USC Painting Student Wins National Art Competition
A student of the now-“frozen” Painting program, Mark Velez, has been crowned the Grand Prize Winner of the prestigious 2017-2018 Philippine Art Awards, besting other artists from across the country.
Velez entered the biennial competition in 2017 and became one of the five winners in the Visayas region for the Regional Competition. This allowed him to proceed to the National Competition with the same submitted piece, where he claimed the top spot.
The piece, titled “Ninuno,” – a Tagalog word meaning “ancestor” – is a shadowy and skeletal depiction of Philippine pre-colonial ancestors on a backdrop of what appears to be calendars. Velez intended for his piece to remind its viewers of their forefathers as well as to preserve the memory of those that came long before us. He recalled that children approached his piece, asking questions about the figures and learning more about what fine art is and can be.
Velez, who comes from a family of artists, hopes for the retention of the Painting program, saying that it could produce another student potentially more skilled who could also bag the top spot in future national art competitions.
“Ninuno,” along with the other pieces that made it to the national round, can be viewed online at the Philippine Art Awards website.