Arts & Culture: Shortlist Announced for Ateneo Art Awards’ Fernando Zóbel Prizes for Visual Art and Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism


Now on its 16th year, the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) and its partner institutions continue to give recognition to contemporary artists and art writers and art writers through the annual Ateneo Art Awards (AAA). 

Fernando Zóbel Prizes for Visual Art

First established in 2004 in honor of visual artists and AAG’s first benefactor, Fernando Zóbel, this award recognizes young and upcoming Filipino visual artists under the age of 36 whose works were exhibited within a one-year period, between May 2, 2018 – May 1, 2019. 

A total of 85 nominations were received after AAG’s call for nominations last March 2019. These nominations were submitted by museum and gallery directors, artists, curators, art writers, and art educators residing in the Philippines. In alphabetical order, the twelve (12) artists shortlisted for the Ateneo Art Awards 2019 – Fernando Zóbel Prizes for Visual Art are: 

  • Zean CabangisSomewhere, Anywhere 

Using acrylic, photography, collage, and emulsion transfer, Zean Cabangis crafts layers of monochrome landscapes interrupted by brightly colored lines and planes that give his works a whimsical, dreamlike quality. Frequent travels often fuel the artist’s works with scenes and memories of places he has been to, as photographs are captured, dissected, and reassembled.

Zean Cabangis, Installation shot of Somewhere, Anywhere at Artinformal Makati. Image courtesy of Artinformal and Ateneo Art Gallery.
  • Lesley-Ann CaoThe hand, the secretary, a landscape 

Lesley-Anne Cao works with ordinary bells, plants, mirrors, rocks, and ears to create objects and installations that operates between recognition and self-effacement. Here, viewers find arrangements that are both identifiable and nameless; we are invited to consider what is easily missed and the fidelity of what we see.

Lesley-Anne Cao, Installation shot of The hand, the secretary, a landscape. Image courtesy of Cultural Center of the Philippines and Ateneo Art Gallery.
  • Keb CerdaSuper Nardo: False Profits 

Keb Cerda explores the integration of new media and augmented reality with traditional art forms in False Profits, as hand-painted works serve as battlegrounds in an augmented reality adventure game. Through Super Nardo, a parody of the classic “Super Mario” videogame, viewers are given the chance to experience the game through a mobile application designed specifically for Cerda’s works, each hand-painted piece representing a stage in the game as players accomplish the task at hand.

Keb Cerda, Installation shot of Super Nardo: False Profits at Untitled, Art in San Francisco, USA. Image courtesy of the gallery and Ateneo Art Gallery.
  • Ronyel CompraLutâ: Imprint of Lola Masyang’s House in Forest for the Trees 

Lutâ: Imprint of Lola Masyang’s House in Forest for the Trees is an homage to Ronyel Compra’s late grandmother, a representation of her abode which he frequented as a child – a simple structure built in Amakan bamboo sawali, coconut lumber, and GI sheets. Employing the relief print technique of rubbing or frottage, Compra creates tracings of the home’s variedly textured surfaces as a way of saving his grandmother’s memory before the structure gets eaten up by termites. 

Ronyel Compra, Detail of Lutâ: Imprint of Lola Masyang’s House, 2017-2018. Image courtesy of Fundacion Sansó and Ateneo Art Gallery.
  • Doktor Karayom Isla Inip in 2018 Thirteen Artists Awards

Isla Inip is a game about Doktor Karayom’s homeland, a miniscule Philippines in the eye of Karayom (needle). The center piece, a lying Jose Rizal, represents Filipinos who desire repletion in life amidst the heavy burden of everyday living. The board game imitates life, as imparity drudges on the players, and people need to be resourceful and innovative to win and survive. A collected powerful sarcasm, Isla Inip, chaotic and engaging, is an anagram of the word ‘Pilipinas.’

Doktor Karayom, Installation shot of Isla Inip in the 2018 Thirteen Artists Awards exhibit at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Image courtesy of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Ateneo Art Gallery.
  • JC JacintoA Crack in Everything 

In A Crack in Everything, JC Jacinto brings viewers to unfamiliar terrains of Mother Earth. Works in the exhibition show the artist’s close propinquity to nature, so close that one is brought up to see the cracks in earth’s natural surface. Jacinto conveys the impression of creating a death mask of nature with the artist’s use of saps, roots, barks, and elastomeric paint cast, an ancient practice used to remember the death of a significant and important human being.

JC Jacinto, Installation shot of A Crack in Everything at Artinformal Makati. Image courtesy of Artinformal and Ateneo Art Gallery.
  • Lilianna ManahanFrame in the Garden of Earthly Delights 

Working together with glass master Jiri Pacinek and his team of glassblowers, Manahan developed her works to present the technique and dexterity in creating her delicate glass creatures. Lilianna Manahan’s Frame series, part of the exhibition The Garden of Earthly Delights, is deeply personal – it takes from the Holy Bible Book of Psalms, celebrating the way each individual is intricately and intentionally made.

Lilianna Manahan, Delight – Monochrome, 2016, Hand-blown and hand-sculpted glass. Image courtesy of Aphro and Ateneo Art Gallery
  • Krista Nogueras Lake Predicament 

Artist Krista Nogueras examines human responses through “Sensitization and Desensitization” by creating ceramics and sculptural forms drawn from primordial ad grotesque structures. Heavily influenced by mythology and folklore, Nogueras forges a situation that invites anxiety and fear through pre-conceived notions of images that might induce terror and consternation.

Krista Nogueras, Installation shot of Lake Predicament at Artinformal Makai. Image courtesy of Artinformal and Ateneo
  • Archie Oclos Lupang Hinirang in 2018 Thirteen Artists Awards 

A street artist with a Fine Arts degree, Archie Oclos creates large-scale works that are politically charged, referencing a nation crippled by its sociopolitical anxieties. Exhibited at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Lupang Hinirang presents Oclos’ distinct imagery with his works that deviate from the exaggerated caricatures seen in graffiti art, employing learned techniques to create figurative murals of current social realities.

Archie Oclos, …Ang Mamatay ng Dahil Sayo, 2018, Mural. Image courtesy of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Ateneo
  • Henrielle Baltazar PagkaliwanganTimestamps 

Henrielle Baltazar Pagkaliwangan creates images that are small in scale yet expansive in scope. She is drawn to the graphic qualities of drawing and printmaking, employing lines to render minutely-detailed objects, mundane or meaningful, often affiliated as a collection . In Timestamps, she records the intangible – time – through a series of thirty (30) monoprints depicting a panoramic view of Manila Bay seen from the studio of the Association of Pinoyprintmakers at the CCP Complex.

Henrielle Baltazar Pagkaliwangan, Installation shot of Timestamps at Finale Art File. Image courtesy of Finale Art File and Ateneo Art Gallery
  • Jel Suarezobject reader 

The ritual begins days before the first cut is even made: our hunter surveys the field in the hopes of a promising prospect. A specimen, one that hawks statues, pottery, and relics is highly ideal. Snag a fresh one and she’ll be set for days. Now onto the pages. The work resumes once this book is brought home, laid down on the cutting room floor and flayed open. Within each page are countless, more valuable artifacts waiting. And this proves to be the true object of the hunt (Gary-Ross Pastrana)

Jel Suarez, Installation shot of of object reader at MO_Space. Image courtesy of the artist and MO_Space.
  • Costantino ZicarelliYears of Dust Will Build A Mountain 

Constantino Zicarelli’s works straddle the line between beauty and ruin, working across installation, sculpture, drawing, and painting. In Years of Dust Will Build A Mountain, Zicarelli continues the exploration of his art practice as a creative and destructive force. He revisits figure drawings in graphite while exploring new medium and techniques with etched glass with ethereal forms and wood assemblages, as he continues contemplating on his artistry, investigating the unknown.

Costantino Zicarelli, Installation shot for Years of Dust Will Build A Mountain at Artinformal Makati. Image courtesy of Artinformal Makati and Ateneo Art Gallery


Purita Kalaw – Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism 

In honor of art writer and Art Association of the Philippines founder, Purita Kalaw-Ledesma, the Ateneo Art Gallery and Kalaw-Ledesma Foundation Inc. (KLFI) established the Ateneo Art Awards – Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism in 2014 to encourage art writers and to get art criticism into the public sphere. This award provides exposure and opportunities for winning writers to be contributors to a national newspaper or an international art magazine. 

Four (4) writers made it to the shortlist. In alphabetical order, the shortlisted writers for the Ateneo Art Awards 2019 – Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism are: 

  • John Alexis Balaguer 
    • Everywhere is Here: The Museum as Heterotopia in Mark Higgins’ Gold in Our Vains
    • On Gold in our Veins: Mark Lewis Lim Higgins at they Ayala Museum
    • 18 February – 14 April 2019
  • Janina Gwen Bautista
    • “Nasaan ka na, Mara-bini?” Drawing Out Women and Comics Out of the Periphery
    • On Nasaan Ka Na, Mara-Bini? Francisco V Coching Centennial Exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines
    • 29 January – 7 April 2019
  • Jeckree Mission 
    • A Confrontation with Gendered Bodies in Southeast Asia
    • On Gendered Bodies in Southeast Asia at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila
    • 26 January – 7 April 2019
  • Mariah Reodica
    • Saltwater Trajectories: Bisan Tubig Di Magbalon, and Viva Excon as Cartographer
    • On Bisan Tubig Di Magbalon (Don’t Even Bring Water) at Viva Excon Capiz 2018
    • 8 – 26 November 2019

The two (2) winners will be chosen for the Purita Kalaw – Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism who will each contribute to The Philippine Star and ArtAsiaPacific Magazine. The winner for The Philippine Star will be awarded a regular column under “Platforms” in the Arts and Culture section of the newspaper, while the winner for the ArtAsiaPacific Magazine will contribute to the bi-monthly publication for one year. 

The Ateneo Art Awards 2019 exhibit is now on view at the Grand Atrium of Shangri-La Plaza from 17 July – 25 July 2019. The show will then be moved to the third floor of Ateneo Art Gallery in Areté from 6 August – 27 October 2019. Winners will be announced at the awarding ceremony set for August 18, Sunday, 4PM at the Suthira B Zalamea Lobby, Soledad V Pangilinan Arts Wing Areté in Ateneo de Manila University

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