An oil-on-canvas painting inspired by Jim Pascual Agustin’s poem “The Boy in the Chair” emerged as the first-prize winner of the 1st Gawang Agustin Art Competition organized by San Anselmo Publications, Inc. The winning work entitled “Foul Play” by 19 year-old Fine Arts student Andrhea S. Juarez bested over 500 young artists who heeded the challenge to create artworks based on Agustin’s poems from his books How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter & other poems, and Crocodiles in Belfast & other poems.
“I cannot express how sincerely grateful I am to be the recipient of this award. It is indeed a great honor and a privilege,” Ms. Juarez wrote in a letter to the organizers.
Other winners were Victor Kim L. Naquila, second place (for the work entitled “Alter Ego,”); Colleen C. Rilloraza, third place (“Gunita”); Alvin P. Cendaña, fourth place and People’s Choice (“The Universe Within”); Clarisse T. Fajardo, fifth place (“Mr. Gator, Meals are Best Served Behind Bars”); Christyl Infante, sixth place (“Collateral Damage 5457”); and Angelo M. Greñas, seventh place (“Antecedents of War)”.
Those who made it to the semifinals of the competition included Patrick Loubert B. Custodio (“Will Forever Be Missed”), John Cesar C. Armero (“Conscious Learning”), Gemcel John L. Pico (“Magpapatuloy Pa Ba?”), Mark Joussef R. Amazona (“Mourning the Death of a Mother”), Josefino Nino O. Ligan (“Fondest Memory”), Jayson C. Dayday (“Voyager Passion”), Yanmar C. Barrera (“Paraisong Salat”), Ariane Merlyne O. Ignacio (“Sa Muli”), Chelsea T. Toring (“Door Dimensions”), and Aldan Rae Ira Tubo (“The Mob”).
All three judges—noted visual artists Grandier Bella and Celeste Lecaroz and award winning author Jim Pascual Agustin—were impressed with the quality of submitted works, which ranged from digital art and drawings to watercolor, oil, and mixed media.
“To choose the top awards was in fact difficult, considering the breadth and scope of very good entries from talented, gifted students,” said Mr. Bella who spent two days reviewing the entries.
Mr. Agustin himself was surprised with the enthusiastic response of the artists. “The sheer number of entries was astounding, considering it is a new art competition that was announced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The quality and variety of work submitted show great promise for Philippine art among our youth,” said Mr. Agustin whose How to Make a Salagubang Helicopter … book was nominated for National Book Award in 2019.
That San Anselmo Publications encouraged the artists to create new work based on a poem that resonated with them proved to be a big motivator. “A competition such as this based on literature tends to bring out the creativity from participants,” said Mr. Bella. “I am optimistic that as San Anselmo envisions this contest as a yearly endeavor, this initiative will harvest the artistic geniuses amongst our youth in the years to come.”