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NCCA focuses on inclusivity for National Arts Month

THE NATIONAL Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) celebrates ingenuity and inclusivity for this year’s National Arts Month (NAM).

With the theme “Ani ng Sining, Bayang Malikhain,” the 2024 iteration of the monthlong celebration aims “to outline the notion that the bountiful harvest of a Filipino creative nation is derived from collective human imagination, not just individual aspirations,” according to a press release.

NCCA executive director Oscar G. Casaysay noted that the many events and activities lined up from February to March prove how large the scope of Philippine arts has become.

“It proves once again the ability of the arts to pollinate across communities, thus offering a wide range of bounties,” Mr. Casaysay said in a speech at the NAM press conference held on Jan. 23 at the Metropolitan Theater in Manila.

“Art is essential. It’s a way of communicating… that allows us to share our history and culture in ways that can connect across languages and even allow people from other places to learn about us, to appreciate our unique characteristics as a country, as a community,” beauty queen and NCCA Arts ambassador Catriona Gray said.

“Let us extend a hand of invitation as we celebrate the arts this year,” she said in her speech.

The festivities will kick off with an opening ceremony on Feb. 23 at Rizal High School in Pasig city, where a diverse array of performances, workshops, and talks are meant to empower the young minds in attendance.

THE ACTIVITIESAn art fair in partnership with LUSONG Luzon Arts and Culture Network, Inc., ARTIST, Inc., and the provincial government of Laguna will be held on Feb. 29 from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Laguna Sports Complex. It will feature performances by ARTIST Inc.’s Tremolo Rondalla, Children’s Literature Performances (CLAP), Agarwood Rap Music, Letran Calamba’s Tining Chorale, classical guitarist Leandro Ong, contemporary dance by Corina Vallejos, spoken word poetry, and Luisiana’s Teatro de Luis y Ana.

The NCCA’s architecture and allied arts committee will host a seminar and workshop series called Saan Ka Lulugar 2024: Resiliency in the Built and Designed Environment which will explore resilience in planning, designing, and creating everything from dwellings to cities. It will be held in different locations around the country from Feb. 23 to March 21.

The NCCA committee on cinema will host the 16th Cinema Rehiyon, a festival that presents some of the finest works by filmmakers from the various regions of the Philippines. It is set to roll out from February to April, mainly in Iloilo, led by festival director Noel Galon de Leon. Its activities will include a film appreciation workshop designed by film critic, educator, and cinema committee vice-chairman Tito Valiente; the Margaha Film Festival in Sagay City, Negros Occidental; the NCCA Online Film Library available nationwide and worldwide from March to April; and the Iloilo Film Festival on Solarflix TV.

The dance committee’s Sayaw Pinoy festival, founded by its artistic director Dr. Shirley Halili-Cruz, will promote collaboration among schools, community leaders, local government units, dance directors, and artists through a TikTok dance challenge, a four-part online dance lecture series in February, touring performances from Feb. 23 to March 8 in various cities, and a culminating dance concert set in March at the Metropolitan Theater in Manila.

The 18th TANGHAL under the NCCA dramatic arts committee will have regional festivals in Laguna, Cebu, General Santos City, and Makati City showcasing works from their respective communities. A theater and storytelling workshop for children will also be held on Feb. 28 in Los Baños, Laguna; March 8 to 9 in San Fernando, La Union; March 11 to 13 in Ormoc City, Leyte; March 14 to 15 in Koronadal City, South Cotabato; March 15 to 18 in General Santos City, South Cotabato; March 16 to 17 in Makati City; March 18 to 20 in Cebu City; and March 21 in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

The National Committee on Literary Arts (NCLA) will conduct SURAT-TANGHAL in the various partner cities from Feb. 24 to March 16. Under this is SURATalakayan, which is a series of public forums, talks/lectures, workshops, literary discussions/conversations, town hall meetings, networking sessions, live readings, book launches, and small-scale book fairs.

Meanwhile, TANGHAL-AKDA refers to performances centered on regional texts interpreted by local writers, artists, theater groups, or dance troupes, which aim to make specific literary works more accessible to the public.

Musikapuluan, the project of the National Committee on Music (NCM), kicks off on Feb. 23 with a lecture-demo at Rizal National High School, Pasig City showcasing the kulintang, Cordillera music, and pop music. In Luzon, workshops will be delivered by National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) 2023 winners. Workshops will be held from March 13 to 14 in Ormoc City, Leyte. For Mindanao, there will be an event from March 8 to 9 in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

The committee on visual arts will present the Bagong Biswal festival from Feb. 23 to March 22 across various cities in the country. Under the festival is Sining Sanayan, a series of art workshops on drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed-media, and mobile photography. Sining Sinag is a physical exhibit curated by the committee with Ormoc City highlighting talents from the Visayas region. Sining Biswal Scene will gather artists to discuss current practices and challenges in the visual arts industry, while Sineng Sining will be a presentation of video features or documentaries.

This year, the NCCA will host the Ani ng Dangal awarding ceremony which recognizes artists, cultural workers, and works that have earned international awards and accolades over the past year. The 25 endorsed awardees across Architecture, Cinema, Dance, Dramatic Arts, Literary Arts, Music, Visual Arts, Folk Arts, and Broadcast Arts will be acknowledged on Feb. 29 at Malacañang Palace.

For more information, visit the NCCA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NCCAOfficial). — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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