The Philippines and India are two Asian countries which share so many things in common in terms of history, culture, and way of life, which date back to centuries before they were colonized by Western powers.
This age-old cultural affinity was put to the fore once more with the recent holding of “Art Diversity,” an exchange program between visual artists from the Angono Ateliers Association Philippines (AAAP) and the Arth Art International India.
The weeklong art interaction was participated in by 17 painters from the Angono-based group, one of the country’s oldest associations, led by renowned muralist and sculptor Nemi Miranda, AAAP president Bernie Balagtas, and exchange project director August Santiago.
The New Delhi-based association is composed of 17 contemporary artists headed by Sushil Shriwastwa, CEO and curator of the Arth Art International.
For an immersion into the Philippine art scene, the joint group visited the National Museum in Manila and the Angono-Binangonan Petroglyphs, art communities in Rizal Province, the studio of painter Raul Isidro, and the University of Sto. Tomas Museum, which boasts of an impressive repository of colonial-era ecclesiastical and visual art, and historic artifacts.
The art exchange culminated with the opening of the public exhibit at the World Trade Center Metro Manila in Pasay City which will run until the end of February. The cocktail launch was attended by Filipino and foreign diplomats, First Secretary of the Indian Embassy Kannan Chockalingam, local government officials, and officers of the Indian Cultural Association of the Philippines.
According to Nemi Miranda, the successful convergence of the artists from two different nations is a realization of a long-standing aspiration for the AAAP to showcase the universality of the language of art despite the diversity.
He said that both groups are looking forward to a reciprocal visit to India for Filipinos to have a deeper appreciation of the richness of the subcontinent’s thousand years old civilization, rich history and cultural heritage.
Meanwhile, Department of Tourism—Calabarzon regional director Marites Castro reaffirmed the agency’s continuing support to artistic initiatives in Angono and the rest of the Southern Tagalog region.
“For more than four decades, the Department of Tourism (DOT) through its regional office, has given its all-out support to the various artistic and cultural initiatives of Angono as it showcased its artistry in both national and international tourism events, trade shows, expos, and cultural exchanges. The DOT continue to journey with artists in the Calabarzon region as they promote artistic and cultural initiatives in the global stage as ambassadors of goodwill,” she enthused.
Situated in the outskirts of Metro Manila, Angono is a little town by the shores of the Laguna Lake which is recognized by the government as the “Art Capital of the Philippines” because of the abundance of hundreds of painters, sculptors, mixed media artists, musicians, writers, poets, theater actors, brass band and orchestra players.
It also takes pride in producing two National Artists—the eminent historical muralist Carlos “Botong” Francisco, and composer and bandmaster Lucio San Pedro regarded as the “Creative Nationalist” for his body of works of patriotic music.
The Art Exchange is supported by the DOT’s Calabarzon and National Capital Region offices, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Municipality of Angono, Municipality of Cardona, Department of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of India, Embassy of the United States of America, Securities and Exchange Commission, National Museum, SM Supermalls, Hotel 101, Obra ni Juan, and the University of Sto. Tomas.
Image credits: WTCMM, Bernard Supetran