Monday, January 4, 2010

BUNGA IN BALER (December 14, 2009)

The moment Baler governor, Hon. Bellaflor Angara Castillo, joined us last December 10 at Bay's Inn after coming all the way from China, she asked what any captive audience would ask us: “What is performance art?”
During that opening ceremonies for the Tupada Action and Media Art (TAMA) International Performance Art Festival delegates she was seated fortunately next to Israel's Adina Bar-On so we passed the query to her.
Why not.
After performing in 1973 as a junior student of Bezalel Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Jerusalem, she was labelled scandalous.
Mind you, there was no Hebrew term for her or for what she did when she was just 21 years old!
Eventually, after 36 years, she was recognized by the American Israeli Cultural Foundation for her contribution to Israeli art in 2001.
Idit Porat -- one of the most respected curators and writers in Israel who did her biography entitled Adina Bar-on Performance Artist – considered her as the grand dame of performance art in her country.
“Performance art to me is all about spaces,” she almost whispered to our host, “trying to reveal, to unravel that which is not necessarily seen, attempting to be vivid or intimate that will make people connect.”
While the good governor was trying to figure out who Vito Acconci is – or Buňuel, Godard, Fellini as Adina's influences – we seized the night as if by doing a survey or sorts.
“For me, performance art is a reaction, a body movement,” Aye Ko, the director of New Zero Art Space in Myanmar, admitted, “I am fond of expressing my emotion through it.”
“I love it too,” Singapore-based Chinese installation and video artist Cai Qing seconded, “because it is the most strange of all mediums.”
“We can't express ourselves well by using language, music, or painting alone,” Japan's Midori Kadokura, while consulting her Obunsha's Study English-Japanese Japanese-English Dictionary, added, “performance art is purer, stronger, more direct and dangerous.”
Her fellowman, Tanaka Teruyuki who is no columnist: “I feel that performance art is my opinion, my editorial.”
“Yes,” smiled Thai photographer Aor Nopawan, “performance art is an alternative way of telling my story.”
Before she stormed towards the piano on stage to sing Streisand, Luzern- and Zurich-educated Barbara Sturm was her usual wildwoman self when she concluded: “I do it to let others share my thoughts.”
Hongkong's Sally Ng, a choirmaster who uses music to empower kids, does not limit to her ideas only: “By chance, I started as a performance artist by healing my personal pain. Then I see it as a platform to show something and get connection to my audience.”
All in all, performance art allows them to show the public their concern.
They stimulate people to think about certain issues, private or otherwise.
For his part, Yuan Mor' O's finale number appeared to side the former through his mantra: “Life is hard. Not here. Not for me.”
While Ateneo de Manila High School in commemorating Ateneo’s sesquicentennial year was presenting the eclectic multimedia show IGKAS last December 11, we were busy conducting a workshop before around 70 participants, including our local and foreign delegates, who served as facilitators, in a learning-by-doing activity at the Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT) where we also performed in between Adina and the trio of Yuan with Patrick and Sherry Chong.
Aurora National Science High School how a Jewish professor teach performance art on December 12 when almost everybody performed by the Baler Bay.
Solidarity Night took place in the house of their TAMA Baler leg coordinator, Rommel Espinosa, who led them to nature tour, after their performances at the Museo ng Baler and Ermita Park.
Looking back, Bunga or Fruition was the most perfect word for their 6th TAMA International Performance Art Festival that formally kicked off as early as December 7 at the Samba-Likhaan followed by jamming at the Ateneo Art Gallery, Ayala Museum, and the University of the Philippines' Jorge Vargas Museum.
After their experience with Philippine International Performance Festival in 2000, Jeff Carnay, Mideo Cruz, Thomas Daquioag, Kleng de Loyola, Boyet de Mesa, Ronaldo Ruiz, Jevijoe Vitug, and Sam Penaso founded the group called Tupada or “illegal cockfight.”
TAMA, as it is more correctly christened today, will never survive without the sacrifices of its active members like Daquioag, de Mesa, Ruiz, and Vitug who opened doors to Maki Calilung, Espinosa, Mitch Garcia, Ian Madrigal, Kaye O'yek, Sam Penaso, and Mannet Villariba, who designed all their souvenir programs and posters since 2006.
Since then they had been letting us in with such Filipino artists as Patrick Bacolor, Sherwin Carrillo, Jhay Colis, Bunch Garcia, Ceej Gomera, Marlon Magbanua, Trix Syjuco, Wire Tuazon, Bumbo Villanueva, and the likes of EXIST Sound Art Group (Erick Calilan, P.J. Soliven, Cris Garcimo and Roger Lopez) and SORO Performance Unit.
As expected, they had been sponsored by the Artists Helping Artists Collective, Aurora Provincial Governor’s Office, Center for Community and Cultural Development, Center for Community and Cultural Development, Japan Foundation Manila, Embassy of Israel, Embassy of Switzerland, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Heinrich Boell Stiftung, and Tourism Department of Baler that is presently celebrating its 400th birthday!
Yesterday, we celebrated the 4th death anniversary of our son, Awit.
Without any fanfare, we launched the certain projects of our Foundation AWIT (or Advancing Wellness, Instructions, and Talents) that included our collaboration with singer/songwriter, Joey Ayala, via a compact disc production of Palay, Bigas, Kanin which will hopefully have concert component come National Arts Month on February 2010.
All of a sudden, while we were planning for our wife's partial nephrectomy with our children, Adina Bar-On's words resounded from nowhere: “Family is the nucleus of humanity that we have to sustain.”
By then, she should have been in Israel taking care of her husband, Daniel Davis, suffering from brain tumor, which he got during his training days with their Navy's Special Unit from a polluted river.
Adina, aside from the support of their son Shahar and daughter Yasmin, will surely be assisted by her kasambahay, Emily Tomelden, from the Philippines, whose ability to give is said to be formidable and whose family watched her perform in Manila!
Before we parted ways in Baler, we with Yuan gave her a tubao and a Philippine flag pin, and she declared: “I am the most Jewish-looking Filipina in the world.” Was she performing?
No, she was not wearing any costume and makeup and mask.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents great king from history :- Spades - King David, Clubs - Alexander the Great, Hearts – Charlemagne, Diamonds - Julius Caesar.
Prayer teaches us to wait.
It clears our vision.
It calms our heart.
And it activates our faith.
Grow like the sunrise and be humble like the sunset.

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