Among the 2902 entries, 15 young artists from five different categories were recognized at the awards ceremony held at the Ayala Museum last November 28

Receiving a record number of more than 2,900 entries across all categories, Shell Pilipinas Corporation’s (SPC’s) National Students Art Competition (NSAC) celebrated its 56th year with 15 exceptional young artists recognized for their works. This outpour of creativity culminated in an awards ceremony held at the Ayala Museum on November 28. The 56th Shell NSAC is recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and is sponsored by Boysen Philippines.

The presence of representatives from CCP, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Museum, partner museums, former Shell NSAC artists Rodel Tapaya and Jophel Botero Ybiosa, and world-renowned artist Ronald Ventura .at the awards ceremony underscored the event’s significance as a tribute to artistic excellence.

With the theme “Galíng Pinoy, Galing Pinoy,” it spotlights the youth’s artistic prowess and profound connection to the nation’s cultural heritage. Shell NSAC reintroduced Photography as an additional category, alongside Digital Fine Arts, Sculpture, Watercolor, and Oil and Acrylic. 

Serge Bernal, Shell Pilipinas Vice President for Corporate Relations, acknowledges the youth’s innovative creativity and their artwork as a powerful medium to capture the essence and vibrancy of Filipino heritage and culture. 

“The ingenuity displayed by our participants, their choice of subjects and the stories woven into their art pieces all resonate the profound truth, that the Philippines is a nation that is always moving forward through their creativity and vision. These young artists are shaping the narrative of progress, challenging the status quo, and challenging us to envision a more innovative future,” Bernal said.

56th Shell NSAC Winners
Shell Pilipinas engaged seasoned artists and distinguished leaders in the art community as judges: Jorell Legaspi, Ardie Lopez, and Edwin Tuyay for the Photography Category; Ross Capili, Lex Kabigting, and Pablo Biglang-Awa, Jr. for the Digital Fine Arts category; Kenneth Esguerra, Nemi Miranda, and Renato Habulan for the Watercolor category; Marina Cruz, Rodel Tapaya, and Ronald Ventura for the Oil/Acrylic category; and Michael Cacnio, Toym Leon Imao, and Ram Mallari for the Sculpture category.

Sculpture Category

The first place was awarded to Resilience Unearthed by John Patrick Gante of Bulacan State University. This sculpture is a reverent tribute to the unsung heroes of our society- the Filipino farmers. The farmers, according to the artist, are the bedrock of the Filipino nation, possessing remarkable skills, often overshadowed.

In second place is Hiraya by Ace Brian De Leon of Far Eastern University – Institute of Technology. This art piece features the child Hiraya, a symbol of Filipino spirit, with her eyes closed, but filled with hope and her fingers pointing to the sky.

Ranking third in the sculpture category is Kakanyahan ng Bayanihan by Gerald Ed Chua of University of the Philippines – Cebu. This piece is the embodiment of what it really means to be a Filipino. It portrays the very essence of helping each other or “Bayanihan” as we call it. 

Photography Category

The first-place winner is Rahuyo ng Mapag-asang Tala by Marniel Daguio of Tarlac State University. This image showcases the creativity and value of the culture of Baguio and Tarlac City. The artist believes that having to experience the process of making and connecting to the community of people translates to a new perspective in art.

The second-place winner is Buhay by Jennielyn Liezel Sala of Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila. This poignant image encapsulates the universal struggle for survival, showcasing the indomitable spirit of even the smallest creatures in the intricate dance of life.

The third place was awarded to Pahiyas ng Kamay by Connie Grace Carlos of Bulacan State University. The artist recognizes that Filipinos have gifted talents whether in the traditional or the digital form of art. However, many are slowly transitioning to digital art. With this, the artist’s aim when he captured this photo is to showcase and preserve the beauty of traditional arts.

Digital Fine Arts Category

The first-place winner is Beyond Illumination by Mary Dawn Jane Monterde of Holy Trinity University. This art piece shows that beyond the gasera’s light that glows lies a world where all is free to grow. It also portrays that in the heart of the Philippine islands, the Filipino spirit is burning so bright, like the fire produced by the gasera’s light, it glows with pride, shining ingenuity where Filipinos reside.

Second place winner is Mayamang Pamayanan by Mary Ashley Sophia Chikiamco of Far Eastern University – Institute of Technology. This piece depicts the cultural prosperity and jubilation within a Filipino community that has been gradually developed and nurtured by the Filipino people throughout the years.

The third-place winner is Hanapbuhay: Hanap Sining by Jahn Aldrin Carilimdiliman of University of San Carlos. This thought-provoking piece explores the intricate balance between livelihood and artistry. Through a captivating blend of colors, textures, and symbolism, this piece delves into the dual pursuits of sustenance and creativity that often shape the lives of Filipinos.

Oil and Acrylic Category

The first-place winner is Weaving the Narrative by Judhea Java of University of the Philippines – Cebu. The subjects in this art piece are representatives of women artisans across different generations who take part in continuing weaving tradition in the contemporary society reimagining its meanings and relevance today.
Second place winner is Prinsipyo by John Lester Garcia of Caraga State University – Cabadbaran Campus. This artwork features a farmer who understands the importance of nurturing land, despite having a disability. The determined farmer not only managed to complete his studies but also inspired his sons to follow in his footsteps.

Third place is awarded to Faceted Identities by Markus Gabrielle Gallegos of University of the Philippines – Diliman. This piece showcases fishermen, weaver, and farmers who coalesce in a nuanced exploration of identity, both individual and collective. As they overlap, the interconnectedness gradually unveils a unified identity.

Watercolor Category 

First place winner is Inaaning Tagumpay by Glenn Gonzales of University of the Philippines – Diliman. This artwork is inspired by the artist’s hometown, Nueva Ecija, which is rich in agricultural produce like rice, oniones, and a lot more. Aside from this, he is also inspired by the farmers who tirelessly work every day to look after their crops.

The second place is awarded to Nak, Uuwi na si Mama by Edward Russel Romero of University of the Philippines – Cebu. This art piece is an homage to the artist’s OFW mother. The artist believes that one of the biggest contributions of our country to the world is our people, and every single one of them makes a big difference in the country they work in.
Lastly, the winner of the third place is Pagsibol by Shereen Yancy Millet of GK College of Business, Arts, and Technology. This artwork portrays the life of a young child who calls the streets her home. Despite the challenging circumstances that surround here, there’s an unmistakable glimmer of hope in her eyes, showcasing her dedication and unwavering commitment to her studies.

Galíng Pinoy, Galing Pinoy
This annual event showcases the creative brilliance of emerging artists, not just as self-expression but as contributors to the cultural fabric of the Philippines. This year, the competition in recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Dennis Marasigan, the Artistic Director of CCP graced the awarding ceremony and emphasized the role of arts in society. Marasigan said, “The arts that we see around us can be a means to transform ourselves and our communities and our country into one better nation in the future.”

Through art, Shell NSAC honors and celebrates the unique heritage shaping the Filipino identity, providing a platform for young talents to explore and showcase their potential in driving positive change. Victorino Manalo, Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) said, “As we witness the unfolding of creativity in this competition, let us recognize the immense potential that lies within the hands of our young artists. Art indeed has the power to transcend boundaries and inspire change.”

While recognizing the creativity of young artists, Serge Bernal, VP for Corporate Relations of SPC, also acknowledges their ability to harness the power of art to encapsulate the heart and soul of Filipino heritage and culture.

Emphasizing art’s transformative potential, Dennis Marasigan, the Artistic Director of CCP, stresses its pivotal role in shaping the Philippines’ collective narrative.

Victorino Manalo, Chairman of NCCA, says that art empowers the Filipino youth to become agents of change, utilizing their artistry to address social issues and contribute to a more just and equitable society.

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