Creating art from discards

Students from some of Cebu’s universities and state colleges recently got first-hand experience being mentored by award-winning visul artist Jan Leeroy New as Shell Pilipinas conducted the third and last leg of its Art Interact at The Kabilin Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. in Cebu City on Dec. 10, 2022.

The event, evocative of this year’s 55th Shell National Student Arts Competition (NSAC) theme, “Sulong Sining” consisted of a talk and a workshop by New. The first and second editions of Art Interact were conducted in Quezon City and Bacolod City, respectively.

New, Shell NSAC 2nd place winner for sculpture in the years 2004 and 2006, taught students how to create wearable art pieces using recyclable plastics.

A well-recognized name in the Philippines’ art scene, New has gained international acclaim for his installations, particularly in New York, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, and other major global centers. He is known for his large-scale public art pieces that utilize discarded materials.

He said his works have been largely inspired from his own experiences during his younger years as a student when he had few art materials, prompting him to go to recycling centers to look for materials that he could use.

New eventually learned that art could be exhibited outside or in a “public place” and not just within the confines of traditional art galleries.

The award-winning artist offered words of advice to workshop participants who may be apprehensive about taking on a daring path when it comes to art.

“The public may have their own interpretation of your work. All you can do is make the most of how you do it and make sure that you understand what you are doing,” he said.

Shell Pilipinas vice president Serge Bernal, for his part, emphasized the power and influence of art “to unite everyone and to charge forward by showing who you are, what you value, and what you envision.”