Today, I join a group of nine artists from Cebu who are leaving for Paris, France to take part in a month-long art residency and exchange called “Mugna Paris 2013”.
The Cebuano artists have been invited to show their works in different exhibits including the “12×12” arts festival held yearly at the Le Cent Etablissement Culturel Solidaire (Le 100 ECS), the public art center of the 12th arrondissement of Paris, which is the French sponsor of the Mugna-Paris 2013 project.
The Cebuano delegation is also sponsored by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated (RAFI), which provided the main funding without which the project would not likely push through, and the local Qube Gallery, which helped ship the works of the artists to France. Qube also hosted the fund-raising exhibits at the two branches of the gallery in Persimmon Suites in Mabolo and Henry Hotel in Banilad.
It was through this column that RAFI heard about the project and, without being asked, immediately responded by offering help. It started with the Foundation facilitating the waiving of our visa fees at the Embassy of France in Manila, which helped not only to relieve us of the expense but also boosted our chances of getting immediate approval.
RAFI’s unsolicited help may be a surprise to the artists but it’s actually consistent with its long-time commitment to support local art and cultural initiatives. In the past, its Casa Gorordo Museum has hosted some of the most significant contemporary art exhibits in Cebu, including the works of winners in the Ateneo Art Awards.
The Foundation’s sponsorship of the Mugna project comes with their challenge for us to proudly showcase contemporary art in Cebu to the Parisian audience and for the artists to demonstrate the impact of the trip in a series of new works that will soon be exhibited upon our return.
We also thank our French curator Remy Rault, who tirelessly made all necessary arrangements in Paris with our sponsors in France, namely, the City Hall of the 12th district, Le 100, his Parisian friends, the Philippine Embassy in France, and members of the Filipino community in Paris who have been very much willing to extend help to us.
This includes Paris-based Sharon Gil, the sister of former CDN columnist Marvi Gil, who helped us establish linkages with art organizations and her former school in Paris, the Science Po University.
Here in Cebu, we also thank the artists Celso Pepito and Jose “Kimsoy” Yap for donating whole and half of the sale of their work, respectively, for the group’s common fund. Celso’s works and those of Darby Alcoseba and Nomar Miano will be exhibited in the Mugna exhibit in France but the three could not join the team in Paris for different reasons.
Celso and Darby are also bound to leave for an international art fair in Kuala Lumpur also this month. Our fellow USC faculty, Nomar Miano, on the other hand, will have to stay to work on his thesis in graduate school and to do studio work for his next show.
The Mugna artists also thank Julien Harmel, who like Remy is another Parisian married to a Filipina and is now based in Cebu, for helping manage the project here in Cebu. Documentation by video and photography of the Mugna project is being done by grad school film student Grace Marie Lopez and her professor Paul Grant of the University of San Carlos Deparment of Fine Arts.
Those of us in the Mugna team who are faculty of the USC fine arts program also thank the university for also helping us financially and for granting each of us a leave of absence.
So we fly to Europe today with the feeling of lightness as all our former anxieties have finally been relieved.
In behalf of the other members of Team Mugna, namely Felix Catarata, Melver Mercado, Dennis Montera, Marvin Natural, Geraldine Ocampo, Palmy Pe-Tudtud, and Kimsoy Yap, may I therefore express our deepest gratitude for making this significant project possible.
Daghang salamat! Merci beaucoup!
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