‘FROM FLAMES WE RISE’: Art exhibit raises funds for Iloilo town market vendors

By John Noel E. Herrera

After almost a year since a massive fire gobbled the public market of Oton, Iloilo, local artists under Ogtonganon Visual Artists League Inc. (OVAL) launched a fundraising event through an art exhibit dubbed “Artienda” at the “ground zero” of the fire incident on Thursday, Dec 1, 2022.

OVAL said the exhibit aims to convey, communicate and bring the arts closer to the masses, as well as to share 40 percent of the proceeds with the affected market vendors and possible rehabilitation of the public market.

“Isa ini ka tikang or way nga mapakita or mapabati namon ang tingog sang mga vendors naton kay ti ang Oton (market) mismo bululigan kay wala pa gid mismo kabangon sa natabo nga trahedya sa ila last year nga pagkasunog sang tinda,” artist Steve Magbanwa said in an interview.

“Importante gid nga matagaan kag matalupangdan ang tinda kag magaan atensyon nga mabalik sa normal liwat ang sitwasyon sang vendors,” he added.

The exhibit was also inspired by the actual “tyendahan” scene as it lets people appreciate art in the simplest form “in order to achieve and direct simple informal communication with the viewers.”

Sixteen OVAL artists participated in the exhibit which showcased their unique art pieces – from paintings to wood and metal sculptures – portraying different scenes in the market and the lives of normal people.

Mostly made with acrylic paint, watercolors, mixed media, wood, and metal materials, the artworks depict different images of life, such as normal day-to-day scenes in the market, from the creative juices of artists using their brushes and carving knives, not just with colors and line accents, but emotions and ideas on the everyday struggle of people.

Magbanwa also said that the group does not have any target amount to generate from the event, but they are hoping that the community will somehow help them with their cause.

“Wala man gid kami target gid. Ang amon lang gid tuyo is makapukaw or makapanuktok sa tagipusu-on sang community or kung sin-o gusto mag-bulig, so as long as the more nga damo makabulig, mas mayo gid,” he said.

The price of the artworks start at P4,500. The exhibit runs from Dec 1 to 20, 2022 at Oton Public Market.

The group also plans to do a mural painting on the wall debris of the market to express their creativity and conduct a live art performance every Monday, until the end of the exhibit.