56th Shell NSAC 2nd Place in Watercolor Category, Edward Russel Romero with his artwork “Nak, Uuwi Na Si Mama”.

In the world of art, every stroke tells a story, and every hue carries emotions. Such is the case with Edward Russel Romero’s masterpiece, “Nak, Uuwi Na Si Mama” (“Child/Son, Mom’s Coming Home”), which clinched the second prize under the watercolor category at the 56th Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC).

Hailing from the University of the Philippines – Cebu, Romero’s winning artwork serves as a poignant tribute to his Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) mother, whose unwavering dedication paved the way for his education and artistic journey. He shared, “Super proud siya kasi siya yung naging inspiration ko.” (She’s super proud because she was my inspiration.)

Rendered in watercolor on a canvas, Romero’s artwork serves as a heartfelt homage to his mother. Its title encapsulates the anticipation and joy of reuniting with a loved one after enduring separation due to work abroad.

The inspiration behind Romero’s artwork sprang from personal experiences deeply ingrained in his familial dynamics. Growing up, Romero witnessed the sacrifices made by his parents, particularly his mother, who assumed the role of both breadwinner and nurturer when his father passed away.

Romero recounted, “Nung nawala na sya (papa), ang mama ko na yung nagtaguyod sa amin at sya naman yung nag ibang bansa. Yung artwork nato ay appreciation at tribute ko para sa kasipagan at pagpupursigi nya sa ibang bansa para lang matustusan nya ang pangangailan namin at mapagtapos kami ng pag-aaral.” (When he (father) was no longer around, my mother took over the responsibility for us and she also went abroad. This artwork is my appreciation and tribute to her diligence and perseverance in another country just to provide for our needs and ensure that we finish our education.)

Each element within the artwork was meticulously chosen by Romero to convey the essence of his mother’s sacrifices. On the right side, a depiction of his mother’s devout faith is portrayed, symbolizing her steadfast reliance on spirituality amidst the challenges of working abroad. Conversely, on the left side, her profession as an educator is highlighted, signifying her commitment to shaping young minds even in a foreign land. Additionally, the central image captures Romero’s perspective of their reunions at the airport, which are marked by heartwarming embraces.

In essence, Romero’s winning artwork transcends the confines of the canvas and speaks volumes about the power of art to express gratitude, honor loved ones, and shed light on shared human experiences. As viewers gaze upon his masterpiece, they are reminded not only of the sacrifices made by mothers, but also of the extraordinary resilience, love, and selflessness that define motherhood. It serves as a poignant tribute to the unwavering dedication and nurturing spirit that mothers embody. This Mother ’s Day, let us celebrate and cherish the profound influence of mothers, whose love knows no bounds, in our lives.

About the Shell National Students Art Competition

Founded in 1951, the Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC) is the longest-running student art competition in the country, which aims to democratize art and support the next generation of Filipino artists. Since its inception, Shell NSAC has transformed into a dynamic platform where emerging talents from all corners of the Philippines display their creativity and celebrate their distinct cultural backgrounds.

Students passionate about the arts are encouraged to join this competition, where their talents can shine, and their voices can be heard on a national stage. For those interested in joining the 57th Shell NSAC, please visit www.shell.com.ph/NSAC for more information.

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