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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Panda sculptures for the environment

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Art and environment come together in an exhibit featuring five Filipino visual artists and five panda sculptures.

The initial project of World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines’ “Art, Heart, Earth” campaign showcased the sculpted artworks of WWF’s Art Ambassadors Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera, Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, José Santos III, and Geraldine Javier inspired by the organization’s iconic panda logo. The show was presented in collaboration with Tin-aw Art Management Inc. and Secret Fresh.

Living in harmony with nature, man’s role in conservation, and the concept of sustainability and home were just some of the themes explored in the pieces created for the collection.

Benedicto 'BenCab' Cabrera's sculpture, entitled 'Kapit-Bisig,' highlights the importance of man living in consonance with nature.  

BenCab’s “Kapit-Bisig” and Borlongan’s “Wildlife Rehabilitator” highlight the importance of man living in consonance with nature. Justiniani’s “Kugos” (Carry) presents a caretaker donning a suit in the panda’s likeness to care for and protect the orphans of the species.

'Kugos' by Mark Justinianis

Santos’ idea of saving and salvaging materials through his art is reflected in his piece entitled “Natural Selection,” while Javier’s work entitled “Home” is inspired by her community in the province—stressing the importance of a sustainable environment.

'Natural Selection' by José Santos III

“We are very excited to have five of the nation’s top artists join our battle to conserve nature in the face of climate change,” enthused WWF-Philippines president and chief executive Joel Palma.

He continued, “We hope that through art, we continue to raise awareness on the urgent need to step up environmental action to protect earth’s biodiversity.”

Though they had different approaches in creating their pieces for the collection, WWF’s Art Ambassadors are united in their call for people to save the environment.

Borlongan shared that his particular concern is the destruction of our oceans. Living 10 minutes away from the West Philippine Sea, he has been a witness to how practices like dynamite fishing can harm both the environment and the fisherfolk who have lost limbs due to this. In fact, he has already created art pieces tackling this issue.

'Home' by Geraldine Javier

Both BenCab and Javier shared that plastic waste is among their most urgent concerns. They stressed the importance of setting a good example when it comes to conservation.

“We have to have discipline in cleaning up our surroundings and planting trees,” said BenCab. He related that he has planted many indigenous trees in the area near his museum in Baguio.

Meanwhile, Javier shared that she has started planting vegetables in her home to help provide food and additional income for the community living near her. She also tries to instill practices in her household that will lessen plastic consumption such as bringing reusable containers, baskets, or eco bags when she goes shopping or does her groceries at the market.

'Wildlife Rehabilitator' by Elmer Borlongan

Santos shared that he sees parallels in his work and that of WWF-Philippines'. He makes his pieces from discarded materials turning them into something that is meaningful.

“I view this process as saving and salvaging these materials from their eventual death or uselessness. And this is where I see a certain parallel with the concerns of WWF in saving nature, saving wildlife, and saving the world as a more general concern,” he shared.

For his part, Justiniani posed, “If you think about the world, it will survive… so the environmental issue is actually a human issue. If we don’t take care of it, we will lose ourselves. We know we need to take care of the environment because that is our future, the future of human beings.”

At the end of it all, WWF-Philippines’ Art Ambassadors hope that their pieces provoke questions and discourse on environmental issues among viewers.

The WWF-Philippines Art Ambassadors’ exhibition ran from April 24 to May 6 at Ronac Lifestyle Center, Paseo de Magallanes, Makati City.


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