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Mindanaoan artist Kublai Millan champions cultural arts through tech, reviving local artists

Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan
In photo is renowned Mindanao artist Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan who led the Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit, and Conference (MindanaoArt 2020), one of the biggest art events in Southeast Asia.

#BetterToday Time Capsule Project

The pandemic has drastically changed the way people live and artists are no exception.

When physical art fairs, exhibitions and workshops are indefinitely put on hold, how do artists in Mindanao adapt in the new normal? Technology becomes their ally.

Just like how renowned Mindanao artist Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan and his team – Lawig Diwa, Inc., pulled off Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit, and Conference (MindanaoArt 2020), one of the biggest art events in Southeast Asia, despite the global crisis.

Millan shared that during the early months of the lockdown, several artists were asking for assistance because many of their projects and sources of income didn’t push through due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

“With the given plight of the artists, we became more determined to push for the event. As the head of the organization that deals with art, Lawig Diwa, it is our mandate to help the artists,” he said.

But the challenge remained, particularly how to help fellow artists given the local and national government’s restrictions and protocols.

“We had to be creative and responsive to the current situation. So we thought of virtual museums,” he added.

MindanaoArt 2020, held in October last year, gathered over 200 artists from Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Caraga region, North Cotabato, General Santos City, Bukidnon province, Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and Zamboanga Peninsula.

Virtual Museum
An art enthusiast views the virtual gallery during the Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit and Conference.

T​he virtual museums were composed of 10 museums with architectural designs inspired by iconic symbols of Mindanao including the Tapayan, Uyayi, Tambol, Kaban, Lamin, Balangay, Dabakan, Kulintang, Vinta, and Bakaw.

According to Millan, once users logged on to the portal, they were directed to a virtual museum where they could walk through and see different artworks in detail.

“Imagine what the pandemic and technology have brought us, unlimited space for arts. It created a whole new perspective, a whole new level of art that we were not able to think before the pandemic. This is really good for the artists, but the audience has to know how to view artwork online because it is different from looking at art face-to-face. I think it opens a whole new better world,” he said.

Makati City Pabakuna

Millan will serve as one of the storytellers in PLDT and Smart’s Better Today, which is a collaborative platform for changemaking in the digital space. Better Today recently launched its Time Capsule Project which includes Better Today Conversations, a virtual storytelling series on mental health and wellness. The program emphasizes the companies’ commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly UN SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being.

Millan will share his story on how he pursued his passion with purpose by creating art as a platform to tell his story and the story of Mindanao. Millan also underscores the importance of art in the community as a way to create a culture of empathy and kindness.

To know more about the Time Capsule Project and the details on how to join the art festival, please follow Better Today PH at (@bettertodayph) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


About PLDT

PLDT is the Philippines’ largest integrated telco company. Through its principal business groups – from fixed line to wireless – PLDT offers a wide range of telecommunications and digital services across the Philippines’ most extensive fiber optic backbone, and fixed line and cellular networks.

PLDT is listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE:TEL) and its American Depositary Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:PHI). PLDT has one of the largest market capitalizations among Philippine-­listed companies.

Further information can be obtained by visiting www.pldt.com

About Smart

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is a wholly-owned wireless communications and digital services subsidiary of PLDT, Inc., the Philippines’ largest and only integrated telco company. Smart serves approximately 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities with its combined 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE network*, providing mobile communications services, high-speed internet connectivity, and access to digital services and content to over 71.4 million Filipinos*, through its commercial brands Smart, TNT, and Sun. Smart also offers satellite communication services under the brand Smart World.

As part of PLDT’s massive digital transformation program, Smart has committed to give more than 90% of the population access to its most advanced LTE network, in order to support the country’s growing digital economy, as well as provide the best customer experience for an increasingly digital Filipino lifestyle.

*as of end-2019

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