New book explores Ilonggo arts in depth

The launching of the Iloilo Art Book on Monday at the Festive Walk Mall in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. (Photo from Mayor Jerry Treñas’ FB page)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Iloilo City’s artistic community, with support from public and private sector entities, hopes to further enliven the local arts scene and entice new talent through a new book that was launched on Monday, February 28.

The Iloilo Art Book, which was developed by artists in collaboration with the Iloilo City Government and the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc., includes art pieces from last year’s Iloilo Arts Festival, which showcased 200 works by 180 local artists from 13 art groups as well as independent artists.

The book also aims to promote the Ilonggo art scene and the artists’ visual art prowess, and likewise encourages the further development and engagement of younger artists into the city’s burgeoning creative industries.

The launch of the new book also coincided with the celebration of the National Arts Month in February.

Ilonggo artist Ed Defensor, who served as advisor for the creation of the book, said the book could have been “bigger, thicker, and more comprehensive” if not for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Everything was ready. We were set to start working [on the book], and then the pandemic came. So, as we know, the pandemic put a stop to our activities. But nevertheless, the dream of having our own art book was pursued,” Defensor said.

He said the book should inspire other artists who were not yet featured to keep treading, even as he broached that future editions are now in the works.

“[Ilonggo] artists should remember [the Iloilo Art Book] to be an inspiration to work harder, to excel in their art, so that they would be included in future editions of the book, and they could probably have a full page for their own artwork,” Defensor said.

Rosalie Treñas, the art book’s project director, said that this is only one of the city’s steps to promote Ilonggo artistry, in addition to last year’s Iloilo Arts Festival.

“[Art] is an essential ingredient to strengthen people’s hearts. Art has a power of moving, inspiring, provoking curiosity [and] excitement, and even sending messages,” Mrs. Treñas said.

“We would like to see more Ilonggos make their passion their profession, by giving them platform and support for their creativity and artistry, and I am glad that many have rallied today to support such cause,” she added.

There haven’t been many details on the sale and distribution of the art book, but artist Rock Drilon said in a Facebook post that the book would cost ₱750 a copy.

The featured artists get their own printed copy for free.


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