A visual artist from my hometown invited me to perform in a secluded resort called La Jardin located in Baliuag where a good number of painters, visual artists, art patrons, heritage advocates and culturist gathered for a workshop and lectures. The night ended with long hours of acoustic jam backed up with a number of percussive instruments and bottles of brandy to boot.
It was the 2nd day of the first Central Luazon Visual Arts Congress dubbed “Unang Daloy”. The two-day event (from Oct 3-4) was spearheaded by the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), in partnership with Kapisanan ng mga Bahay-saliksikan sa Bansa, Inc. (Kabansa) and Center for Bulacan Studies of Bulacan State University.
“Daloy” is a term common among the people of Central Luzon that means “flow,” specifically, the flow of water in the many rivers that descend and cross over its seven provinces, uniting them through the traditional settlement pattern of riverine communities. This can be seen in the identities of people themselves: both “Tagalog” and “Kampampangan” are derived from peoples living on the river’s edge. (“taga-ilog” meaning “people of the river,” and “pampang” referring to the riverbank). In a sense, the precense of rivers allowed people to settle and identify with the unique physical and social environment of Central Luzon. Daloy thus also connotes a symbolic unity and direction by which the people of Central Luzon can come together to enrich the common cultural heritage through infusions of their own artistic contributions.
This is the premise behind Unang Daloy: The 1st Central Luzon Art Festival. Occuring from October 3-4, 2012, the festival unites for the first time visual artistic communities from all seven provinces of Central Luzon (or Region III): Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija,Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. A region rich in visual artistic heritage, proof of which can be found in the many celebrated artists who were born and raised here, or whose ancestry is based here, like National Artists Guillermo Tolentino, Vicente Manansala, Jose Joya, or Benedicto Cabrera. They also include great masters like Simon Flores, Teodoro Buenaventura Sr., Diosdado Lorenzo, Amadeo Manalad, Vicente Alvarez Dizon, Cesar Buenaventura, Miguel Galvez, and Jose D. Castro.
It was accompanied by an exhibition of works at the activity center of SM Baliwag. I was able to check out the display and took photos using my mobile phone.
I felt a sense of empowerment and inspiration to discover an existing group and support system that champions history and art in our region. Which reminded me to trace back and re-discover my passion for visual arts. In the quoted text, the last person mentioned is my grandfather. I guess it’s about time to find out more about his works and all the artists enumerated and create self-awareness of historical and artistic significance. Maybe even participate in the next exhibit, happening two years from now in Pampanga, with my own creation on canvas.