RENAISSANCE OF SKETCHING
By: Danielle Gabriel
ARTS APPRECIATION IN THE PH
In between the three-hour sketch session, Arlegui would reiterate their organization’s manifesto and the importance of developing arts education in the country not just for artists but also for the laymen.
Backtracking a little, Arlegui shares some insights from their sketch walk in 2014 featuring the 100-year-old El Hogar Filipino Building in Binondo, saying that there should be more tolerance and appreciation for heritage structures in the Philippines. However, with the lack of training and education in the country, it is possible that more and more buildings will be replaced by commercial institutions with modern design.
“We can preserve the spots through drawing and painting. We have had a lot of sketch walks before of old buildings that are going to get demolished. It’s for people to become aware that these structures exists and that they shouldn’t be removed,” Valiente says.
The demolition of the El Hogar, one of the few early American period structures in Manila, is put on hold thanks to efforts of heritage advocates and the intervention of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. However, nothing is set on stone yet similar to the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Taft Avenue, Manila, which can still be subject to the same fate as structures in Santa Cruz and Escolta that have bid farewell.
The situation is not only alarming for fine arts and architecture students. The lack of education and understanding on the arts and culture in the Philippines is a prerequisite to more individuals disregarding and paying less respect not only historical and heritage landmarks but also in the surrounding in general, Arlegui says.
“Arts education here is lagging. There is a study I did and I found out that roughly 80 percent of incoming architecture students have no artistic training. For that, we have a difficult time teaching them. It goes to show that drawing is the least priority in schools whereas in developed countries, humanities and the arts is fully integrated in the school system,” Arlegui says. “Yes, it’s a cultural thing. But because these countries focus on education and in exposing the students to artistry, everything follows. If we have a high level of visual literacy and appreciating culture, everything is about perceiving and seeing artistically. Our environments become better.”
Urban Sketches is a group with branches all over the world
Look at what Urban Sketchers are doing to help preserve these national treasures through artistry
What can you do?
- Keeping our enviornment beautiful is a team effort. Help clean our cities.
- Be informed and aware of your country’s cultural heritage sites and fight for their preservation
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