Friday, October 23, 2015

Alay Sining 8: Art with a Heart Press Conference at DDB, BGC, Makati

I was invited by Ms Millet Liberato of DDB to attend an press conference organized by the Rotary Club of Makati West (RCMW), just one of the 46 branches in Makati alone. The venue was at the DDB main office located in McKinley Hill, Bonifacio Global City, Makati. Called Alay Sining, the event is a grand showcase of artworks created by some of the most talented artists in the country today. The art exhibition is used to create a fundraiser which aims to provide funds for deserving minor indigents to undergo open heart surgery. Under this scheme, artists are given an avenue to sell their works and donate some of the proceeds to the noble cause.  

Alay Sining is on its 8th year with the theme "Art With a Heart". The exhibition, consisting primarily of sculpture art, will be held at The Gallery, Greenbelt 5, Makati City from November 12 to 15, 2015. 

According to RCMW President Victor “Junvee” Vital, supporting the art-for-a cause exhibit gives an opportunity to promote a two-pronged initiative: exposure for local artists and support for Filipino children who need the operation badly.

According to Paolo Delgado, this year’s chairman of the exhibit’s Organizing Committee, the event will be joined by over a hundred artists from all over the Philippines who have sent their respective works for the exhibit.  Some were from Palawan, Mindanao and Cebu. Also, most of the artists have been supporting the Alay Sining initiative for most of its 8 year stint. 

The open heart surgery that will be funded by this event is used to treat congenital heart disease, a condition that forms in kids at a very young age. Also, the mortality rate is very high if untreated. The sad thing is that the kids who live with this condition become very weak and unable to engage in physical activity.

RCMW member and former president Roque Tordesillas said that the cost of a heart surgery in a private hospital ranges from Php 800,000 to more than Php 1 million for an open-heart surgery. However, he noted the efforts championed by the Club to bring down the costs by tying up with the National Children's Hospital and asking for government subsidies. However, the resulting cost is still astronomical at about Php 100,000 to 200,000 and is still very high for an indigent Filipino family. The funds generated by the Club will then be used to cover this amount. The operation will then be conducted by a renowned team of doctors and nurses, some members of which originated from the United States.   

Tordesillas also called the Alay Sining artists calling as the real heroes in this project due to their  generous contributions of their works, artistry, and hearts. Without them, there would be no Alay Sining.

Speaking on behalf of his co-artists, Ral Arrogante, said that doing charity completes their vocation. The activity shows his desire to work for the betterment of the lives of kids in need of medical treatments.

The event was truly an eye-opener to the dismal conditions of healthcare in the country and the initiative of the private sector to obviate this sad reality. To date, the Club has already provided more than 350 open heart surgeries to kids ranging from 6-18 years old. This feat truly is a grand testament to what the human spirit can do to help those in need.

An esteemed member of the Club, Mr. Lim, showed us around the exhibit and told us about his favorite piece of work, a metallic cart made by Mr. Arrogante. According to Mr. Lim, this piece reminded him of his childhood memories. He said so because of the fact that the cart contained softdrink can labels of brands he used to drink when he was younger. Add to that the fact that the cart contained siopao and siomai dish trays and soup ladles. I also liked the fact that Mr. Lim told us about his fascination for art as a tool to convey ideas. The importance of art, according to him, is its ability to develop culture and society as a whole. He added that art must be given value in our society. What struck me the most was his statement that while people spend money to meet their needs and their wants such as consumer goods and vanity items, they must not forget the importance of culture and literature as tools to develop themselves.

On the other hand, Mr. Arrogante mentioned that the piece was done without any form of welding. Through the use of simple tools like pliers, cutters, and hammers, he was able to craft the meticulously detailed piece. His piece is an expression of the Filipino love for food and its importance in the culture.

For more information on Alay-Sining, you can call 75303098.

The story in pictures: 

Mr. Arrogante explaining the essence of his piece. Listening are Mr. Lim and the media

The metallic cart

Note the meticulously crafted utensils

The other pieces

Sculptures are the focus of this year's exhibition.

The artists and previous beneficiaries with members of the Rotary Club of Makati

Members of the Club with beneficiaries

The members of the club

The President of the Club talking about the advocacy

Special Thanks to:

Millet Liberato of DDB.

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