Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Year that Was, and The Years to Come

Where to begin?

How about with new beginnings? After over five years in Serendra, we relocated to and opened our new CANVAS Gallery and Garden in Diliman. It gives us a slightly bigger exhibition space, more flexibility for hosting events, and is a far cozier and much more fun place to think and imagine and dream.

Auspiciously, we opened with a sold-out show by Jim Orencio. We also had exhibitions by Ilustrador ng Kabataan, and Farley del Rosario.

The schedule for next year is much more tight, with more exhibitions and events in our calendar, including scheduled shows by Anton del Castillo, Dave Lock, Juanito Torres, Raymond Legaspi, Ugu Bigyan, Japs Antido, Ninel Constantino, Serj Bumatay, Rommel Joson, among others. We will also have two group exhibitions curated by J Pacena and Jim Orencio, respectively.

2012 also saw us hosting our second annual TEDxDiliman, this year around the theme of "The Future."

You can view all the great talks and special performances by clicking here.

In 2013, we'll no longer be constrained by the 100-guest limit, so TEDxDiliman will be bigger, and no less exciting. It's coming again in October 2013, so watch out for the details.

Then, too, we will start hosting TEDxDiliman Salons at CANVAS Gallery and Garden, which will be a series of smaller, more intimate gatherings of 30-40 people, sandwiched in between our larger annual TEDxDiliman. The Salons will feature only one speaker at a time complemented by a couple of carefully selected TED Talks around the event's theme, which will be followed by simple cocktails and, hopefully, great and meaningful conversations and interactions.

Attendance at the Salons will only be by invitation, but the talks will hopefully be livestreamed. Our invitees then will be very very carefully selected... we're looking particularly to invite young artists, bloggers and social entrepreneurs... in the hope that what results are creative sparks that lead to spectacular inspiration and innovation.

For a peek into what's in store for the first TEDxDiliman Salon, click here.

Of course, there's our annual Looking for Juan Outdoor Banner Exhibit at the University of the Philippines' tree-lined Academic Oval. This year, we settled on the theme of "Kalayaan", and for the first time, we were joined by a couple of artists from Cambodia. You can view all the artworks by clicking here.

And, for the third straight year, we had a satellite version at the BenCab Museum, and a few other high pedestrian traffic venues, like SM Megamall and SM Clark.

2013 will be the fifth year of our Outdoor Banner Project (how time flies!), and it's going to be BIG!

The theme is "Revolution" in tribute to the 150th birth year of Andres Bonifacio. Not without reason, the Katipunan's Supremo seems to be a favorite of many artists, and we expect to have a record number of participants this year.

We're also planning to come out with a catalog/book of selected artworks from the first five years of the Looking for Juan Outdoor Banner Project... in essence to highlight the empowering and educational potential of Philippine art.

Speaking of which, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, and this provided us with multiple opportunities --- from a landmark retrospective of martial law era protest art at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, to a mini Martial Law Museum at the University of the Philippines, to a set of small works by younger artists reflecting on the legacy of that infamous period --- to similarly highlight the enduring power of art to effect social change.

Speaking of books, 2012 was a banner year for CANVAS, not least because "Doll Eyes" won the ultimate - the National Children's Book Award! Just see the official citation, we couldn't have written it better ourselves. #SoProud.

In the crowded streets of Quiapo, things happen, like thievery, or strange magic. When a street child goes missing, hardly anyone notices. But Ella is lucky to have a loyal friend in Tin, who senses that something is amiss. Tin follows where her heart leads, with nothing but a stranger and a plastic gun to aid her. And then, when most in need, a miracle happens.

Doll Eyes is a thrilling read, a thrilling ride, through the labyrinth that is Quiapo. The illustrations capture the mystique as well as the mess of the place, join together the marvelous with the everyday, and paint eerie portraits of a terrible dollmaker, and her terrified and helpless dolls. This gripping horror story confirms our worst fears, withers our hopes, then restores us to the strength of friendship, reassuring us that help is just a prayer away.

(Written by Eline Santos. Artworks by Joy Mallari. Citation by Celeste Aida Abad-Jugo.)

And, in 2012, we released two new books that, as always, we'll be proud to submit for consideration, anytime, anywhere.

Our latest children's book, Nadia and the Blue Stars (written by Francesca Nicole Chan Torres, artworks by Liv Vinluan), was launched at a sold-out art show at the Podium.

2012 also saw the release of our highly anticipated "Rizalpabeto", featuring hand-sketched iPad artworks by Elmer Borlongan, which accompanied Rizal-inspired poetry by Vim Nadera.

For 2013, expectations are already very high for Here be Dragons (written by Victor Ocampo with artworks by Jon Jaylo), our next book from the Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition.

We expect similar fever-pitch interest in a book of lesser known tales from Aesop's Fables, if only because of the artist involved. :-)

And after that, the process for selecting our next winning author is already underway after a record number of stories were submitted for Daniel de la Cruz's inspiration piece, seen below.

And there are more books to come - we actually have at least six in the pipeline through 2014!

Those of you who have been with or following us through the years know that CANVAS has always strived to make all our stories fully accessible and affordable, for which reason our books have always been downloadable for free on our website.

Still, we realize that nothing compares with the feel of an actual book, especially in the hands of young and beginning readers. So just as we did last year, we've sourced funds - from grants to corporate partnerships to individual donations, both direct or via Global Giving - to donate tens of thousands of books to children in public schools, hospitals and disadvantaged communities throughout the Philippines.

Let us end this rather lengthy review by saying that of all that we've done, this is the activity that we are most proud of. We truly believe that very few things are as life-changing as helping a child become a lifelong reader, not only by helping him or her to learn to read, but more importantly, by using great art and stories to teach him or her to love books.

All these successes are not only CANVAS'... they are yours as well, and we are sincerely grateful for all the support and encouragement you have given us in the past seven years. We look forward to continuing our journey with you in the years to come.

Thank you and Happy Holidays to all!

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