Young artists join art competitions to get their works noticed and to get a bit of cash. Jadie Regala Pasaylo is no different. The 21-year old Studio Arts major at the UP College of Fine Arts was a finalist at the Shell Art Competition in 2019, for example, and got a P2,000 consolation prize. “Then naibebenta ko itong mga entry ko sa kakasali sa contest sa di kalakihang halaga,” he tells ANCX.
Jadie’s most recent attempt at bringing home a prize is joining the GSIS Art Competition 2021. “Cash prizes amounting to 300,000 await the winning entries,” the announcement says on the contest’s official website. The theme for the Representational category is “Alay na Ginhawa sa Panahon ng Pandemya.” Jadie submitted his entry last April 19 and was expecting to get a notice from GSIS ten days after. What he got, he says, was a message last May 4 that indicated the organizers have received his entry to the Representational category. Jadie interpreted this as the organizers telling him his entry didn't make it. According to GSIS, however, they are "still in the screening stage of the competition" and "have not sent any email to Mr. Pasaylo."
Thinking his work has been rejected, Jadie posted the painting on Facebook, along with a photo of himself standing beside it. Last time we checked, it’s already clocked in more than 5,000 likes and 2,600 shares. We’re not saying it’s gone viral but it certainly found an appreciative set of admirers.
Entitled “Maluwag na Kaginhawahan,” the painting is basically a 4x3 feet solid grey acrylic paint on canvas. It’s plainness is broken only by a tiny figure of a can of sardines at the right bottom corner of the frame. In his post, Jadie says the minimalist approach is the best style that reflects “kung gaano din ka-minimal ang binibigay na ayuda ng nasa itaas.” He further says in his Facebook status: “These supposed lifeboats of our drowning citizens are left unattended or brazenly misused. Our stomachs are emptied, and so our resources.”
The painting’s very timely message is clearly acknowledged by its admirers. Proof are the comments that range from “Ang powerful naman kuys” to “Clear winner” to “Padayon!”
The art student knows whereof he speaks: he’s never gotten any ayuda since the beginning of the pandemic, he tells ANCX. “Ang naalala ko lang nanghingi lang ako ng delata sa kapitbahay last year dahil busy nga ako kakapinta, hindi ko namamalayang may bigayang bigas at delata pala sa labas,” he says.
Jadie has been living alone without family for a while in Antipolo. “Simula pa lang po nung high school, ako na po nagpapaaral sa sarili ko,” he says. He needed to stop his Fine Arts studies temporarily—he’s already in his sophomore year—“dahil ako lang po nag-aalaga sa lola ko at need ng pambayad ng bahay, pagkain at iba pang bayarin.” According to Jadie, an uncle sent his Lola Rosie to him last February. Lola Rosie, in return, has been supportive of his apo’s work. “Hindi niya ako gaanong inuutusan pag alam niyang nagpipinta po ako.” A tita helps Jadie out during months when he doesn’t get to sell any of his paintings.
Another reason Jadie joins art competitions, he says, is so he can also share his thoughts to the world, which is what he wanted to achieve with “Maluwag na Kaginhawahan.” “Naniniwala akong hindi kailangan ng maganda lang sa mata at makukulay na pintura ang kailangang gamitin para makagawa ng isang magandang sining,” he wrote on Facebook, “kundi kung gaano kalaman at kalawak ang kwento sa likod ng isang artwork. Katulad ng isang nanggagalit na pulang sardinas ay gano'n din kaanghang ang pakikibaka ng bawat Pilipino para marinig ang boses ng mga nasa ibaba.”
[This article has been updated.]