Expressing social issues through art is a powerful means making an advocacy heard. That is because art is a potent platform to amplify marginalized voices, shed light on pressing concerns, and challenge societal norms. Whether through visual arts, music, literature, or performance, artists have the ability to convey complex narratives, provoke emotions, and ignite empathy from their audience. Artistic expressions often serve as a reflection of the times, addressing issues such as inequality, discrimination, environmental crises, mental health, and political turmoil. By creatively interpreting and representing these social issues, art transcends language barriers and connects people on a deeper level, encouraging critical thinking and fostering a collective consciousness toward positive social transformation. With this, the 8th VMC Interschool Art Competition was held once again with the theme, My Role in Society.
The 8th VMC Interschool Art Competition is Back After a 2-year Hiatus
VMC’s (Victorias Milling Company, Inc.) Interschool Art Contest is back! Though opened within Negros Occidental only for now, in this 8th round, the famous VMC Interschool Art Contest held in Bacolod City attracted participants from elementary and high schools across the province. La Consolacion College-Bacolod (HS) and USLS-IS (Elementary) emerged as the winners, claiming the championship trophies at the awarding ceremony on November 25, 2023, held at the Grand Pavilion of Acacia Hotel Bacolod.
A Look Back at the VMC Interschool Art Contest
In 2019, before the pandemic took hold, the last VMC Interschool Art Contest boasted a larger pool of participants, including schools from both Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental.
However, this year, VMC confined the competition to Negros Occidental, prioritizing health and safety. Though the pandemic has been declared “over”, the public is still cautious about going full swing. Despite the limitations, over 130 hopeful young artists submitted their entries, which VMC Corporate Communications Director Anne Tiongco says is an impressive turnout.
VMC and the VMC Foundation remain steadfast in their commitment to nurturing the artistic and cultural development of youth through the annual Interschool Art Contest. Engr. Linley A. Retirado, VMC President, highlighted the significance of arts and culture in their projects, emphasizing their role in shaping the nation’s identity.
Exploring “My Role in Society”
The theme of the 8th VMC Interschool Art Contest, “My Role in Society,” reflects a focus on fostering growth and development among the youth. Tiongco explained that the theme encourages young artists to contemplate their role in their community, society, and nation-building. The goal is to instill the realization that each individual holds importance, contributing to the formation of a progressive and inclusive society.
Unlike any other competition in the Philippines, the Interschool Art Contest provides a unique opportunity for young artists in the field of visual arts. Semi-finalists had the chance to participate in art workshops led by renowned Bacolod artists, and VMC supplied all the necessary art materials. All the students needed to bring were their messages and creativity.
Celebrating the Champions
During the on-the-spot painting session at the Grand Pavilion of Acacia Hotel, 62 semi-finalists translated their messages into visual art. The top 5 finalists per level were announced in the afternoon, leading to the Grand Awarding Ceremony held during a dinner program.
Here is the complete list of winners in the 8th VMC Interschool Art Competition:
- Champion: Kris Edward Belaguas, USLS-IS
- 1st Runner-Up: Heart Sta. Maria
- 2nd Runner-Up: Zhyenaiah Tonogbanua
- Consolation Prizes: Sophia Emerald Caminong and Sheena Rain Reyes
- Champion: Jhodie May Salomon, LCC-Bacolod
- 1st Runner-Up: Stephen Jay Gallano
- 2nd Runner-Up: Erin Ysabelle Dosayle
- Consolation Prize: Adrian Andrade and Bear Jay Bermeo
High school winners received P30,000, P20,000, P15,000, and consolation prizes of P5,000 each. Elementary winners received P30,000, P20,000, P10,000, and consolation prizes of P2,500 each. Additionally, each champion school received a 43″ LED TV from VMC.
Beyond the Competition: A Commitment to Youth Development
One of VMC and the VMC Foundation’s core initiatives is promoting youth development through various programs. Engr. Retirado emphasized their contributions to education, such as the Miguel Ossorio Scholarship Grant, support for schools and students through Brigada Eskwela, and fostering cultural awareness and expression through the arts.
“Through this annual Interschool Art Contest, we believe that engaging the youth in arts at an early age helps develop their creativity, identity, culture, and imagination. This also positively impacts their confidence, self-esteem, personal, social, emotional development, and behavioral health,” added Engr. Retirado. This also underlines the holistic impact of the competition on the young people and the families who participated.