The dark, heavy strokes that created an image of a road that seems to stretch beyond the horizon was something that most would mistake for the work of a professional artist. In actuality, it is the work of a high school student. The award-winning painting, titled “Home Along”, is the obra maestra of Grade 10 student LJ Jimenez from the Dagupan City National High School of the Special Program in the Arts and Arts and Design Track.
The Batang Edades arts competition where Jimenez’s artistic talent was spotlighted was held on December 23, 2016, the birthday of national artist Victorio C. Edades. Jimenez’s “Home Along” earned him Php 10,000, while Gem Castillo and Ivanne Escobar won Php 7,000 and Php 5,000, respectively. Other students were rewarded Php 500 each for their entries.
In Dagupan, Edades is a figure that is celebrated, especially recently. On December 2016, the city proposed an ordinance that would declare every December 23 as Edades Day, to celebrate the Dagupan-grown national artist.
Jimenez roughly mirrored Edades’ characteristic dark, heavy strokes that often depicted everyday life of laborers, which earned the latter the title of being the “Father of Modern Philippine Painting”.
“Bilib talaga ako sa batang Dagupenyo hindi lang sa sports, sa music, sa journalism and now sa arts,” Mayor Belen T. Fernandez said, taking note of the other various accomplishments of the city’s children in the past months. “We will continue to assist our children in honing their skills and talents in painting to be like our national artist Victorio Edades.”
A few days before the arts competition, the city government opened an art exhibit named after Edades that showcased the artistic talents of more arts students from DCNHS.
In addition to Jimenez, the young artists who were closely following the footsteps of the renowned national artist were: Ivanne Escobar, John Cris, Rizza Agustin, Winona Elise Bautista, Rosemarie Callejo, Gem Castillo, Rosalyn Gipa, Maryvelle Esteves, Shamel Galvan, Wally Hondrada, Mary Rose Tiangco, and Justin Llamas.
The mayor also observed during one of her regular field inspections that the national high school’s arts building was in poor condition, which is why she spearheaded the construction of a new building.
“Nakita ko how dilapidated and unsafe na yong building na kinlalagyan nila where they do their paintings and preserve their works and so in support of their talent we are now constructing a new building for them,” Fernandez said.
The three-storey infrastructure was allotted a budget of Php 11.9 million. The construction started in early 2016, and in December 2017, the building was given additional budget for facilities and equipment that students can use in their chosen artistic track.
“We are dedicating this building to all students who are gifted with arts,” The mayor said in a Facebook post. “Do you know that Dagupeños are good painters, good music dance and culture dance? We need a place to develop them and inspire them.”
Edades is an artist that is known internationally for his contributions to the art scene. As a national artist, the sphere of Edades’ influence is most especially apparent in his hometown Dagupan City. These city’s projects, along with the continuing support of the local government, will perhaps drive the youngsters to go even beyond what Victorio Edades achieved during his time. (Zarena Amado/CIO)