New York nonprofit holds 'Nostalgia' exhibit in PH | Inquirer

WATCH: New York nonprofit holds art exhibit, promotes mentorship in PH

The event was also a reunion of the Makati Artists Guild
/ 07:17 PM March 23, 2024

Arts Month, celebrated recently in the Philippines, was an opportunity to meet outstanding artists and mentors in the art world, who can inspire the next generation of artists.

Eagle Eye Charities, Inc. (EEC), a nonprofit based in New York, held an exhibit titled “Nostalgia” at its Makati City pop-up art gallery at Valero Plaza in Salcedo Village.

The event was also a reunion of the former Makati Artists Guild. EEC Founder Carol Tanjutco gathered the nonprofit’s trustees and supporters to celebrate the group, which had its beginnings in 2002.

The participating artists included Fanny Blanco, Rubee Alcantara, Stella Torres and Mel Cabriana. They were joined by the next generation of artists and kin of EEC mentors, Keiye Miranda, Alee Garibay and Maria Francisca Juarez.  Also participating were contemporary artists Lander Blanza and his wife El Tagle Margate. The group presented a women-themed exhibition and mixed media landscape.

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3 paintings

The “Nostalgia” exhibit featured women-inspired paintings (from left): “Three Sisters” by Fanny Blanco, “Joy of Motherhood” by Carol Tanjutco, “Madonna and Mother’s Veil” by Stella Torres. “Nostalgia” artworks collection can be viewed here. Photo from Porsha Seechung

The show opened on Feb. 16 with a live recording of “Mentoring Session Part 1: The Future of Contemporary Arts in the Philippines” led by EEC mentor Manny Garibay.

Garibay holds a Fine Arts degree from the University of the Philippines and a Master of Divinity degree from Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Jersey, where he published his monograph of paintings, “Where God Is” (2010-2011). He established an art school, Linangan Art Residency and currently chairs a group called Artletics, empowering young artists for community transformation.


Garibay discussed what makes artists today more relevant, sharing his insight into the progression of contemporary arts in the Philippines. It was a timely discussion of artists’ concerns and challenges as they navigate the ever-changing global arts scene.

Garibay underscored the importance of “authenticity” and “not trying to be somebody else” or copying the style of more notable artists. He said, “Find out what your goals really are. There are those who are simply happy in doing what they love best, and that is what I prefer. Success is relative – it is the feeling of satisfaction (over) what you have fulfilled. Whether you make it in the market or not is beside the point.”

“There is always a means to pursue a market trajectory in the art world. There is something the artists constantly wrestle with, that is authenticity. If you feel that you honestly represent yourself, of what you create, then I feel that there will be less discrepancy as to what you put up in an exhibit as against your intention,” he added. “The contemplation of sales as a result of people liking your works comes as a consequence of your commitment in what you do, as your intention of how you want to connect with your audience.

3 paintings

The “Nostalgia” art exhibit featured (from left)  “Tagak” by Rubee Alcantara, “Beyond Imagination” by Maria Francisca Juarez and “Hoyohoy” (Breeze) by Mel Cabriana. Photo from Porsha Seechung

The concentration of your audience comes from believing in what you do. It all comes together. Believe in what you do, that’s why you love doing what you do, and keep doing what you love to do. That is called passion. If you really believe  in  what you do, the consistency, the frequency, the regularity of what you do leads to a mastery.”

He also talked about his take on digital art and social media. Part of the session is recorded for EEC followers.

EEC mentor Nemi Miranda, the renowned “Father of Imaginative Figurism,” talked about his challenges and success in his early years, how he connected to people and community groups, and his involvement in a variety of grassroots organizations that endeared him to his townmates in Angono, Rizal.

The community members subsequently nominated him for the prestigious National Artist Award in 2021, but that year President Duterte did not include an awardee in the Visual Arts category. They are preparing to nominate him again this year.

Nemi Miranda and Esther Chavez

Master Nemi Miranda shows his limited edition of “Lapulapu” sketches in stone to Esther Chavez, former VP for sales and marketing for North America. Behind him is his acrylic painting, “Waterbearer,” available through the nonprofit Photo from Porsha Seechung)

In 2023, Nemi Miranda received an award from President Bongbong Marcos when he was named The Outstanding Filipino by Jaycees International (TOFIL). He was also honored with the Philippine Army Stakeholders Award. In the same year, he received The Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award from the UST Alumni Association.

At the age of 21, Miranda became the first artist in Angono to discover concrete as a medium in sculpture. “It was not very successful, so I went house-to-house in Angono, offering my services for mural sculpture,” he said.

Miranda met an architect who enlisted him for a project, where he met several clients who were developing beach resorts. “That’s how I started my sculptures for beach resorts.

At the age of 24, he embarked on his biggest project, a mural for the Philippine Army. “My connection was through a friend in Angono who was a major in the Army. Angono was known for Botong Francisco, so they were looking for artists who could make murals for them,” he recalled.

The mural design process included researching the history of the Philippine Army. “The mural is about 175 meters long. Every month I had to present the design, and several changes were made. It took me a year to complete the project. I had to train artisans in Angono to learn how to make parts of the mural. That was my biggest showcase. It was inaugurated by PresidentFerdinand Marcos in 1975,” Miranda said.

“My activities as a cultural worker (were) inherited from my father who was involved in many things. I was the voice of the Scouts for many years. I had the opportunity to present a lot of projects in provinces for murals of local heroes. I had a small studio in Angono, where I offered refreshments for visitors, so eventually I opened a small restaurant. The Department of Tourism discovered Angono, and I assisted in creating brochures and organized local artists to showcase.”

He considers himself as a cultural worker, “Parang hindi ako masaya na ako lang, Gusto ko kasama ko mga artists, so we work as a group at Angono, as a federation. My mission was for Angono to be known in the arts scene.” He concluded his talk with an advice to artists: Do not focus on money-making ventures but on one’s passion as an artist.

Watch his live mentoring session and engaging interview with EEC founder Carol Tanjutco.

These sessions were started by the nonprofit during the COVID pandemic and continue to inspire and guide contemporary artists. The group welcomes new ideas and mentors. The founder can be reached at [email protected]  For more mentoring sessions, click here.

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TAGS: art exhibit, Filipino artists, mentoring, painting
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