounted by the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) and Repertory Philippines.
As stated in its mandate, the NCCA’s National Arts Month celebrates the country’s best artists and artistic movements in the fields of Architecture and Allied Arts, Cinema, Dance, Dramatic Arts, Literary Arts, Music, and the Visual Arts.
For the 2020 NAM, the NCCA named Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as Ambassador for the Arts. She succeeded 2015 Ms. Universe Pia Wurtzbach, the first international beauty queen to become Ambassador for the Arts.
The NCCA also named singers Julie Anne San Jose and KZ Tandingan as Music Ambassadors.
This year’s theme, “Ani ng Sining”: Philippine Arts Festival, had free workshops, exhibits, shows, concerts, short film screenings, and tours held in four major cities: Manila (National Capital Region), Palawan (Luzon), Ormoc (Visayas), and Agusan del Norte (Mindanao).
The events focused on the rich artistic endeavors and heritage of local communities, with emphasis on empowering and supporting community artists.
Known as the “Art Capital of the Philippines,” the town of Angono in Rizal province joined this year’s NAM celebrations by way of various exhibits and workshops in the town’s galleries.
Painter Nemesio “Nemi” Miranda presented his latest exhibition, “Pag-ibig sa Sining ni Valentino,” a portrayal of the artist’s love for art and passion for what he loves to do best—painting women in their most vibrant and passionate moods.
Executed in charming pastel on 26” x 19” canson paper, the paintings had mother-and-child themes in a harvest-inspired motif.
“The town of Angono won’t allow itself to be left behind when it comes to art and culture activities like the National Arts Month. It is a small town yet it is an artist village, with 10 galleries for art exhibitions and workshops,” Miranda said.
Miranda, 71, owner of the Nemiranda Arthouse on no. 6 Doña Elena Street—inside Doña Justa Village in San Roque, Angono, Rizal—is a forerunner and father of “imaginative figurism.”
“Because I believe that when you draw it from memory, you are actually drawing what is inside you, what is in your soul. Rather than take a picture and copy from the picture, it’s just transferring what you see to the canvas. It’s just the technology of transferring and that is what you call ‘skill.’ But when you draw it from imagination, that is creativity. That’s the difference between painting from imagination and painting from photographs,” Miranda said.
His latest works, exhibited in time for the 2020 NAM, were also showcased last Feb. 14, during the painter’s annual Love Art Exhibit at the SM Megamall. The date also marks Miranda’s birthday.
For this year’s National Arts Month celebration, Tony&Nick features the works of Angono, Rizal painter Nemi Miranda; Lemery, Batangas landscape painter Lino Acasio; and Marilao, Bulacan painter Julius Legaspi.