AC-AC is giving back

‘KAKULITAN’ (2021).

Master sculptor Luis Ac-ac of Paete, Laguna, mounts a special exhibit aimed at helping fellow artists affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ac-ac Gives Back 2: Artista para sa Artista, which runs from 16 to 30 November at Artablado in Robinson’s Galleria, is his second charity exhibit and seventh solo show.

The exhibit features more than three dozen works created in recent years including the past two during the pandemic, which reached the Philippines in early 2020. These masterpieces are divided into two themes, favorite of and mastered by Ac-ac in his more than 50-year artistic career — the Filipino family and Filipino children at play.

Proceeds from the show go to Diwang Pinoy Organization, Inc., a group helping budding and displaced artists and Museo Ac-ac’s Jose D. Caancan Memorial Sculpture Competition, a Paete-based tilt for up-and-coming local sculptors.

In attendance during the exhibit opening were, among others, National Commission for Culture and the Arts chair Rene Escalante, Department of Tourism National Capital Region head Sharlene Batin representing Tourism Secretary Maria Cristina Frasco, Robinson’s Land’s Roseann Villegas, Diwang Pinoy’s Sim Zuniega and board trustee and Philippine High School for the Arts director Greg Zuniega, Jose D. Caancan sculpture competition founder Celestino Palma III, Paete Mayor Ronald Cosico, Paete Vice Mayor Virgilio Madridejos and council, and Ac-ac’s family.

Diwang Pinoy prepared a slew of impressive performances during the opening which included soprano Yvette Parcon’s renditions of Filipino classic “Sa Kabukiran” and “Sana’y Wala nang Wakas,” Soliman Cruz’s delivery of Andres Bonifacio’s poem “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa,” and Ballet Manila’s Rudy de Dios and Jasmine Daves performing a splendid number.

‘HABULAN’ (2020).

Government support

In his speech, Escalante congratulated Ac-ac and praised him for his work. He said he hopes the skills are passed on to the younger generations, which Ac-ac has been doing for many years now. He expressed that he is glad that such event was held to showcase Ac-ac’s works to a wider audience and said NCCA supports such initiative.

Escalante added that he will be “very happy if the current artist will be recognized in the Order of National Artist in the category of visual arts.”

Frasco, through Batin, sent her warm regards to Ac-ac and underscored the importance of museums and art galleries such as Artablado and Museo Ac-ac in cultural education. The exhibit, she said, helps in the understanding, appreciation, and commitment on the safeguarding of Filipino history, culture, and national patrimony. She also encouraged private sectors and stakeholders in promoting Filipino heritage.

She said the tourism department is “one with Mr. Luisito Ac-ac for keeping the memory of the rich culture of our country, our nation, alive.”

‘NAKAW na Halik’ (2022).

Living heir

In a recorded message, Senator Mark Villar, a lover and supporter of Philippine art, described Ac-ac as “a living heir of Philippine sculptural heritage [and] the foremost proponent of classical sculpture in Paete.”

Ac-ac, he said, “is best known for his interpretation of Philippine folklore, children at play, and masterpieces depicting human anatomy” and his works “best reflect the carving tradition and psyche of the old Paete.”

Villar also described Ac-ac as a fierce and tireless patriot.

“Our artists’ dedication to their craft reminds us that we are not alone in restoring our country’s distinction in the community of nations,” he said.

“Together let us continue to write this vibrant and glorious chapter in our history, drawing strength and inspiration from our rich heritage of talent, creativity, and excellence,” he added.

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