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Art District transformed

BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

The “China Man” of Charlie Co and Neil Benavente is a favorite for groufies*

The pandemic failed to prevent local artists from unleashing their creativity that led to the transformation of the Art District in Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City, into another place of attraction in the city.

The “Bedko” art installation by visual artist Edbon Sevilleno*
“Bao” by Rafael Paderna and Charlie Co*

Visual artist Charlie Co said their work at the Art District heightened while they were planning to hold a virtual VivaExcon or Visayan Artist Exhibit and Conference in October last year. They continued the preparations for the 30th year of VivaExcon because they had enough time during the pandemic and that the work is still ingoing.

They are also planning to come up with a map to help visitors find their way around the Art District that will include set of rules they have to observe. It will be educational as it will help them appreciate art and prevent them from vandalizing the artworks, he said.

“Corazon del Arte” by Megumi Miura, in collaboration with Brandon Braza, Zabiel Nemenzo, Zader Lopez, and Zanna Jamili*
Vintage cars and murals are among the attractions at the Art District*

“After working on the outside, we will concentrate on the inside – like holding ongoing art exhibitions,” Co said, adding that there are five independently ran art galleries at the Art District, namely, the AAB-N Gallery, The Gray Room, Block 17, The Orange Gallery, and The Black Room, ran by watercolorist Edbon Sevilleno.

“Astronauts” by Charlie Co and Neil Benavente*

Sevilleno’s gallery is a rabbit hole of art installation titled “Bedko”, coined as wordplay on the coronavirus disease. It features retrospective works of the artist for the past 20 years, and his recent works.

“How it was. How will it be” by Moreen Austria*

The gallery also showcases fond items from his journey as an artist, his musical instruments, and art installations, such as Covid icons surrounding a hospital bed that hangs in the middle of the room, aside from visual artworks.

Sevilleno said that, instead of staying stuck in fear and uncertainty, the pandemic has become an opportunity for him to use his creativity. After all, an artist never stops creating. Meanwhile, Co said he is encouraging local artists not to waste this opportunity offered to them by businessman Victor Benjamin Lopue III.*

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