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I. Formative Years – The Jose Joya Years 1987 -1995

       One of the most active and dynamic committees, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Committee on Visual Arts (NCCA-CVA) is under the Subcommission on the Arts (SCA). The committee was formed upon the inception of the Philippine Commission for Culture and the Arts (PCCA) in 1987.

       During a meeting of the different national committees conducted by the SCA at the National Arts Center, Los Baños, Laguna on August 17 to 19, 1987, the late Jose T. Joya was elected Head of the Committee on Visual Arts. Dean Joya was a noted abstract expressionist painter and a former Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts.

       The committee formulated the following objectives: to articulate and analyze problems of visual artists on a national level and to recommend solutions to these problems; to strengthen networking by organizing visual arts groups; to tap non-government agencies and encourage them to support the government in its undertakings on the visual arts; to work for the protection of all visual artists; and, to plan and develop outreach projects that will develop awareness among people at the grassroots level on the relevance and importance of arts in their lives.

       The committee became active with the help of noted artists like sculptor Solomon Saprid, former Director of the Philippine High School for the Arts Virginia Flor Agbayani, and painters Fred Liongoren, Lex Cachapero and Gig de Pio.

       The regular monthly and bimonthly meetings became discussion groups amongst visual artists that Mrs. Ma. Teresa Roxas, SCA Head commended the Committee for having the most number of participants among all other national committees.

       On February 17, 1989, formal elections were held and the following were elected as members of the CVA: Dean Jose T. Joya as Chairperson; Alfredo Liongoren as Vice-Chairperson; and Angel Cacnio, Mars Galang, Dom Briones, Benjie Torrado Cabrera, Lex Cachapero, Renato Habulan, Al Perez and Gig de Pio as Executive Committee members.

       In an effort to establish networks outside of Metro Manila, the CVA Chair Dean Joya met with the visual artists in Cebu City on February 24, 1989. The body decided to form the PCCA-CVA Region VII Regional Committee. Raymund L. Fernandez of U.P. Cebu was selected as Chairman and official representative to PCCA.  

       During a National Conference on the Arts convened by the SCA held on May 1989, the CVA recommended the formation of regional committees in Regions 9, 10 and 12 (Mindanao area). The idea was endorsed by the SCA and was approved by then PCCA Chairperson Dr. Lourdes R. Quisumbing. Mr. Ted Juanite of the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology was tasked to organize the visual artists in these regions.

       During the latter part of 1989, the committee noticed the decline in the number of visual artists attending the meetings. To attract more people to attend and participate, the committee decided to hold art and sketching sessions. These sessions attracted visual artists not only from Metro Manila but also others from the nearby municipalities and regions.

       The Kalipunan ng Manlilikhang Sining Pilipino (Visual Arts Council of the Philippines) or KAMASIPI or KMSPwas formed, a non-government organization and private organization of visual artists closely allied to the CVA. It aimed to raise funds for projects that cannot be supported by the PCCA-CVA.

       The PCCA-CVA conducted interactive paintings sessions, a “National Artists Parangal” for National Artist for Painting Cesar Legaspi, and assisted in the formation of the Arte Ethnika, an organization that traces the roots of our national identity.

       A new set of officers for the 1991-1993 term was elected. These were: Dean Joya as Chairperson; Lex Cachapero as Vice-Chairperson; and Angel Cacnio, Rafael Pacheco, Al Perez, Elizabeth Chan, Jaime Medina, Ricarte Puruganan and Solomon Saprid as executive committee members.

       Through the CVA, the Visual Arts Cooperative (VACOOP) was formed. The cooperative aimed to create funds for loans to visual artists and the encouragement of market management of art materials. To raise funds, the VACOOP conducted Artist’s Flea Markets and Portrait Sketching Sessions.

       The NCCA Committee on Visual Arts suffered a big blow with the untimely demise of Dean Jose Joya in 1995. 

II.  1995 to 1998

       In June 1995, a new set of Executive Committee members was elected. During the elections, Virgilio A. Aviado (former Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Coordinating Center for the Visual) and Prof. Brenda V. Fajardo (former Chairperson of the Department of Art Studies of the University of the Philippines), tied twice in the balloting for Chairperson. Prof. Fajardo opted to give way to Mr. Aviado to become the new Head of the CVA. Prof. Fajardo was subsequently elected as Vice-Chairperson. Imelda Cajipe-Endaya of KASIBULAN was elected as Secretary. The following were elected as Executive Committee members: Santiago Bose, Edward Defensor, Susan Fetalvero Roces, Mauro Malang Santos, Solomon Saprid, Nestor Vinluan and Paul Zafaralla.

       The new set of officers met in August 1995 and formulated their Vision, Mission and Goals (VMG). The Vision was a nationally and internationally flourishing Philippine visual arts. Its Mission was to foster and safeguard the democratic participation and representation of Philippine visual arts. Their Goals were: to consolidate Filipino visual artists; to work towards national visibility and recognition of Philippine visual arts; to strengthen visual arts capabilities through a continuing education and research program; to encourage, support, recommend and endorse Filipino artistic talent; and to give recognition through awards to deserving Filipino visual artists.

       Four subcommittees were formed, namely: Education Subcommittee with Fajardo and Vinluan as members; Exhibits and Travel Subcommittee with Bose, Defensor and Fetalvero-Roces as members; Research, Documentation and Publication Subcommittee with Cajipe-Endaya and Zafaralla as members; and, Legal Rights and Ethics Subcommittee with Aviado, Malang and Saprid as members.

       In July 1996, sculptor Solomon Saprid resigned due to health reasons. Norberto Monterona, Davao-based artist and cultural worker, took his place as Coordinator for Mindanao. Former Coordinator for Mindanao Susan Fetalvero-Roces graciously gave way for Monterona to assume that position. Ms. Fetalvero-Roces subsequently resigned from the CVA in September. Coordinator for Luzon Santiago Bose of the Baguio Arts Guild went to Australia for a residency and Edillardo Paras of the Pampanga Arts Guild took his place in the CVA.

       In December 1996 during the PADAYON, the 2nd National Visual Arts Congress in Negros Occidental, Raymund L. Fernandez was selected as Coordinator for Eastern and Central Visayas and Charlie Co, of the Bacolod-based Black Artists for Asia, was elected as Coordinator for Western Visayas.

III.  1998 – Onwards to the New Millenium

       Nearing the end of their term, the CVA called for new elections during the 3rd National Visual Arts Congress in Davao City in November 1997. The new committee would occupy their positions in July 1998 until June 2001. The delegates from each region (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and the National Capital Region – NCR) elected three representatives each.

       The NCR re-elected Brenda V. Fajardo and Imelda Cajipe-Endaya and elected Reginald “Reggie” Yuson of the Society of Philippine Sculptors.

       The Luzon delegates re-elected Edillardo “Edille” Paras of Pampanga and elected Salvador “Buddy” Ching and Orville Tiamson of Angono as their representatives in the CVA. Tiamson subsequently resigned from his post and was replaced by Eloisa May P. Hernandez who was elected during the 1st Luzon Visual Arts Congress.

       The Visayas elected Estela Ocampo-Fernandez of Cebu and Martin Genodepa of Iloilo as their new representatives. Raul Agner of Tacloban, Leyte was elected as the third representative during the VIVA EXCON V (Visayan Artists Visual Arts Exhibit and Conference) in Cebu City.

       The Mindanao delegates elected Ronald “Ron” Foriñas of Dipolog City, Norberto “Bert” Monterona of Davao, and Letina “Lea” Padilla of Iligan as their new representatives.

       The new committee decided that former CVA Head Virgilio Aviado will serve as ex-officio member of the committee.

       The committee’s first meeting was held in Cebu City during the VIVA EXCON V in July 1998. Prof. Fajardo was elected as the new Head of the Committee on Visual Arts and Imelda Cajipe-Endaya was elected as the Vice-Head. Martin Genodepa was elected as the Secretary and Estela Ocampo-Fernandez as the Assistant Secretary.

       After reviewing the previous committee’s Vision, Mission and Goals, the new NCCA Committee on Visual Arts restated their Vision as “a Philippine visual arts reflective of its culture and national identity as a people and recognized locally, nationally and internationally.”

       They decided that their Mission will be “to cultivate the cultural awareness, mature artistic production and appreciation for the individuation of all visual artists in the Philippines.”

       The following goals were set: to strengthen networking and visual arts programs in the regions; to work towards national appreciation and recognition of visual arts; to work towards international recognition of Philippine visual arts; to strengthen and deepen the visual artists’ capabilities through an art education program; to give recognition and support to deserving local visual art organizations; and to support artistic talents nationwide and provide venues for recognition through exhibitions, grants and awards.

       The CVA was then divided into the following Sub-Committees with the following sub-committee heads: Education Subcommittee with Estela Ocampo-Fernandez as Head; Exhibition Subcommittee with Norberto Monterona as Head; Research, Documentation and Publication Subcommittee with Raul Agner as Head; Policies and Advocacy Subcommittee with Imelda Cajipe-Endaya as Head; and Linkages Subcommittee with Virgilio Aviado as Head.

       They also identified the art forms that they will focus on such as painting, sculpture, graphic arts, installation art, mixed media, performance art, and photography.

       They identified the Committee’s projects for 1998 and 1999. For 1998, the projects were: TATAG SINING, the 1st NCR Visual Arts Congress held in Laguna in September; AGIMULA, the 1st Luzon Visual Arts Congress held in Vigan, Ilocos Sur in October; HELOBUNG, the 1st Mindanao Arts Festival held in Lake Sebu in November; and AGKAYKAYSA, the 4th National Congress held in Baguio City in November.

       For 1999, the committee identified the following projects: Art Writing/Teaching Workshop in the Visayas; NCR Roundtable discussions; Mindanao Visual Arts Trainor’s Training, Luzon Networking, Luzon Arts Festival and PANANAW 3.

       The PANANAW, Philippine Journal of Visual Arts, is one of the CVA’s main continuing projects. PANANAW 2 will focus on Mindanao. It will be out in early 1999.

       The committee is currently planning for the Philippine Arts Festival for 2000.

About the Author:
Eloisa May P. Hernandez teaches Humanities at the Department of Art Studies of the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She worked for the Coordinating Center for Visual Arts, Outreach and Exchange Division, and Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.