ABACA FIBER AS CANVAS. A painting by artist Maruja Panti currently on display in an exhibition at Catanduanes State University (CatSU) in the town of Virac where abaca paper was used as a canvas material. CatSU President Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza said Thursday (April 21, 2022) that the exhibit is attended by 26 local artists. (Photo courtesy of John Reale Barba)

TOWN OF LEGAZPI – Balancing the importance of science, economics and art in promoting the abaca industry in the island province, the president of Catanduanes State University (CatSU), the Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza, launched an art exhibit that uses abaca paper as a canvas.

In an interview on Thursday, Azanza said the exhibition’s main goal was to promote alternative uses for abaca paper, including as a canvas in artwork, especially paintings.

“This is the first exhibition involving 26 local artists who have used abaca fiber as a canvas. It is also one of CatSU’s pleas to help abaca farmers since 60% of our students come from abaca farming families,” he said.

Asked about the price ranges of the artworks, Azanza told the Philippine News Agency that the exhibition organizers ensured that they were sold at reasonable prices.

“We ensure that the amount is within the reasonable rate for the reason that we want to popularize the use of abaca fiber as canvases. Some of the local artists who participated are already well known in their field, such as Maroja Panti and Alma Ang, to name a few,” he said.

Azanza, who has been an art collector himself for 35 years now, added that a coffee table book showcasing the art exhibit would soon be launched.

“Maswerte ang mga nakabili na and makakabili pa ng mga art na naka display, since art presented in a book or calendar doubles in price when purchased (Those who have already purchased and intend to purchase these works on display are in luck, because an art presented in a book or in a calendar doubles in price when purchased)”, he said. added.

The exhibition will last the whole month of April.

Azanza also said that from April 27 to 30, cultural events involving different universities and state colleges in the Bicol region will take place, promoting the abaca industry of Catanduanes.

CatSU won the second prize of the Likha Award for Outstanding Creative Research on Abaca Core Wine in the 2021 regional invention competition and exhibitions held at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) regional office here.

Azanza said that research on abaca is being carried out continuously to help expand the scope of its use not only in the country but also around the world.

“Delegates from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) and CatSU will conduct research that will investigate the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) resilience of abaca in viruses, typhoons, and other factors that affect their growth,” he added.

The CatSU Abaca Museum Research Center also showcases its 17 common varieties in the island province.

Meanwhile, Chiarra Hernandez, exhibition host and curator of Renzo Art Gallery, in a separate interview, said that the idea of ​​setting up the art exhibition is to give more value and make the paintings more presentable to the public, especially to art collectors.

“With over 40 paintings, we have handled the paintings with particular care when framing as some artists have used oil, acrylic. We also have to consider humidity and moisture when framing,” she said.

As a curator who can appreciate the visual arts, Hernandez said using abaca papers as a canvas gives the artist the opportunity to explore the texture of the paper, compared to regular canvas.

“Nalalaro nila ung paper mismo, doon palang meron na silang nagagawa (They are exploring how to use abaca paper, they can already make something out of it). Abaca paper as a canvas can be used as an option or an alternative to the normal canvas used,” she added.

Unsold works will be on display at Renzo Art Gallery on San Jose Street, Virac Catanduanes and interested buyers can contact 0938-522-1878.

Another art exhibition featuring abaca and “Para Hag-ot” will be presented at the Provincial Capitol of Catanduanes from May 24 to 28, 2022 during the Abaca Festival. (NAP)

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