Saturday, February 9, 2013

The HA? Project

One of my first weeks after moving to Dumaguete, I was introduced to Hersley-Ven Casero, a visual artist and manager of the Creative Department and art instructor at Foundation University.  When I met Hersley, he was organizing a collaborative art show for the VIVA EXCON "Pagpahiluna" Biennale in November 2012.  He invited me, along with 100+ others, to paint a rendition of the "Laughing Boy" portrait to display at the Biannale.  This was such a fun project, and it reminded me that I am a painter/artist and that I should continue to create art.  You can view my painting in this blog post. My HA? Painting

Today, the 100+ art works painted for the HA? project were a great success!  36 selected portraits (mine included) were displayed at Kri restaurant in Dumaguete, and purchased by an art patron from Manila. These works are now hanging in a metropolitan condo in Manila. (HA?: "Laughing Son of Man" sold for P3,500 or @ $85) 

After having such success with the first HA? project, Hersley is making it a life-long mission to continue elevating the arts by collaborating on more HA? project exhibits.  Since then, Hersley has worked with two more groups; where he has motivated disadvantaged boys from Dumaguete, and organized the largest on-the-spot art competition in Bais City, a town 50 kilometers north of Dumaguete.  I was asked to be the judge chairman for this most recent HA? project in Bais City. 

I traveled to Bais City with Hersley and photographer and assistant Benzi for two days.  On the first day, we organized 127 youth from Bais to paint their versions of the "Laughing Boy".  A full day, but a pleasure to see how three primary colors; red, blue, and yellow and a touch of white acrylic can transform into so many hues and shades.  The following day, the event started around 2pm where mayor Karen Villanueva spoke about the importance of art followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony.  Soon after, I announced the winners in two categories: elementary and high school.  Afterward, the contestants took their pictures beside the paintings and with Hersley, myself, mayor Villanueva, and parents.  It was a high energy day leaving a huge grin on my face.  After Hersley and I returned from Bais City, one of the most popular radio shows, Energy Star, asked to interview us about the event.  We were broadcast-ed live throughout Dumaguete early Thursday morning, February 7, 2013.  This was a very busy and fulfilling week, and I'm excited to see where the HA? will go next.

Visit the Facebook page to follow more on the HA? project. HA?

The HA? project displayed works for the VIVA EXCON "Pagpahiluna" Biennale 2012 - Photo by Paul Benzi Florendo

Disadvantaged boys holding up their HA? versions in Dumaguete City. - Photos by Hersley-Ven Casero

The HA? project in Bais City.  127 artists from multiple elementary and high schools in Bais City. - Photo by Paul Benzi Florendo

Mayor Karen Villanueva cuts the ribbon to honor the grand launching of the 21st National Arts Month in Bais City.  Hersley-Ven Casero and I are pictured right of Karen to assist the ribbon cutting. Behind mayor Villanueva is Emmylou Paulio Violeta, curator and host of the Bais City art show. - Photo by Paul Benzi Florendo

 Announcing the top ten finalists of the elementary school age category.  - Photo by Benzi

 Hersley awards the first prize winner a HA? project t-shirt with Karen Villanueva.  - Photo by Benzi

Hersley and I pictured with the first prize winner of the high school category in front of the wall of "Laughing Boy" portraits.  - Photo by Benzi

Taking my picture with one of the top ten finalists from the elementary school age category.  I purchased this painting for 500pp from the young artist, I couldn't resist such talent from an adorable 3rd grader.  - Photo by Benzi

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