Wednesday, December 31, 2008
We released two books (launched through accompanying sold-out art exhibitions): John Santos’ and Rowald Almazar’s “Si Lupito at ang Baryo Sirkero” and Charmaine Aserappa’s and Roel Obemio’s “Message in the Sand.” The latter was also our first e-book - downloadable for free on our website, and we will make all our books similarly available in the coming year.
We had the groundbreaking Looking for Juan - Rakenrol, which saw the unique collaboration of artists and rock bands to explore the theme of “What It Means to Be Filipino.” We rocked the Ayala Museum, and were especially gratified to see that this project connected with the young (not that we’re old!).
2008 also marked the year we picked the site of the Philippines’ Friendship Park, which will rise in Puerto Princesa City in May 2009.
We explored new avenues to promote Filipino talent abroad - placing “Sol - A Legend About the Sun” on Amazon, opening communication lines (and another unique storywriting competition) with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and pushing forward with CANVAS Downstream, our US-based online store.
Speaking of downstream products, we also (very selectively) joined a few choice bazaars - Art in the Park, the Corporate Gifts Fair and the American Women’s Bazaar.
We allowed ourselves the luxury and privilege of being patted on our backs - getting invited to the by-invitation-only SKOLL Global Forum on Social Entrepreneurship; winning the National Book Award for “The Boy Who Touched Heaven” (written by Iris Gem Li, illustrated by Serj Bumatay and published in partnership with Adarna House); and winning the Gintong Aklat (Golden Book) Award for “The Rocking Horse” (written by Becky Bravo, illustrated by Elmer Borlongan).
All these activities, best of all, planted seeds for future projects and future success.
There’s so much to look forward to, and to be thankful for this coming year. At the very least, we have three - maybe even four - new books to launch, one rock CD to produce, one park to build, a couple of storywriting competitions to host, four major exhibitions to organize (including our first in the US), and a big e-book site to launch.
We’re very excited! Thank you, everyone, for all the support, guidance, prayers and help! We wish you all the best in 2009!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Searching for the perfect gift for your loved ones? Perhaps also for your friends or the discerning boss? This Christmas, 1/of Gallery offers you an opportunity to give the perfect present while supporting charity at the same time. For only PhP5,000, clients choose one artwork from a selection with an actual price range of PhP9,000-35,000. Artworks come in individual 1/of gift bags ready for giving.
Bethany House, an orphanage in Guiginto, Bulacan is the sole beneficiary in this Yuletide treat spearheaded by Bulacan-based artists Wilfredo Offemaria, Jr. and Gonzalo Uy. For each artwork chosen, a donation will be made to the beneficiary, sent by the gallery in a gift card bearing the client's name. So shop at 1/of and share the season's cheer not only with your family and friends but also with those in need.
To encourage everyone to visit the gallery for actual viewing, no images shall be forwarded via email. Further, those interested are urged to come early as only 50 artworks are up for grabs.
For further details call 901-3152 or text 0917-4039196.
*** 1/of Gallery is an alternative space for young and emerging artists and is majority-owned by CANVAS.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Transforming Art into a More Lucrative Career Choice
Monday, November 24, 2008
CANVAS is pleased to announce that Juanito Torres has been selected as our Fellow, and is the designated artist for CANVAS Romeo Forbes Children's Literature Initiative for 2009-2010.
An artwork (or our contest piece) has now been commissioned, and once completed, its image will be used as the inspiration for the next CANVAS' annual Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition. The image of the contest piece, together will the rules of the competition and other details, will be released to the public in the first week of January 2009.
* Show for Hope by Juanito Torres. 48"x48" Oil on canvas (2008). Image courtesy of Britania Art Projects. Note: This is not yet the contest piece. :-)
Some of their predictions:
- ...the U.S. dollar, while remaining important, will decline to "first among equals" among other national currencies. Similarly, the US will continue to be the most powerful country in the world, but its days as "the world's only superpower" will be over. China and India, following a "state capitalism" economic model, were likely to join the United States atop a multipolar world and compete for influence.
- Russia's potential was less certain, depending on its energy wealth and internal investment. But Iran, Turkey and Indonesia were also seen gaining power.
- A world with multiple power centers has been less stable than one with a single or two rival superpowers, and there was a growing potential for conflict.
- Global warming will be felt, and water, food and energy constraints may fuel conflict over resources.
- Global wealth was seen shifting from the developed West to the energy-rich Gulf States and Russia, and to Asia, the rising center of manufacturing and some service industries.
- A shift away from an oil-based energy system will be underway or complete by 2025. Better renewable technologies such as solar and wind power offer the best opportunity for a quick and low-cost transition.
- The risk that militant groups would use biological weapons was greater than the risk of nuclear terrorism.
- India, China and Brazil will rise, the Korean peninsula will be unified in some form, and new powers are likely to emerge from the Muslim non-Arab world.And where does the Philippines fit in all these possible scenarios? Well, the Philippines merits only a line - mainly as an example of a country with potential conflicts between a large Christian population and a minority Muslim constituency. Which really is a reflection of our relative influence in the world.
But reading the report itself, taking it as a jump-off point for stepping back and trying to see the big picture, and thinking about where we are and where we are headed - as a country and as a people and even as individuals - is a very useful exercise.
We highly recommend it.
You can download the report for free here.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
In "Eclectic," Michael continues to take the noted social realist turn seen in his works of late and exploits the malleability of his material to explore the material needs and desires of his fellow man. In this collection, Michael also shows, for the first time, his paintings on canvas. Their debut, whether as backdrop to his relief or scene against which a small sculpture rests, is evidence of his versatility as an artist.
His works have earned critical acclaim as well as commercial success in the Philippines, Singapore, Europe and USA. Testaments to his strong following in the art world are his successful exhibitions (more than fifty both locally and abroad) and the consistently positive reviews from critics and collectors alike. Among his recent successful outings were his solo exhibits in New York and Brussels in 2007 and his marked participation in the anchor show of the Philippine Art Trek in Singapore in June, 2008.
"Eclectic" runs from November 24 to December 7, 2008 at 1/of Gallery, 2/L Shops at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City. Cocktails on Monday, November 24, 2008 at 7pm. For more information call 901-3152 or email email@example.com.
"Subok" by Michael Cacnio (2008).
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Two words that are can be said to apply to the Philippines today are "press freedom" and "corruption."
The World Bank says, and many people agree, that there is a correlation between the two: greater press freedom equals less corruption. Or as Severino says, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
But, as you will probably surmise, the Philippines is an outlier - we undoubtedly have freedom of the press, and yet corruption continues not only to exist, but actually to worsen.
I've been looking at trends captured in the annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International. The following have been the Philippines' rankings among 170-180 countries in the CPI through the years, with 1 the least corrupt.
2008: 141 (out of 180 countries)
1996-98 were the latter years of Fidel Ramos, 1998-2001 was the Estrada era. It slightly improved the year Gloria took over, then went progressively downwards. The Philippines hit three digits in the election year 2004 (not coincidentally, the year of "Hello Garci"), and its ranking has been worsening by leaps and bounds since then.
So, what accounts for us bucking the trend? What do you think?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Do they have any choice? As a people and as a country, can we really have it any other way?
Check out this perceptive report from Time. Really something to think about...
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The Boy Who Touched Heaven, by Iris Gem Li (with artworks by Sergio Bumatay III) is our first National Book Award Winner as the best children's book of the year!
Inspired by the Banawe Rice Terraces, "The Boy Who Touched Heaven" won CANVAS' Elias Dakila Children's Storywriting Competition on Environment and Culture, and was published in partnership with Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan and Adarna House.
To read the story, click here.
Signed first edition hardbound copies are still available at 1/of Gallery. To inquire, please call 901-3152, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
YOUNG ECO-CHAMPION IS A NEW CHILDREN'S HERO
An exquisite art book for children, MESSAGE IN THE SAND introduces the young eco-champion, Miguel, who loves the sea and sets out to save it. He is armed with nothing but faith, imagination and his mother's love and encouragement; his only weapons are those that the sea has provided for its own preservation – seashells, seaweed and sand. With these simple tools, Miguel must battle two giants: the powerful mining company, whose toxic waste is ruining the beach and killing the beautiful fish and seabirds; and the powerful ocean that keeps washing away his words. The book teaches gentle lessons in perseverance, and in finding unusual and peaceful means to effect change. It inspires and empowers children to act against seemingly insurmountable odds, showing us how even one child can make a difference.
Proceeds from the sale of the paintings and the book will benefit and be used to further CANVAS efforts to promote Philippine art, culture and the environment. The book, and a complete range of giftware featuring the paintings from MESSAGE IN THE SAND will also be available at its online store CANVAS Downstream.
First edition hardbound versions of MESSAGE IN THE SAND are available through CANVAS, the Ayala Museum and 1/of Gallery in Serendra. A special e-book version of MESSAGE IN THE SAND, together with an accompanying teaching module, is being prepared by CANVAS, and will be made available for free downloading on its website.
Charmaine Aserappa is the author of IN A JAPANESE GARDEN (with woodcuts by Akiko Naomura; Council Oak Books, San Francisco, U.S.A 1999). A Publishers Weekly Top Ten Gift Book, an Amazon.com Five Star, Most Wished For and Most Gifted Book, IN A JAPANESE GARDEN appears on Bestselling Lists all over the world in categories as diverse as philosophy, architecture, and poetry, and is used in many schools. Charmaine Aserappa said, "It was an honor to be invited to write MESSAGE IN THE SAND for CANVAS. I am delighted with the book and hope its message will spread across the world. We all share this wonderful but fragile planet, and children must be taught that caring for it is the sacred duty of every human being."
Roel Obemio's glowing acrylic paintings for the book have been inspired by the art of Fernando Botero (Colombia), and Mauro Malang Santos (Philippines), but are entirely original, and the unique and endearing characters in MESSAGE IN THE SAND are tenderly and amusingly rendered.
For more information, please email email@example.com, or text/call +63 917.890.6160.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Perhaps the better question is, do we really need our own version of Obama - someone Filipinos can see as a transformative leader, a savior... burdened with expectations so high it would make most others dizzy?
We had one such leader before, of course, in Corazon Aquino. Talk to those who were there, especially in the giddy months of February, March and April 1986, capped by her triumphant speech in the US Congress - and the chills, tears, hopes, inspiration and dreams - not just here in the Philippines but on a global scale (as country after country will invoke her name and use people power to oust leader after leader in the late 1980s) will sound familiar.
Fast forward to today, when the hopes and dreams of EDSA have long been dashed for many (but not us - a preternaturally optimistic bunch - at CANVAS), and still we continue to look for inspiration or salvation from singular personalities.
The danger of Obama's victory for the Philippines is that many will now look to see if any in our current crop of political leaders offers similar inspiration... and we will be doomed to look in the least likely place to find one. Scan the list of likely and even probable presidentiables for 2010, and no one - absolutely no one - offers a vision of change that we can truly call, well, visionary.
And this now, is the challenge then for Juan... if we cannot find inspiration in our leaders, where will we now look?
We in CANVAS know and say that we need not look far. We only have to look within ourselves, to the people close to us and to the people we run into everyday in our everyday lives.
Obama, speaking about his recently deceased grandmother, said "She was one of those quiet heroes that we have all across America. They're not famous. Their names are not in the newspapers, but each and every day, they work hard." Anyone could just as well have been speaking about the countless Filipinos across the country, and indeed, all over the world.
Everyday Filipino heroes are all out there... and it is in this light that CANVAS, through its Looking for Juan Program, have long been conceptualizing, and will soon launch a new major event, centered on this very theme.
Details to follow...
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
No matter, it looked to us that no one really noticed, and that everyone had a great time...
We didn't tell everyone that a couple of the bands/musicians would be playing. About an hour into the opening, we had everyone move to the lobby in another section of the Ayala Museum...
...where we explained the rationale behind Looking for Juan - In Art and Rock & Roll and then treated everyone to a surprise preview of some of the songs that emerged out of this collaborative experiment.
Vin Dancel and Peryodiko rocked the Museum.
Photo credit: Rico Quimbo
We set up an LCD projector to show the images that accompanied the songs that were being played.
Cynthia Alexander followed with her songs. In the picture below, artist Plet Bolipata explains her artwork just before Cynthia played her song.
Photo credit: Elmer Borlongan aka fotobumbong
The CD with all the songs will come out, hopefully by the third week of November.
Interesting side story: Shortly before the opening, the Ayala Museum folks requested us to keep the level down to a respectable 50 decibels, to which we of course agreed, thinking that 50 decibels should be more than enough for what we had in mind.
We googled it only this morning, and found out that 50 decibels is the sound of the summer rain, or a normal conversation from three feet away.
Photo credit: Rico Quimbo
We'd like to think everyone had a grand time (unknowingly - we'd like to emphasize) breaking the 50-decibel limit.
And we thank the Ayala Museum for reassuring us this morning, despite our - really - unavoidable failure to meet their request, that CANVAS has not yet overstayed its welcome. :-)
And finally... if you know the girl below with the videocam...
or any of the people with the cameras below...
Photo credit: Rico Quimbo
...or just anyone else who may have taken pictures or videos during the event, please tell them that, if its ok, to please send us a copy of their shots/footage. Just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'd love to keep them in our files for posterity, and post them on youtube and here on our blog.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Based on a popular environmental story, Liza created large and playful acrylic on archival paper art pieces (2 pcs at 30"x68", 2 pcs at 38"x30", and 1 pc at 62"x36") - made even more whimsical by glow-in-the-dark starfish. These paintings are going to be part of CANVAS' trio of short ecofables, which will be published and launched as a single children's book in February 2009.
Here's a sneak peek at her unique artworks:
THE STAR THROWER
(Author unknown, but the inspiration is widely attributed to the writings of anthropologist Loren Eiseley)
One day, thousands of starfish had washed ashore along a beach that a man was walking upon.
As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer.
When he got closer, he saw that it was a little girl and she wasn't dancing. Instead she was reaching down to the shore, picking up starfish and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
He called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The little girl paused, looked up and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean so they won’t die."
"Don't bother, dear," the man said, "There are too many starfish. It won't make a difference."
The little girl listened politely. Then she bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves.
She then looked up and the man, smiled and said, "Well, it made a difference for that one!"
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Beyond the art and the songs (which are all great), the Looking for Juan Program allows CANVAS (http://www.canvas.ph), together with the participating artists and bands, to explore and understand the social impact of art - particularly to promote discussion and debate on the theme of the Filipino identity. We like to think that this show is even more special in that, collectively, it gives a snapshot of what some of the best young creative talents think when asked about what it means to be Filipino, at this particular point in our nation's history.
Equally important, the event is actually engaging and non-intimidating, something that everyone can attend - to simply enjoy the art while listening to the music, or to think and discuss. We think it will be fun, and we hope to see you there.
Here's a sneak peek: The song was composed by Loquy, and the artwork for it created by Alfredo Esquillo.
Hinahanap ang sarili sa mga kanta ng iba
Hinahanap ang sarili sa mga salita ng makata
Nalulunod sa iba’t-ibang impluwensya
Natabunan ang sarili… di na makita….
Hanap… Hahanapin mo hanggang sa dulo ng mundo
Hanap… Hahanapin mo natabunan ka na at ika’y nabaon.
Nakakumot ang sarili sa dilim, tuyo na’ng luha
Nakaramdam ka ng sakit, paalala lang na ika’y buhay pa
Nagpalunod. Inspirado. Gawing pintura …
Mas makulay ang ‘yong dugo… Magpakilala.
Hanap… Hahanapin mo hanggang sa dulo ng mundo
Hanap… Hahanapin mo natabunan ka na at ika’y nabaon.
Ang bulong ng pag-ibig mo’y di marinig sa disyerto
Sa gubat man wala pa rin, kusa ka lang dadalawin….
Hanap… Hahanapin mo hanggang sa dulo ng mundo
Hanap… Hahanapin mo natabunan ka na at ika’y nabaon.
LOOKING FOR JUAN (In Art and Rock & Roll) is produced by CANVAS in partnership with Ambient Media, and opens with cocktails at 630pm, October 21, 2008 at the Ayala Museum. For questions and other details, please email email@example.com.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
They will transcend their language and cultural differences through a shared vision to design and build the project. After a new park is completed, it is given as a gift to the citizens of the Pacific and to the sponsoring organization or institution in the host city. All parks are for the public, and are directly connected to the Pacific Ocean.
The Park will then become part of a network of Friendship Parks ringing the Pacific, and computer kiosks, connected to the Internet and programmed with translation software will allow visitors to chat in real time with citizens in other parks.
There are already four - in the US, Russia, China and Mexico. In May 2009, CANVAS and the Pacific Rim Park Foundation will build the fifth Friendship Park in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. (Click here to view the selected site.)
We now invite interested students to send in their applications for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Five to seven slots have been allocated for Filipinos. If interested, please signify your interest by emailing your answers to the questions below to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that participants will be expected to shoulder the costs of travel to Puerto Princesa City, as well as a token participation fee (which may be waived upon request for those who may have difficulties in raising the amount). Board and lodging in Puerto Princesa will be shouldered by the Project.
1. Contact Information:
2. Why do you want to be involved in the Pacific Rim Park Project?
3. What Languages do you speak?
4. Tell us about what colleges and/or universities you have attended and what you have studied?
5. What are you building experiences if any? What are some of your other skills?
6. What does the Pacific Ocean represent to you?
7. What do you think is the relationship between myth and architecture?
Sunday, October 5, 2008
...About your Christmas gifts! For the second year, CANVAS is joining the American Women's Bazaar on the first Mondays of October (that's tomorrow, October 6th!), November and December.
We'll have our books, prints, tote bags, wallets, and other great merchandise inspired by images from the works of some of the best young Filipino artists around.
See you there!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Aga, Charlene anchor one of two Read-Along sessions
By Kate V. Pedroso, Schatzi Quodala
First Posted 02:22:00 09/28/2008
READING CAN STILL DRAW the crowds.
Almost 300 children attended back-to-back Read-Along sessions held yesterday at the Inquirer office in Makati and on Friday at the St. Alphonsus Liguori Integrated School (Salis) in Bacoor, Cavite.
Celebrity couple Aga Muhlach and Charlene Gonzales top-billed yesterday’s session with their tandem-reading of Ramon Sunico’s “Two Friends, One World” before an audience of 130 children. On Friday, Pinoy Dream Academy third-placer Miguel Mendoza read Iris Gem Li’s “The Boy Who Touched Heaven” during a special Read-Along session before 140 students of Salis.x x x
Mendoza, Pinoy Dream Academy third placer, said he was actually more nervous reading to the kids than when he was on the singing competition.
“Maybe it’s because I’m more used to singing than storytelling,” he said. He read Li’s book which had won the Elias Dakila Storywriting Competition on Environment and Culture (of CANVAS).
To read the whole article, click here.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Looking for Juan
Opens with cocktails at 630pm on October 21, 2008 at the Ayala Museum.
Seven visual artists: Plet Bolipata, Elmer Borlongan, Alfredo Esquillo, Karen Flores, Manny Garibay, Winner Jumalon and Mark Justiniani
Collaborate and interact with
Seven rock bands: Dong Abay, Cynthia Alexander, Joey Ayala, Noel Cabangon, Loquy, Peryodiko and Up Dharma Down
Fourteen original paintings and rock songs all on the theme of What It Means to Be Filipino.
The Star Thrower
The first one-woman show of artist Liza Flores
Opens with cocktails on October 27, 2008 at 1/of Gallery, Shops at Serendra, Global City
Based on a popular environmental story, Liza Flores paints large and playful acrylic on archival paper works - made even more whimsical through the creative use of glow-in-the-dark paint - that will be used as illustrations for CANVAS' book of three very short ecofables for children to be launched in February 2009.
Message in the Sand
A major art exhibition and children's book launch
Opens with cocktails at 630pm on November 27, 2008 at the Ayala Museum
Our latest environmental children's book, written especially for CANVAS by international bestseller Charmaine Aserappa, and rendered as large scale acrylic on canvas works in his signature naif style by Roel Obemio, Message in the Sand tells a timely tale of the power of an individual - even a young child - to make a difference.
You are all invited to these very exciting events! See you there!!!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I love my iPhone, but the feeling isn't always mutual. Sometimes it just sits there, frozen, doing nothing, completely unresponsive to my touch. I wonder, Did I do something wrong? Is it me? As an MIT-trained technologist, it gives me only cold comfort to know that it's not.
The gleaming devices that surround us are intrinsically different from designed objects of the past. They simply don't work all the time, nor do we expect them to. We're obsessed with the potential of our gadgets, yet we constantly bump into this kind of turbulence. Bottom line: Technology is outpacing our ability to use it. And it's the job of designers to restore balance to this equation.
Technological advances have always been driven more by a mind-set of "I can" than "I should," and never more so than today. Technologists love to cram maximum functionality into their products. That's "I can" thinking, which is driven by peer competition and market forces. (It's easier to sell a device with ten features than one.) But this approach ignores the far more important question of how the consumer will actually use the device.
This is a big reason I left MIT to become the new president of RISD, where clay pots are still thrown and decorated in tune with the ancients. Many who don't know me believe that I've been brought to RISD to "computerize" the college. Quite the contrary. When I welcome my first incoming class this fall, I plan to focus on how RISD's core ideals of art and design can humanize our advancing technologies. Or, put another way, to focus on what we should be doing, not just what we can.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
You can read her story, as well as Kelly Sonnack's very thoughtful review and feedback on it by going to our Tales from the Canvas blog.
The other great stories that made the final shortlist are still posted there:
Daisy Chain by Becky Bravo
Tala, the Star that Could Not Sleep by Augie Rivera
Why the Sea is Blue and Salty by Agay Llanera
The Comet, the Cloud and the Rainbow by Raissa Rivera-Falgui
Congratulations to all the writers! The process of this unique competition was an amazing learning experience for all of us, and we look forward to doing this again next year!