Legarda: Art, Important Facet of Nation Building

September 6, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, acknowledged the significance of art in nation building, including in rebuilding communities affected by disasters.


In the press conference to introduce the jurors who reviewed the curatorial proposals submitted for the Philippines’ participation in the Art Venice Biennale 2015, Legarda said, “art is a very important facet of rebuilding our nation especially after Yolanda, after Glenda.”


“People might ask, and this has been asked of me, why join in the Venice Biennale now after Yolanda? I think, all the more now, after Yolanda. Art will become an even more important platform to highlight Filipino creativity. I believe that art should be an enabler of development and that is the reason why all the more, the Philippines should be in the Biennale next year,” said Legarda, who initiated the country’s return to the prestigious contemporary art exhibition after 50 years of absence.


Felipe De Leon, Jr., Chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), seconded the Senator’s statement, stressing that promoting the arts is a way of priming all the other kinds of development.


“Once you encourage people to express themselves, you strengthen what is called cultural energy. Cultural energy is the motivation to work, to engage meaningfully in social interaction, engagement and so on. The moment you develop the arts, everything else follows and this is the reason why after Yolanda, if we would like to develop economically and socially, it begins with the arts,” De Leon said.


Legarda stressed that the Art Venice Biennale is a platform where the Philippines’ voice will be heard in the global contemporary art scene.


“We need to engage the international community on the cultural level. I hope that through our participation in the Venice Biennale, more Filipino artists will be encouraged not only in exhibiting their craft but also in promoting the relevance of arts in nation building,” said Legarda.


The Philippines will participate in the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale 2015, which will be held from May 9 to November 22, 2015 in Venice, Italy.


The NCCA and the Department of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, will soon announce the representative to the Venice Biennale 2015 following the two-day deliberation by local and international jurors on the 16 curatorial proposals submitted to the Coordinating Committee.


The panel was composed of Chairperson De Leon, Philippine Art Venice Biennale Commissioner; Senator Legarda, principal advocate and supporter of Philippine arts and culture; Cid Reyes, one of the country’s top art critics; Mami Kataoka, chief curator of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan; Paul Pfeiffer, a New York based sculptor, photographer and video artist who already participated in the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001; andRenaud Proch, Executive Director of Independent Curators International, a non-profit organization in New York that has produced exhibitions, events and publications.