Fantasy artists delve into Philippine folklore

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF SHELL NSAC VISUAL artists held a virtual discussion on Philippine folklore.

The universe of kapres, tikbalangs and other mythological characters were re-envisioned by digital artists at the recent Shell NSAC Virtual Art Interact.

The creatives’ artworks revolved around the origins of the local supernatural entities — how their stories were passed on to generations through word of mouth and their modern relevance while translating the insights into masterful compositions.

Digital artist Tristan Yuviengco’s workshop featured Pinoy cryptid character design, based on his research from both oral traditions and modern depictions. Other characters that the student artists illustrated were the Visayan ugang-ugang portrayed in a whimsical rather than grotesque manner, and a kapre illustrated as a tree with arms and legs.

‘Generational String’ by Mherlo Mahinay, 1st place in Sculpture.

Meanwhile, NSAC alumnus Rovi Salegumba reiterated that for culture and tradition to evolve and survive, it needs to adapt.

“I actually see it getting modernized. I’m excited to see how the future generations would re-envision or reinterpret traditional stories such as mythical creatures,” he said.

‘Keep The Fire Burning’ by Khaila Mae Faustor, 3rd place in Watercolor.


‘Keep The Fire Burning’ by Khaila Mae Faustor, 3rd place in Watercolor.

He added that this newfound interest in Filipino mythology is still extending to other parts of our ancient culture such as the baybayin script or the written language of the pre-Hispanic dwellers of the more than 7,000-island archipelago.

As this period of cultural evolution in Philippine art unfolds, Yuvienco, who also works in animation, sees Filipino culture extending internationally: “I would see art from Filipinos outsourced abroad. I’ve also been seeing great and amazing projects and ideas made with Filipino voice and these ideas would always promote culture and new stories in a new and innovative kind of light. We have so many stories and so many ideas and I feel we’re one to tell them to the world and to other people.”

‘Akong Makita. Akong Masulti. Akong Mabuhat’ by Earl Marie Pabinguit, 1st place in Digital Fine Arts.

With its decades-long history, Pilipinas Shell’s NSAC continues to be a platform to develop and nurture young Filipino visual artists. The longest-running student arts competition in the country remains on the move towards harnessing Filipino artistry through opportunities for budding artists to develop their craft by learning from Shell NSAC alumni and established personalities in the art scene.

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