Home>Editorial>Miscellaneous>Pulilan’s Mandala Fest garners Bulakenyo artists

Pulilan’s Mandala Fest garners Bulakenyo artists

For its 12th year, the Pulilan Mandala Art Festival featured a month-long series of exhibits and events spearheaded by Jefarca Arts, Historical Society Inc., and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), with support from the Local Government of Pulilan, the Provincial Government of Bulacan, and in partnership with SM Center Pulilan.

The yearly celebration of the Pulilan Mandala Art Festival cultivates the growth of Bulakenyo artists and resists the rapid modernization that is gradually drying up the acres of paddy rice fields in what was once agricultural land in Bulacan. Contrary to the popularized meaning of mandala, which refers to the significant geometric patterns found in Hindu and Buddhist art, the “mandala” in this festival refers to the Filipino term of stacks of rice stalks and hay resembling a hill in the rice fields during harvest season. Andrew de Guzman, president of the Pulilan Jefarca Arts and Historical Society Inc. and director of the Mandala organizing committee, started the festival in 2012 to advocate for the preservation of rice farms through visual art displays.

The festivities kicked off in May with the opening of the Maestro Bulakenyo exhibit, showcasing works by Bulakenyo artists who have brought Philippine art to both national and international art scenes. Notably, the exhibit included works by the late visual artist Al Perez, who was part of the NCCA’s Committee on Visual Arts from 1991 to 1993, when the agency was known as the Presidential Commission for Culture and the Arts, and continued his involvement until 1996.

The 12th Pulilan Mandala Art Festival opened on May 10, 2024, at SM Center Pulilan, with the theme “Ang Ating Sining sa Nagbabagong Panahon.” The center of the mall was transformed into an art exhibit displaying numerous artworks. The event featured the National Artist for Literature and former NCCA chairman Virgilio Almario as the guest of honor. NCCA executive director Dr. Eric B. Zerrudo presented a lecture on culture and tourism titled “The Tourism We Want,” while NCCA-NCVA (National Committee on Visual Arts) head Dr. Dennis Montera discussed the challenges posed by AI in a talk titled “Dual Nature of AI in Art.” The program concluded with Prof. Toym Imao’s lecture on “The Transformative Role of Public Art in Shaping the Art Community.” Other notable attendees included Ana Datu, AVP for Operations at SM Center Pulilan; Dr. Eliseo S. Dela Cruz, Department Head of the Provincial History, Arts and Culture and Tourism Office; Hon. Maritz Ochoa-Montejo, Mayor of Pulilan; and Mr. Richard Daenos, Director of DOT Region III.

A special segment, “Parangal Para sa mga Haligi ng Sining na Naging Bahagi ng Mandala,” honored Reuben Cañete, Jose Alberto “Joey” Tañedo, Leonilo “Neil” Doloricon, Alexander L. Quizon, and Egai Talusan Fernandez, who served as NCVA head from 2007 to 2010 and 2017 to 2019. Their families or representatives received awards sculpted by Rex Tatlonghari. Proceeds from the art exhibit will fund the publication of a commemorative book titled “Katuparan,” which will document the 12 years of creativity, innovation, and community spirit defining the Mandala Art Festival. The art exhibit will be on display until May 28 at SM Center Pulilan.

Journal Online
A collection of noteworthy information on various topics from the Philippines and the rest of the world.