Friday, May 21, 2010
Meeting of Two Artists
“I know him and I know his place. It is my pleasure and honor to get you there.” I told our guest,- a bespectacled man with gray hair, inquiring about Ruben “Nonoy” Casuncad where he could buy Mangyan products and other souvenir item. Nonoy, my compadre, is one of most brilliant visual artists in our place.
Our guest is one of the facilitators who conducted the three-day seminar on what they call Subtle Attack Against Family Explained (SAFE) program which is the main pro-family and pro-life program of St. Michael Retreat House of the Diocese of Antipolo. The SAFE training was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday,- May 19 to 20, 2010. The man, I think, in his late ‘50s dwelled on the topic “Pornography and Violence in the Media”. His name is Jess Abrera, my favorite editorial cartoonist. Creator of characters “A. Lipin” and “Guyito”. Right at the pages of the Philippine Daily Inquirer or PDI.
I introduced the master cartoonist to my Pareng Nonoy and while they shook hands, I suddenly felt out of place for I know nothing about their art. Nonoy gladly showed him his crafts and allowed him to take pictures of his drawings and woodcarvings while Mr. Abrera,- father of equally-talented young artist Manuel "Manix" Abrera, giving him some tips on packaging or marketing his products. They talked about arts and life for more than forty five minutes. Nonoy giving him a “lightning seminar” on Mangyan calligraphy and culture while Mang Jess is all praise to the handiwork of Yobhel’s godfather.
Jess Abrera was born in 1945 and finished Art Studies at the University of the Philippines (UP). He grabbed Catholic Mass Media Award in 1986 and the National Book Awards from the Manila Critics Circle in 1997 because of his “Pinoy Nga” collection.
I met Nonoy in 1989 while he was working as an artist in the Vicariate-owned Verbo Tuo Printing Press while I was with the Human Development Office or HDO erstwhile name of the Social Services Commission (SSC). We were still bachelors then. Beer, gin and discussion about politics made us friends. In 1998, he decided to pursue with his craft and he started an art shop called Ligad. Ligad, if my memory serves me right, according to Nonoy, stands for “Likhang Guni-guni at Diwa”. Ligad has an accreditation with our provincial Department of Trade and Industry Office or DTI. At present he is more involved in wood carving and many of his clients are tourists,-both local and international, and some wholesalers from Manila. His works always find place in trade fairs and art shows here in our locality.
Mr. Abrera came home with memorable work of arts from San Jose specially the "sagwan" (paddle) and some wooden fishes which passed by the creative hands of my Pareng Nonoy.
But for me this is the most important thing : I acted as bridge to a short but memorable and wonderful meeting of two great artists that I know...
(Jess Abrera's photo softlinked from PaoloRuiz.com)