The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Kaisa Sa Sining (KSS) Mindanao announces the recipients of the 1st GADOR Awards namely Joey Ayala (Davao City), Dr. Steven P.C. Fernandez (Iligan City), Nestor Horfilla (Davao City), Agnes Locsin (Davao City), Sunnie Noel (Marawi City & Dipolog City), Maria Wanan Todi (Lake Sebu), Integrated Performing Arts Guild (MSU-IIT Iligan City), and Sining Kambayoka Ensemble (MSU Marawi City).
The Kaisa sa Sining Regional Arts Centers is a partnership program of the CCP thru its Cultural Exchange Department (CED) that was launched in 2014 and is aimed at strengthening further the CCP’s linkages and cooperation with regional educational institutions, non-government organizations and local government units in order to broaden public participation in the arts, promote and showcase artistic excellence and facilitate a vibrant collaboration between and among communities. In the past six years, the cooperation and exchanges between and among CCP and the KSS network have become more dynamic. To date, the KSS network has already grown to a total of 50 organizations in 46 areas/communities in the regions: 19 in Luzon, 14 in Visayas and 17 in Mindanao.
The Gador Awards: A Salute and Gratitude to Outstanding Mindanao Artists, Cultural Workers & Organizations, was one of the action plans and projects that the KSS Mindanao agreed to implement during a KSS regional forum held in Koronadal City last 2018. In fulfillment of this plan, the CCP CED facilitated the conceptualization and planning of the project. In early June 2019, a five-member technical working committee (TWC) was formed by the CED composed of key representatives from four KSS Mindanao organizations with CED as the lead facilitator. The program guidelines were made and disseminated to all the KSS Mindanao network in August 2019. The nomination period was from August 2019 to January 2020. The Selection Committee (SC) was formed in December 2019 composed of prominent leaders/artists/practitioners from various communities and sectors in Mindanao. The final deliberation and selection was held on February 13, 2020 in Davao de Oro.
The Gador Award aims to give recognition to deserving Mindanao individuals and/or organizations who have exemplified commendable work and services in cultural and artistic endeavors, and have been in the forefront of the research, development, preservation, education and promotion of arts and culture in Mindanao for at least ten (10) years or more. The general criteria indicate that an awardee must have made exceptional accomplishments in creative work, leadership, resource management, education, artist support, audience development, community service, solidarity and partnership.
When asked why is it important to recognize the achievements of the artists, cultural workers and organizations in Mindanao? Felimon Blanco, Artistic Director of Teatro Guindengan of La Salle University Ozamiz City, which is one of the KSS Mindanao, shared – “Mindanao is always celebrated through the ingenious works of its highly artistic and creative people. But, rarely has it been given national prominence due to its “distance” to the “center”. The Mindanao experiences are very distinct as these celebrate the rich cultural heritage and vibrant artistic practices of the region. Recognizing the people behind these initiatives in Mindanao means elevating these for the rest of the world to take notice of the artistic excellence and cultural integrity of grounded artists and cultural workers. The Gador Award will create a stamp in the history of Mindanao arts and culture, that highlight exemplary works and advocacies that are worth emulating. It is hoped that this will inspire the next generation of Mindanao artist-leaders to continue practicing high artistry and cultural integrity in their works that are grounded on peoples’ traditions in Mindanao”.
The Chairperson and President of another member of the KSS Mindanao, The Musikahan sa Tagum Foundation Inc., Alma L. Uy, RN, maintained that the Gador Award is long overdue for Mindanaoan artists and culture specialists who deserve to be recognized for their valuable contributions and achievements in the flourishing of arts and culture not just in Mindanao but in the whole country as well.
Dr. Christine F. Godinez Ortega, Founder and Board Chair of the Mindanao Creative & Cultural Workers Group and a former Professor at the MSU Iligan Institute of Technology, another member of the KSS Mindanao, adds “Mindanao’s artists and cultural workers continue to pursue cultural and artistic activities without any recognition or promise of awards because what they do are significant for future generations. CCP had always reached out to the regions but I am happy that the CCP has embarked on this program to give recognition to Mindanao’s artists and cultural workers. This is one more opportunity for Mindanao’s artists and cultural workers to shine because they are the bearers of native cultures and traditions, and they are not just resourceful but, are equally gifted in their innovations and their contemporizing various artistic forms to show what is beautiful and diverse about Mindanao”.
CCP CED Department Manager, Chinggay Bernardo expressed, “In our continuous cultural community outreach work in four decades, we have witnessed the unique and superior artistry, dedication and perseverance of many Mindanaoan artists and cultural workers. So, we fully support the institutionalization of an awards program that will regularly give recognition to outstanding achievements of Mindanaoan artists, cultural workers & organizations. The Gador Awards, the most recent initiative and joint project of the CCP KSS Mindanao network, will certainly encourage and inspire the Mindanao artistic & cultural community to aim for excellence and do public/community service”.
The 17 CCP KSS Mindanao are: Ateneo De Davao, Central Mindanao University Musuan-Bukidnon, City of Cotabato, City of Glan, City of Koronadal, City of Tacurong, Consortium of Universities & Colleges-Cagayan De Oro City, DMC College Foundation-Dipolog City, Dumendingan Arts Guild-Pagadian City, La Salle University-Ozamiz City, Mindanao State University-Marawi City, MSU Iligan Institute of Technology-Iligan City, MSU TCTO-Tawi Tawi, Musikahan Sa Tagum Found. Inc.-Tagum City, Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges Gen. Santos City and Marbel, and St. Francis Xavier College-San Francisco-Agusan Del Sur.
Due to the present quarantine and travel restrictions, the GADOR Awards Ceremony is being held virtually. It began last July 2 and is ongoing up to July 16 from the home base of the awardees.