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HomeProvincial NewsAffirming life amid tragedy: Arts Month celebration in Maylan

Affirming life amid tragedy: Arts Month celebration in Maylan

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HIMAMAYLAN CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Leading artists who came here, and officials of this southern Negros city agree that this year’s celebration of Arts Month of the National Commission for the Culture and Arts (NCCA) is not simply going through the motions but carries a deeper meaning amid fear and death brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Various local artists of Himamaylan City gather at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Hall for the rehearsal for the Arts Month celebration today, 530pm..
Various local artists of Himamaylan City gather at the Sangguniang Panlungsod Hall for the rehearsal for the Arts Month celebration today, 5:30pm..

And it carries a lot of symbolism.

For one, it would be the first time that a hybrid presentation fusing dance, indigenous music, and film was prepared to be streamed live over a digital platform, DNX News, to avoid clustering of people.

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It would be the first time, too, that local artists and the community of this former provincial capital were mobilized in bringing concepts to life for the celebration on Monday, 15 February 2021, Alejandro “Bundo” Deoma, adviser for special concerns to Mayor Raymund Tongson, told DNX News.

The rondalla band and the contemporary and pop dancers..
The rondalla band and the contemporary and pop dancers.

Deoma, himself a theater artist, added the Monday activity also signaled in a way the start of another first: the cultural mapping here that is expected to start March, this year.

This city, Deoma said, would be the first to have a cultural mapping in Negros island.

Leading theater artist Ishmael “Maeng” Java explained that a cultural mapping, in essence, is a government activity through the NCCA that seeks to bring out the “identity of a place, people and culture.”

Renowned Negrense artists. Theater artist Ishmael "Maeng" Java, with microphone, gives his critique for the performers as another artist, Rudy Reveche, listens on. Both congratulated the local artists and the local officials for mounting a hybrid performance. "The support your officials give the arts is enviable," Reveche tells the crowd.
Renowned Negrense artists. Theater artist Ishmael “Maeng” Java, with microphone, gives his critique for the performers as another artist, Rudy Reveche, listens on. Both congratulated the local artists and the local officials for mounting a hybrid performance. “The support your officials give the arts is enviable,” Reveche tells the crowd.

Tongson, for his part, said today’s celebration is not simply an activity but a “statement” by the local government and Himamaylanons that “We will not give up” despite the pandemic that has brought even giant economies to heel.

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“That’s how we have been doing things, as one city, as a community,” Tongson added.

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manoy
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

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