Saturday, November 28, 2009
Mayor Bing Leonardia, Please Give Back the Gallery of the Art Association of Bacolod, NOW!
Mayor Bing Leonardia has promised in not just one instance to give art its proper place in Bacolod City.
In not just one speech did he promise to give 300 square meters of land for the prestigious Art Association of Bacolod, back at the forsaken marshlands near the reclamation area beside the Office of the Senior Citizens' Association.
The officers and members also went in full force to the session of the Bacolod Sangguniang Panglungsod when the matter of giving back to the Art Association of Bacolod it's old gallery was being discussed, in the hopeful effort to reclaim what used to be theirs. And, like a volleyball session, the issue was passed from one committee to another, the city officials asking from the Association for papers that are impossible to dig up, thus ending up with no clear resolution on the fate of the Art Association of Bacolod's official place in Bacolod City.
Apparently, withdrawal of support by the Bacolod City government started when the Art Association of Bacolod was eased out of its old building fronting the public plaza with the alibi of having it renovated. The association was temporarily housed at the Bacolod City Public Library until it was eased out completely.
Nevertheless, thanks to a few diehard artists who have lent their spaces for meetings of the recently revived Art Association of Bacolod, the group's address has moved from Nunelucio Alvarado's studio at the back of Sugarland Hotel to his new art haven, Namit-Namit Pagkaon Kag Taliambong resto-gallery.
In between, the now Art Association of Bacolod-Negros would meet at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos through the hospitality of Bro. Tagoy Jakosalem, a fellow artist, as well as at other venues, such as the "HQ" at a vacant lot lent by Andre Palanca at the reclamation area, but there seems to be no place like home.
According to Rodney Martinez, another respected artist and forerunner of the Art Association, Bacolod City was hailed as the center of art outside of Manila back in the 70's, because Bacolod City's artists have varied artistic styles worthy of notice by the Manila art circle. Sadly, however, Bacolod City itself seems to be artless, notes the artist.
Unlike in the heyday of the Art Association of Bacolod, politicians were also art patrons who supported Bacolod art, as can be seen by the old artworks around Bacolod City and the bestowing of an art gallery to the association.
Presently, however, not only is the Art Association of Bacolod constantly struggling in its nomadic state, there is only empty promises from the leadership of the city government who seem to be only up to cutting a lot of ribbons during exhibit openings but not really buying art, the people's food for the soul. Except of course, for a few tru-blu art lover such as the wife of Rep. Monico Puentevella, an avid art collector and supporter of Negrense artists.
A quick tour at the major government offices of the city such as the newly constructed Government Center will obviously show Bacolod City's lack of art appreciation and therefore lack of support for its artists. Without art, Bacolod's political center seem empty, dry, and lifeless.
And Bacolod City Mayor Bing Leonardia's statements on the fate of the Art Association of Bacolod seem to be just another politicking with no concrete will to make the well-documented prmises a reality. Despite the coming election, the future of the Art Association of Bacolod is as uncertain as the political candidate's fate.
The artsy appeal thus must become a holler: Mayor Bing Leonardia, please give back the gallery of the Art Association of Bacolod, NOW!
No more empty promises. No more artlessness.
Bacolod City has to reclaim its soul.