National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, guest of honor at Erehwon Center for the Arts (ECA) NAM celebration

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National Artist Bienvenido “Bien” Lumbera was the Guest of Honor at the opening of Heber Bartolome’s solo art exhibition, titled, “Karugtong” at the Erehwon Center for the Arts.

Curated by Augusto “Gus” Albor, the exhibit opened last February 28 and will run until March 14.

The art exhibit is ECA’s finale program for its National Arts Month (NAM) celebration. National Artist Bien Lumbera was joined by other honored guests—Radio Philippines Network, Inc. (RPN) president Robert Rivera, one of the the country’s premier soprano Rachelle Gerodias, Ivy Illescas Bugaoan, UP Prof. Neil Doloricon, artists Pablo Baen Santos, Antipas Delotavo, Maestro Jerry Dadap, Amado Hidalgo, Elito Circa, Tony Remington, Levi Bartolome, and other artists.

Much like the artist himself whose artistry personifies three of the seven forms of art, namely painting, music, and literature, the opening of “Karugtong” was a conflux of Filipino talents in literature, music and painting.

The program started with poetry reading, featuring ekphrasis written by National Artists for Literature Bienvenido “Bien” Lumbera, Virgilio “Rio Alma” S. Almario, and other renowned literary figures like Jose F. Lacaba, Melissa Nolledo, and Eduard Labadia.

The subjects of the poems are Heber Bartolome’s artworks titled “Sampayan” and “Retaso,” which are among the 45 artworks on exhibit.

Among the poem readers are legends in the local music industry like Mike Hanopol (Juan de la Cruz Band) who read Rio Alma’s “Sampayan” and Resty Fabunan (Maria Cafra), who read Bien Lumbera’s “Sinampay.” Both interspersed music and guitar playing with the poetry reading, hence, a richly layered performance.

The Erehwon Youth Rondalla added to the creative vibe at the Erehwon Atelier as they played music while the guests examined the 45 paintings on exhibit which spans the artist’s creations for 37 years, from the year 1982 to the present.

As the finale act, the guests were transported back to 1970’s Philippine rock n’ roll with perfor- mances by Mike Hanopol, Resty Fabunan, Levi Bartolome, Queen Rosas, Tala Saldivar, Kelvin Teh, and other musicians. And as a finale to the finale, the crowd witnessed a heartfelt rendition of “Bayan Ko” by the country’s premier soprano, Rachelle Gerodias in a duet with no other than the artist himself, Heber Bartolome.

Erehwon Center for the Arts is humbled to host this seamless interweaving of the various forms of art and Filipino artists as it culminated its National Arts Month celebration and graciously thank everyone who took part in this eventful night.

Erehwon Center for the Arts is a Quezon City Gawad Parangal awardee recognized for its contributions to the arts and culture. It is also a member of the Philippine Performing Art Centers Consortium (PhilPACC), a project of the CCP. It is located at 1 Don Francisco St., Villa Beatriz, Old Balara, Quezon City. Operating hours are Mondays to Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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