Featuring a varied display of paintings, the Center for Campus Art (CCA) officially revealed its latest exhibit, “The Benildean Painter,” containing the works of seven alumni and one student artist of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB). The exhibit opened on Jan. 25 at the 12th Floor Gallery of the Design and Arts Campus (DAC).
A fitting tribute to Benilde’s 35th anniversary milestone
Curated by CCA director, Ar. Gerry Torres, the exhibit was inspired by Benilde’s ongoing celebration of its 35th anniversary featuring the artistry of its very own students. It stands as a timely tribute to the College’s milestone as it unfolds as a statement, showcasing a surprising and remarkable development that, despite the absence of a dedicated fine arts degree, the College was able to produce a notable group of accomplished painters.
Moreover, it is a pivotal step in showing a promising future for aspiring Benildean artists, especially for those enrolled under the College’s newly launched program, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Culture-based Arts (BFA-CBA) under the School of Arts, Culture, and Performance (SACP).
The opening event’s program officially began with Ar. Torres delivering his welcoming remarks, expressing his sentiments saying that, “The emergence of this exhibit serves as a testament to the depth of artistic talent that thrives within the Benilde community and reinforces the belief that artistic expression can flourish within diverse educational backgrounds, and that the fusion of creativity and skill can transcend traditional academic boundaries.”
Similarly, a message from Chancellor Benhur Ong then followed as he shared his excitement and support on what the exhibit is promoting. Next to go on stage was Ms. Karen Ocampo Flores, the exhibit writer and co-curator, who introduced the eight Benildean painters to the audience.
After CCA officially unveiled the gallery for viewing, the audience and visitors were accompanied with a unique blend of electronic music by guest performer ID105 Production Design alumna and sound artist Joee Mejias.
Different brushstrokes, same grassroots
Some were born as natural painters, while others have recently discovered their love for the art. Ranging from themes of pop surrealism, fashion art, portraiture, to contemporary paintings, the newly opened exhibit displays the uniqueness of each artist, sharing a piece of their journey and how they intentionally or perhaps accidentally unearthed their niche in painting.
Despite coming from different backgrounds, programs, and batches, these eight painters share the same sentiments regarding the College. The Benildean sat down with some of the artists as they shared their excitement, gratitude, and the feeling of being overwhelmed during the opening night.
For the only current student and the youngest artist in the show, ID122 Industrial Design student, Jadon Kilayko, Benilde helped him in his development not just as a painter but as an artist. “I think one of the many things that they taught me is how to continue to develop my craft [...] they allow me to become better and they challenge me and they’re continuing to challenge me, of course.”
While for ID109 Multimedia Arts graduate Lee Caces, “I learned so much here and I feel like it’s nice to give back to the school na ‘yung mga natutunan ko and ‘yung mga possibilities for the younger generation to do their own thing and inspire them na it’s not just textbook noh [...] you always find time to explore and express yourself,” he said.
“I was able to find myself truthfully as an artist. It’s not just you’re like that-if you’re a fashion designer, you’re a fashion designer. It’s like you can be anything, you can be a journalist, you can either be an interior designer, you can be anything you want. So that’s what Benilde is trying to say, that you’re not constrained to just one course or to just one career,” ID110 Fashion Design and Merchandising graduate, G Paris Magalona expressed.
Feeling grateful to Benilde and her professors, Winna Go, an ID115 Multimedia Arts graduate also shared, “I feel like Benilde really opened a lot of doors of opportunities, and I was really able to hone my skills in Benilde because of my professors [...] when I was still studying here, I would join art competitions and that made me realize that I wanted to pursue painting as a career [...] malaking bagay talaga yung professors honing your skills and also opening doors of opportunities,” she said.
Adding to the collaborative effort, current DLS-CSB students from Dino Brucelas' multimedia publishing class are expected to design a catalog for the show. This initiative not only represents a first for CCA, but also aligns with its tradition of having a student component in all its exhibits. The catalog launch is anticipated at a later date, potentially towards the conclusion of the exhibition's run.
From one Benildean to another
“The Benildean Painter” exhibit isn’t just a room full of colored canvases, it is a testament to the impact Benilde has to its students, and the big role it plays in nurturing the future generations of creative innovators.
Take it from these artists as they impart a message to the Benildean community. “Don’t stay in a box, explore, talk to people, keep doing what you’re doing and practice para gumaling,” Caces remarked.
Kilayko added, "To the Benildean community, I hope you’ll enjoy the show, I hope you'll enjoy looking at the works, continue working and Padayon!”
For G Paris, she concluded, “Just don’t be constrained with what you are, if you want to paint just go paint, if you want to indulge in fashion or film or sound production, anything that doesn’t constrain you because you can be whoever you want to be.”
For Go, she believes that it’s always worth the risk to pursue your passion. “If you want to pursue something in life and want to try to make a living out of it, I feel like it’s worth the risk talaga kasi I feel like some people would be scared like ‘hala, this really unstable’ or something and I feel like we’re like really young pa, there’s like room for that risk.”
Other painters include ID90 AB Interdisciplinary Studies graduate David Kaufman, ID104 former Production Design student Joseph Tecson, ID112 Architecture graduate Robin Ravago, and ID113 Architecture graduate Lyra Tan. Take a closer look and get to know the artists behind the paintings for CCA’s latest exhibit, “The Benildean Painter.” The gallery is open to the public on Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until April 25, 2024.