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Share knowledge with youth, Duterte urges nat’l artists

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday called on the country’s new national artists to share their knowledge and skills with the younger generation for their legacies to endure and uplift the nation.

The President made the remarks during the awarding ceremonies in Malacañang for this year’s recipients of The Order of National Artists, the highest recognition that the country could bestow on citizens who have and contributed significantly to the growth and improvement of Philippine arts and culture.

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The seven new national artists are Larry Alcala for visual arts, Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio for theater and literature, Ryan Cayabyab for music, Kidlat Tahimik for film and broadcast arts, Francisco Mañosa for architecture and allied arts, Resil Mojares for literature, and Ramon Muzones for literature.

Alcala and Muzones were honored posthumously.

“To this year’s awardees, I laud you for the passion and dedication to your chosen craft. Your outstanding work does not only inspire self-determination, it likewise instills patriotism and brings prestige to our beloved country,” Mr. Duterte said.

“In ways more than one, art has been a witness to the storied history of our nation. It gave rise to the revolution and served as a voice to those who fought for democracy and embodied the spirit of the Filipino during turbulent times,” he said.

Accolades to others

Two of the awardees offered their accolades to others who had inspired them—Kidlat to his mentor and Cayabyab, to his music students.

Though no stranger to awards, filmmaker Kidlat said he nearly fell off his seat when he heard that he was named national artist.

He was surprised but had the presence of mind to share the honor with his 80-year-old mentor, Reynaldo Lopez Nauyac, a former woodcarver from Hapao, Ifugao.

“He worked to revive the watershed at the Banaue Rice Terraces,” Kidlat told the Inquirer.

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Filipinos like his teacher, deserve to be celebrated as well, he said.

“Although I am in the category of cinema, I hope this honor would also bring attention to the broader work of cultural revival,” said the 76-year-old artist.

Filipino New Wave

Beyond his internationally acclaimed movies, Kidlat, or Eric de Guia in real life, has been working vigorously and steadily on behalf of various advocacies to preserve and protect the cultural treasures of the Cordilleras, “which was almost totally destroyed by America’s benevolent assimilation.”

He feels adamantly about highlighting our “indie-genius” culture.

“The only reason I was called the Godfather of the Filipino New Wave is because I was born ahead of the others,” quipped Kidlat, the former economist who turned to filmmaking in 1975.

His landmark film, “Perfumed Nightmare,” which won in Berlin and Amiens, marked its 40th anniversary last year.

Kidlat wore his trademark “bahag” to Malacañang, dress code be damned. He asserted that he had been to myriad awarding and red carpet events in his formal attire and G-string, why should the Palace by the River be any different?

In December, he will travel to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to receive his latest accolade, the Prince Claus Award.

Inspiration to students

While Kidlat shared his award with his mentor, Cayabyab dedicated this latest honor in a 48-year career studded with numerous awards and citations to his students whom he called the present and the future artists of the country.

“This national artist honor is for them. I hope it will inspire young creative people to reach higher artistic grounds,” he told the Inquirer.

“My continuous involvement in projects—training and educating young musicians, songwriters and performing artists—is good enough reason to be happy for this honor.”

Cayabyab expressed his continuing desire to educate and train the music students and “share every bit of knowledge and experience” that he has and “create platforms to promote and show their works.”

The award is likewise meaningful on a personal level, said Cayabyab, who started as a pianist for a choir at age 15.

“It is significant to me because my mother, Celerina Pujante Cayabyab, an opera singer, discouraged us to choose music as a career . . . because she knew how difficult an artist’s life could be,” he said.

Family of musicians

He said the award also had added significance because his wife, Emmy, and their two children, Krina and Toma, also have chosen to be musicians.

“This honor is for them, too . . . to inspire them to continue living an artist’s many faceted lives: as educator, as researcher, as performer and as a creative artist,” Cayabyab said.

Aside from recognizing the national artists, Mr. Duterte also honored the new awardees of the Gawad Manlilikha sa Bayan or the National Living Treasures Award.

They are Yakan weaver Ambalang Ausalin, B’laan ikat weaver Yabing Masalon Dulo, and B’laan mat weaver Estelita Tumandan Bantilan.

The National Living Treasures Award is given to those who excel in various indigenous arts, customs and traditional practices.

Painter Araceli Dans was awarded the Presidential Medal of Merit.

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TAGS: Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, Francisco Mañosa, Kidlat Tahimik, Larry Alcala, national artists, Ramon Muzones, Resil Mojares, Rodrigo Duterte, Ryan Cayabyab
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