Lady Fishbone wins 2018 Maningning Award

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At the exhibit with ACM MIM Mandy Navasero and Vim Joseph LIm

A canvas of fishbones (tinik ng isda) titled “Motion of Life” won the coveted 2018 Maningning Art Award held at the historic Far Eastern University Auditorium. The venue in Art Deco style is in the Manila campus designed by the late National Artist Pablo Antonio, a UNESCO-Asia Pacific heritage building.

Art, music and poetry melded at the newly renovated auditorium during the awards night last September 26, featuring Ginugunita Kita, a performance art of the poems of the late FEU art instructor, artist and poet Maningning Miclat. The occasion held by the Maningning Miclat Art Foundation in cooperation with the FEU President’s Committee on Culture and District Gallery-Artist Playground was graced by National Artist for Literature F Sionil Jose and National Artist for Music Ramon Santos.

Banaue Al Paul Morales with his Guang Ming College students

“Motion of Life”

Pangasinan State University’s Jessica Lopez, also known as Lady Fishbone, was the grand winner with her piece made of fishbones entitled “Motion of Life.” Imelda Cajipe-Endaya. head of the jury, together with Egai Talusan Fernandez and Dexter Sy, said of the winning artwork: “Motion of Life” is so appealing for the layman, the artists and critics alike. The piece has both outstanding classic and contemporary qualities. Classic because it expresses the first day of Genesis, light being created into the void. Suggestive of stars and galaxy, it is capable of elevating the viewer’s consciousness into a high level of spirituality. Alas, it is made up of tiny fishbones. This element of decay is utilized in a practical economy of means where impeccable visual execution successfully surprises us with a universal concept of cyclical Motion of Life.

Maningning in Chinese garb

Lopez received from the jury together with FEU President’s Committee on Culture director Martin Lopez and Maningning Miclat Art Foundation president Alma Miclat a Julie Lluch sculpture trophy, Php28,000.00, a set of books – Soul Searchers and Dreamers: Artists’ Profiles by Alma Cruz Miclat, Voice from the Underworld: A Book of Verses by Maningning Miclat, and Fairground: A Literary Feast, edited by Gémino H. Abad and Alma Cruz Miclat, and a solo exhibit at District Gallery.

Four finalists were awarded out of the 18 semi-finalists chosen from 62 which prequalified in the initial online art submissions. An exhibit of the shortlisted 18 artworks opened on September 4 and ended on the awards night. Honorable mentions included Harddy DC Santos of UE with his piece “Cover Up,” John Nikko Pelaez, UE, with “Beg,” and Wendi Patoc, EARIST, with “Hindi Na Muling Babalik.”

Honoring Maningning

Born and raised in Beijing, China for the first half of her life, Maningning Miclat grew up to become an accomplished painter in both Chinese and Western genre and a multilingual poet, fictionist and essayist publishing her works in English, Filipino and Chinese.

Maningning had her first solo exhibit of Chinese traditional paintings at the age of 15 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1987. “Maningning: An Exhibit of Chinese Brush Works” was the first of her five solo exhibitions, and of about 32 total exhibitions. That same year, she launched her first book of poetry in Chinese, Wo De Shi, My Poems.

The sensitive artist / poet won the 1992 Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Grand Prize in Non-Representational painting for her abstract, Trouble in Paradise” while still a student of Roberto Chabet at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.

Wig Tysmans, Tessie Jose, F Sionil Jose, and Howie Severino

While excelling in the visual arts, she also followed her heart in the literary world. She became a fellow of the U.P. National Writer’s Workshop in 1990 where she won a Jullie Lluch trophy for her one-act play in Filipino. In 1991, she became a fellow of the Silliman Writer’s Workshop for her poems in English. Her poems in Chinese would earn for her a niche in the Chinese poetry, counting her as one of the 39 Top-Rated Women Poets in Chinese, anthologized in a book published in Beijing during the International Women’s Month held there.

Multi-faceted Maningning sold paintings, wrote for newspapers, designed book covers, taught Mandarin at the Ateneo University, and even had her second book, Voice from the Underworld published by Anvil Publishing in 2000, the year when she passed on while teaching art at the FEU and taking up Masters in Fine Arts at UP.

Ginugunita Kita

Jessica Lopez with Trophy

Eleven from Maningning’s collection of poems were set to music by multi-awarded composer Jesse Lucas and sung by her sister, UP professor and Dulaang UP artistic director Banaue Miclat-Janssen. Noted cellist Maestro Renato Lucas and the composer himself on the piano accompanied Miclat-Janssen, with tenor and cross-over artist Al Gatmaitan and FEU dancer Angela Castro as special guests. Artist Nasser Lubay provided the interactive art.

Jesse Lucas was deeply inspired by Maningning’s Voice from the Underworld. He says, “I immediately connected with the words and verses. The words used form their own cadence. Each word seemed carefully selected to form a given rhythm that support its theme. The poems of Maningning Miclat are almost melodious that I can hear the music through the poetic images. They spoke and at the same time sang to me poignant thoughts about life, pain and love. These are the foundation of Ginugunita Kita’s music.” He adds, “the experience in writing the music is really meditative and cathartic at the same time. It feels like I have discovered a new language, a language that speaks directly to the soul.”

Martin Lopez, Winners, Judges, MMAFI trustees_Zimon Bumatay

The poems are: Ginugunita Kita, Anino, Tawag, Kulay sa Bagyo, Panibugho, Ang Naliligaw, Duet (nina Rizal at Bracken), Shi Bu Shi (Isn’t It), Verses, A Stare, and To Catch a Second and Turn it to Forever.

The biennial Maningning Miclat Art Awards started in 2004 and held during even-numbered years while the Maningning Miclat Trilingual Poetry Awards which started in 2003 is held during odd-numbered years.

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