ATENEO ART AWARDS
Indulge me this expression of emotion – one of unbridled excitement – as the Ateneo Art Awards reaches this important milestone. I could never have imagined that the art prize I started with the simple intention of coming up with a list of critic’s choices back in 2004 to honor the memory of our museum’s founder Fernando Zobel de Ayala would be sustained and grow to become an institution on the local art scene, recognised today both here and abroad as arguably the most important art prize for an emerging artist in the Philippines. I am proud to see it become a barometer of excellence, a reference point for critics, curators, and art collectors who wish to gain a comprehensive overview and assessment of local contemporary art practice.
What truly sets the Awards apart is the trust and reputation that it has engendered because of its open and transparent process of peer nomination, and the collegiality and high level of discourse during the selection process with the artists and among the jurors each of whom the Ateneo Art Gallery curators and I select annually for their sterling reputation, probity, and unflinching standards of excellence. I would like to acknowledge and thank this year’s selectors: visual artist and two-time winner of the Ateneo Art Awards, Pokling Anading; curator at the National Art Gallery of Singapore, Clarissa Chikiamco; Pinto Art Museum director, Dr. Joven Cuanang; Associate Professor of the Fine Arts Program, Ateneo de Manila University, Fr. Rene Javellana; critically acclaimed Filipino-American visual artist Paul Pfeiffer; and director of the Lopez Memorial Museum, Mercedes Lopez-Vargas.
Let me also take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all of those who have embraced the mission and vision of the Ateneo Art Gallery as the country’s premier modern and contemporary art museum, and who have been a part of the Awards through the years: our co-presentors, Shangri-la Plaza Corporation, Metro Society, YStyle of the Philippine Star; and institutional partners Artesan Gallery, Singapore; La Trobe University Visual Art Centre, Bendigo, Australia; and Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK. My commendations as well go to the museum staff: Yael Buencamino, Managing Curator; Joel de Leon, Assistant Curator; Thea Garing, Exhibitions Coordinator; Luigi Singson, Coordinator for the 10 Year Ateneo Art Awards Retrospective Exhibition; and Ria Aguilar, Gallery Assistant.
As we mark time, look back, and survey the winners and shortlisted artists over the past ten years, I am very proud to say that the Ateneo Art Awards has in one way or another indelibly changed the lives of its winners and the course of Philippine art history.
Ramon E.S. Lerma
Director and Chief Curator
Ateneo Art Gallery