News: RP team 3rd in art ‘Olympics’

RP team 3rd in art ‘Olympics’

By Vincent Cabreza
Inquirer Northern Luzon

BAGUIO CITY—Not bad for this team of artists whose pleas for funding went largely ignored by politicians and corporations, whose members spent an extra night at a South Korean airport for lack of hotel money, and who had one member briefly detained there for carrying a bloodstained knife.

That’s just “chicken blood” from some previous home-cooked dish, the detainee said, before finally convincing authorities to let him go.

Despite this series of unfortunate events, the Philippine delegation to the 3rd Delphic Games held on the resort island of Jeju, South Korea, gave brilliant performances in what was considered the “Olympics” of the art world.

The 17-member team, mostly composed of Cordillera-based artists, placed third overall out of the 44 countries that competed in the games held on Sept. 9-15.

Ifugao woodcarver Ernesto Dul-ang, 60, bagged the gold medal in sculpture for transforming, under time pressure, a 150-cm block of wood into a human figure pouring water from a pot.

Winning the Lyra Award (a special prize given to collaborative works) was a group of Filipino puppeteers headed by EV Espiritu, who wowed the audience with a shadow play dealing with the environment.

The Delphic Games are all about “peace engendering competition of the arts,” according to German founder J. Christian Kirsch, who drew inspiration from the original Greek competitions of 582 B.C.

The first games were held in December 2000 in Moscow with the participation of 27 countries. The second was held in September 2005 in Kuching, Malaysia, with 21 countries taking part.

The event serves as the artistic counterpart of the Olympic Games, said Divina Bautista, a Filipino co-founder based in Baguio.

Dul-ang was given three days to finish the sculpture and often had difficulty communicating with the Korean organizers whenever he requested equipment to speed up his work.

On the third day, Dul-ang recalled, the statue was still without a face, prompting him to ask the team’s videographer Joel Arthur Tibaldo to be his face model.

Earlier, percussionist Ruel Bimuyag served as Dul-ang’s model for the body, while Baguio-based painter Rishab produced sketches that helped the sculptor come up with the best composition.

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Despite their win, I can't help but feel a bit sad with this piece of news. Here we have a group of really talented artists, but very little support can be found. These are artists who really need backing more than the so called "National Artists" that's been such a hot issue these past few weeks.

I've met Rishab before, during our STS project. He and Jordan Mangosan, who was the topic for our study) each did a portraiture of me when we went to visit them in Tam-Awan Village. I was just kidding when I asked them for a portrait but to my surprise, they were game.

Cordillera artists have a special place in my heart. :)


Art Tibaldo September 21, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

Hi! Kat,
Thanks for your comments;
Art Tibaldo

Anonymous September 21, 2009 at 6:41 PM  

Here's Silver medalist Leo Agtuca sleeping in one of the benches of Incheon Airport;

Kat September 24, 2009 at 12:07 PM  

Hi Art! Congratulations again to everyone. I'm really ashamed to say na ngayon ko lang nalaman na may representative pala ang Philippines sa Delphic games. I hope that next year mas maganda na ang situation for those who'll go. Thank you for the pictures as well. I got to meet Ev Espiritu years ago, when I was still a student and doing my internship at Inquirer's Northern Luzon Bureau.

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