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Visual Art Exhibit set at Old Municipio to feature Mabalacat’s sons, artists, hobbyists

The stage is set for a one-of-a-kind visual art exhibit that depicts the beliefs, faith, ancestry, customs and traditions of Mabalacat City and Pampanga province. 

In time for the celebration of Balacat Festival, the exhibit will coincide with the formal opening of Tabnuan Cultural Center at the old municipio of Mabalacat City on February 28. 

To be featured in the exhibit are artworks of Dodjie Aguinaldo (Letras Y Figuras painting), Arnel Garcia (sculpture), Jojoy Zabala (abstract painting), Noel C. Calma (fashion clothing), Rod Siron (portrait paintings), and Noel G. Tulabut (photographs). The exhibitors have affinity to Mabalacat, with most of them either born or raised or still living in their beloved city. The organizer, the city government of Mabalacat,  has also invited surprise guest-artists.

Letras Y Figuras by Dodjie Aguinaldo

Aguinaldo’s Letras Y Figuras is a painting on each of the 9 letters of Mabalacat. Colorfully painted on a 19-inch x 25-inch, each letter captures the rich history and tradition of the town as well as the province. 

Aguinaldo was featured in a 236-page coffeetable book “Matenakan Kapampangan: The Arts and Artists of Pampanga” published in 2023 by the Department of Foreign Affairs. He is one of the few artists who have successfully crossed over from manual to digital or computer-assisted art creations.

Kapampangan Myths and Beliefs by Arnel Garcia

Garcia, on the one hand, will feature his 24-inch x 24-inch sculpture in polyester resin on a brass plate. It depicts Kapampangan myths and beliefs. He is a self-taught sculptor who started with small crafts but is now commissioned by many to build life-size statues. His art pieces can now be found in churches, schools, government buildings. The statuettes he makes, on the one hand, are given as gifts to diplomats and foreign dignitaries.

Fashion Clothing by Noel Calma

Calma, an advocate of traditional attire and crafts, will feature fashion clothing. It will pay homage to the works of Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter in the 1940-1950 circa. In between crafting and creating, Calma is also into promotion of Kapampangan heirloom recipes and consultancies on personality and image enhancement.

Wang Od by Rod Siron,

An expert in portraits, Siron makes use of vibrant colors, vivid and realistic compositions. A mural artist in the Middle East for 23 years, his unique painting style reflects a global perspective infused with Filipino sensibilities.

For the Tabnuan event, he will display artworks that pay tribute to a Mangyan mother-and-child, and, Wang-Od, the famous 107-year-old tattoo artist in Kalinga, Mountain Province. Both paintings will be on 30-inch x 24-inch oil on canvass.

Dream Box by Jojoy Zabala

Fresh from exhibits abroad in 2023 such as the Beyond Expression in Vietnam, and the Florence Biennale Art and Design Exhibition in Italy, Zabala’s abstractions have been described in that show as “multilayered objects that resemble angular puzzle pieces, retro and futuristic machinery cross sections of buildings or densely packed cities.”

Zabala is a multi-awarded artist, with the 2023 award in the International Prize Pegasus for the Arts as among his latest recognition. He has consistently won top prizes in the Pupul Ning Banua Award for Visual Arts. Another top plum is the first prize in the International Art Competition in Bahrain in year 2000. He was a many-time finalist and was included in the honorable mentions in the annual GSIS National Art Competition.

My Angel, My Tree by Noel G. Tulabut

For his part, Tulabut will feature photos that were all taken in Mabalacat City. They include Aetas and their way of living, Caragan head dress, churches and homage to the Balacat tree. In July 2014, he staged a solo photo exhibit about New York City in one of the big local malls. Pictures from the 60-photo exhibit were taken during his coverage of the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York.

The Tabnuan visual art exhibit will run until March 2, 2024. It is being spearheaded by the Mabalacat City Government Tourism Office. The event will also display the travelling exhibit that features the Order of the National Artists and Gawad ng Manlilikha ng Bayan awardees in cooperation with the National Commission for the Culture and Arts.