Guindulman Fisherman Turned-World Class Painter
Staged Homecoming Art Exhibition
by Atty Julius Gregory Delgadao
Samuel Penaso, a fisherman from Sawang Guindulman, Bohol, left Bohol to try his luck in the big city. Working as assistant of his uncle's silkscreen printing business in Manila, Penaso funded his education and took up Fine Arts in Technological Institute of the Philippines. Penaso's paintings catched the eyes of Gallery owners in Manila and he started to win in national art competitions. Penaso has done numerous solo and group exhibitions local and abroad notably in the countries like Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Austria. Penaso has also done art exhibitions side-by-side Philippine greats and National Artists like Imao, Bencab (Ben Cabrera) and Orlina.
But Penaso's greatest dream was to stage an art exhibition in his own province. It was realized last week when the Association of Young Boholanos in Metro Manila, Inc. ("AYBM") in partnership with the Bohol Provincial Government, Bohol Chronicle, DYRD-Kiss FM, sponsored "Sam Penaso: The Homecoming – An Art Exhibition for a Cause from 22-24 July 2011 at the Island City Mall.
The art exhibition was opened with formal cocktails at the Prawn Farm Restaurant attended by politicians, businessmen, lawyers, media, artists and civil society to honor one of Bohol's finest painters ever produced. The ribbon-cutting was led by Atty. Doy Nunag, Provincial Tourism Council Chairman, Hon. Fe Añana-Piezas and Hon. Eden Hohman, Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Guindulman, respectively. During the program proper, Ms. Mary Catherine Biliran of Sycip Gorres Velayo, Chairman of the AYBM, welcomed the guests. Atty. Julius Gregory Delgado of Villaraza Cruz Marcelo Angangco (The Firm), President of the AYBM, formally introduced the artist to the Boholano community. Penaso, a man of few words, thanked those who attended the event and encouraged young Boholano artists to follow their dreams.
Professor JPaul Manzanilla of the University of the Philippines, Art Critique and Curator of the Exhibit, gave his critique and deconstruction of the artist and his works. The crowd was then serenaded by balladeer Alexander Delgado of the Holy Name University who sang the classic song "Vincent" in a Josh Groban version. The song with opening lines which goes "Starry Starry Night" is about the French painter Vincent Van Gogh who during his lifetime only was able to sell one painting. Van Gogh's paintings now are priceless and in top museums in the United States and Europe. The emcee, Ms. Ethel Mae Manlupig of Sycip Gorres Velayo, Finance Committee Head of the AYBM, urged the community to support budding Boholano artists and let not Sam Penaso be another Van Gogh.
Guindulman Mayor, Hon. Fe Añana-Piezas, gave an inspiring speech and told the crowd how proud they are of the artist who hails from their town. The Mayor gladly told the crowd that their Sangguniang Bayan has passed a resolution commending Penaso and told the audience that Penaso will be feted and honoured during the fiesta of the town in September. To serve as icing of the cake, the Mayor announced to the crowd that she will be buying one of Penaso's obra maestras.
The crowd was further entertained by a violin performance, a piece from Johann Sebastian Bach, by Boholano violinist Architect Nigell Cabrera Abarquez who performed during the 2007 Asean Summit in Cebu. The art exhibit opening program ended with a raffle with the following persons winning paintings from the artists: famous Boholano journalist Leo Udtohan, General Leo Olegario (Ret.) of Valencia, IBP-Bohol Director Atty. Ted Lagang. It was a lucky night also for Atty. Menedio Thaddeus Bernido, also a member of IBP Bohol, and his beautiful wife Vanessa Mae, winning a painting each.
The art exhibition went on for two days for the public viewing beside the National Bookstore with one professor from the Fine Arts Department of the University of Bohol requiring the students to take a look and the paintings and submit a reaction paper and critique. With the successful staging of his homecoming exhibit, Penaso promised to stage another one next year during the Tigum Bol-anon Tibu-ok Kalibutan (TBTK) festivities.