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Ateneo Art Award - Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prize winners

‘Navigating crisis’ through art criticism

By SCOTT GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published Sep 25, 2021 5:00 am Updated Sep 27, 2021 8:56 pm

The Ateneo Art Awards-Purita Kalaw-Ledesma (PKL) Prizes in Art Criticism was launched in 2014 by Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) and Kalaw-Ledesma Foundation, Inc. (KLFI).

It was named in honor of Purita Kalaw-Ledesma, art patron and founder of the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP), who believed in art criticism’s “vital role in the development of culture,” citing its capacity to “guide both artists towards new directions and public taste towards the best in past and current artistic output.”

Now in its seventh year, the PKL Prizes in Art Criticism invited English and Filipino essays that reflect on the theme, “Navigating Crisis: Arts and Our Futures.” The theme reflects on crisis — largely shaped by the protracted pandemic, and its effects on various aspects of life, including arts and culture.

To be sure, the COVID-19 crisis has effectively exposed the fragility of life, the instability of cherished relations and previously held assumptions.

After receiving a number of diverse entries this year, the AAG shortlisted six essays for the English category and three essays for the Filipino category. An online deliberation was held in July 2021 to select the winning writers from the two categories.

The jury consisted of:

  • Millet Mananquil, Lifestyle editor of The Philippine STAR;
  • Remmon Barbaza, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Philosophy at Ateneo de Manila University;
  • H.G. Masters, deputy editor and deputy publisher of ArtAsiaPacific;
  • Padmapani Perez, anthropologist, writer and owner of Mt. Cloud Bookshop in Baguio;
  • Judy Freya Sibayan, visual artist, curator, founding editor and publisher of Ctrl+P Journal of Contemporary Art;
  • Alvin Yapan, Ph.D., editor of Katipunan: Journal ng Mga Pag-aaral sa Wika, Panitikan, Sining at Kulturang Pilipino and associate professor, Kagawaran ng Filipino at Ateneo de Manila University; and
  • Ma. Victoria Herrera, director and chief curator of Ateneo Art Gallery.

The recipient of the Purita-Kalaw Ledesma Prize The Philippine STAR is Carla T. Gamalinda for her entry “Art and the Inevitable Crisis of the Screens.” She will be contributing to Philippine STAR twice a month or 24 articles per year for the publication’s Arts & Culture section.

Portia Placino, meanwhile, takes the Purita-Kalaw Ledesma Prize – ArtAsiaPacific award for her essay, “Forging On by the Mountainside.”

Placino will be writing a total of six articles for a year in the bimonthly publication. In addition, Placino receives a writer’s residency grant at Orange Project in Bacolod. The grant is a new incentive and partnership introduced this year by AAG, KLFI and Orange Project, to provide the winning writer an opportunity to immerse and interact with local art communities in the Visayas.

The AAG and KLFI have also announced their collaboration with new publication partner, the Katipunan Journal. The recipient of the Purita-Kalaw Ledesma Prize – Katipunan Journal was Jaffy V. Fajardo for his entry titled, “Nandiyan lang kultura at mga sining.”

He will be contributing to the bi-annual research publication with a total of two articles for a year. Fajardo’s essay will also be published in The Philippine STAR.

The nine essays shortlisted for the 2021 Ateneo Art Awards – Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes for Art Criticism are posted online through the Vital Points microsite.