Thursday, October 11, 2018

Wire Art, a miner’s lifeline



A young miner and a father of a four-year old boy found wire art when monsoon rains and typhoons devastated Itogon, Benguet and affected their livelihood.

Last week, I made a short ride to Dalicno to visit this miner who is also a distant relative of mine. Kenneth Jones Pulsingay started experimenting with wire art during the month-long typhoon Habagat where he created insect-shaped designs like spiders and scorpions for his four-year-old son’s toys. When relatives saw his works, they encouraged him to create bigger designs. He started to make bonzai-like trees made of wires.

Surprisingly, even without any formal training, he was able to make exceptional artworks. Timely with the order to stop small-scale mining, his relatives encouraged him to continue hoping this will help the family start a new livelihood.

Pulsingay said what moved him to create these wire arts is to have something to give his boy to play with as he can’t afford the expensive plastic toys. Some of the materials he used were rusty wires he found lying around. The further improvement of his crafts, he credited to his relatives and neighbours who encouraged him to make more. They bought him raw materials to start with.

This shy young man from the Kankanaey tribe in Dalicno, Itogon shows passion in his arts creating masterpieces that are life-related. His Ompong tree shows the strength of the typhoon that caused havoc to the northern part of the country, but it also shows the unbent resilience and resolve of the people that was represented by the still standing tree.

His Waka-waka tree was derived from the vines hanging on trees, which is called “waka” in Kankanaey. A coconut wire tree perched on an island with real coconut shell that made the island.
His mother Agnes who was an innate artist herself said Kenneth was always fascinated with unusual objects like strange-looking trees. “He started keeping tree roots for functional decorations and even created a house-like shell bank made of scrap woods when he was young and gave to me as a gift,” she said.

Relatives say he got his art instincts from his mother who has also no training in art but was able to create exceptional painting decorations on their walls. She is helping Kenneth design the base of his wire art from found things from the forests and these too are works of art.

The family is appealing to the public to support Kenneth’s artworks to support him and his family while mining is still banned. If things go well, he may not have to go back to mining.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Baguio's Panagbenga 2018 showcases culture, creativity


BAGUIO -- An estimated 1.5 million tourists and locals attended Baguio City's much-awaited Panagbenga flower festival, which is now on its 23rd year.
Just last year, Baguio City was named as one of UNESCO’s Creative City for crafts and folk arts joining the network of 180 creative cities and this year's festival was meant to showcased the culture and creativity of the Cordillera region.
Among the highlights of Panagbenga 2018 was the Grand Street Dance Parade participated by local student groups and street dancers, who came from the different provinces in the north, some coming all the way from Aurora province; and the Grand Float Parade participated by 27 floats.
Most of the local participants showcased cultural dances, swaying to the familiar Panagbenga Hymn.
This short article was also published by ABS-CBN, see link below.

http://news.abs-cbn.com/life/02/25/18/baguios-panagbenga-2018-showcases-culture-creativity

Here are some of my shots during the 2-day parade.