Sep 16 2021

Winners of Ateneo Art Awards 2021 Revealed

by Pamela Wong

Portraits of (left to right) JO TANIERLA, NICE BUENAVENTURA, and CHRISTINA LOPEZ. Courtesy the artists.

On September 15, the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City announced the winners of the Ateneo Art Awards 2021, including the Fernando Zóbel Prizes for Visual Art and the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism, in an online ceremony.

Established in 2004, the Fernando Zóbel Prizes for Visual Art are awarded to three emerging artists under the age of 36. For this edition, nominated artworks must have been exhibited between May 2, 2019, and May 1, 2021. The 2021 winners are: Nice Buenaventura, whose conceptual exhibition “Fools will copy but copies will not fool,” at Artinformal gallery in June 2019, demonstrated the inevitable failure of reproducing experiences into images; Christina Lopez, for the exhibition in March 2020 of sculptural installations and drawings at The Drawing Room, titled “Portraits (Proxies),” which investigated the physical manifestation of databases through rendered and distorted portraits; and Jo Tanierla, whose exhibition “Pagburo at Pag-alsa: Natural Depictions and Illustrated Prophecies (Gelacio, 1910)” in October 2020 at Jorge B. Vargas Museum traced the travels of a fictional scholar named Gelacio through graphite drawings, watercolors, and journals, exploring the boundaries between history and narratives.

Due to travel restrictions, the AAG collaborated with local organizations outside of Metro Manila to offer residency programs for selected winners of the 17th edition. Tanierla will join A Bungalow Artists’ Residency Project and Casa San Miguel Center for the Arts in San Antonio, while Lopez will join Projectspace Pilipinas, an artist-run space in Lucban, Quezon, and No Space residency in Baguio. Additionally, the Embassy of Italy will acquire the abstract, mixed-media composition Blankets for a See-through House (2019) by Brisa Amir, who is the recipient of the Embassy of Italy Purchase Prize this year.

The Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Prizes in Art Criticism, under the theme of “Navigating Crisis: Arts and our Futures,” asked writers to examine the influences of the pandemic. The Prizes are going to Carla T. Gamalinda and Portia Placino for the English group, and Jaffy V. Fajardo for the Filipino group. Among the winners, Placino has been selected to join the one-month residency program at Orange Project in Negros Island.

After the cancellation of the 2020 edition, Ateneo Art Awards 2021 received more than 140 nominations from galleries and museums in the Philippines for the visual art category. All shortlisted essays have been published online, and a video featuring shortlisted artists will be released on AAG’s social media and website.

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