Ang INK’s Big 20 Bash: A celebration of Filipino Children’s Book Art

With two exhibits running simultaneously, it’s been a big 20th birthday for Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK). I feel kind of sorry for those who weren’t able to submit to any of the shows or weren’t able to drop in on the preparations. This is the kind of org event you really don’t want to miss. After all, a big anniversary bash like this comes just once every 5 to 10 years.

Group shot after we finished painting the mural

The museum was packed on opening night

The retrospective at the Ayala Museum (showing until Jan. 15, 2012), is like a big art buffet. With over 160 original artworks from published children’s books and some new pieces made just for the show, it’s a look-until-you’re-stuffed-in-the-eyeballs kind of exhibit. Best consumed unhurriedly and with a bunch of friends. Eat ice cream afterwards for full effect. And don’t forget to buy the books at your nearest bookstore while you’re at it.

Two of our newest members, Angela Taguiang and Frances Alvarez

Together with the retrospective of published artworks, we prepared 33 new pieces for this show. Among ourselves, we called it the “Future 20” artworks (a shortened tag for a look into the next 20 years of Ang INK). Members were challenged to come up with stories and concepts of their own and illustrate a scene based on that story.

Meeting for dinner to discuss concepts for the exhibit

The added 3D works by Pergy Acuna, Frances Alvarez, Serj BumatayAngela Taguiang and Jomike Tejido made the show a little bit different than our usual Ang INK exhibits. Past exhibits (not last year’s though) were usually restricted to 2D works. I like how we’re moving past that and challenging ourselves to come up with different pieces for our shows.

Dangly, hand-stiched artwork by Pergy Acuna

Boats by Frances Alvarez. How she managed to frame her work is a story unto itself.

Terra cotta piece by Serj Bumatay

Wooden animals by Jomike Tejido

The exhibit showing at the Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL) is almost like a small sweet snack. A bite of chocolate maybe. Or a cup of gelato. Or whatever dessert you can imagine. With only 26 artworks and occupying the walls of a small corridor, it’s a tiny show compared to the one in Ayala. But no less pretty if I may be so biased to say. Working on the theme “Reading and the Imagination” and all artworks conforming to a 10 x 10 in size, I think it demonstrates the INKies’ ability to work on a loose theme. But not too loose as to cause that I-don’t-know-what-to-do feeling for the artists. Maybe INKies work best this way.

The FHL is apparently decades old and was formerly a CIA outpost or something.

Artworks by Pergy Acuna and Aldy Aguirre

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that after all the preparations, we’re now in a big hangover phase. I guess nothing bonds a group better than working together and the result of all that hard work coming up like roses.

Currently, there are no illustration groups in the Philippines with this level of organization and diversity. A lot of Ang INK’s members work in different industries (animation, design, advertising, etc). And I guess, we’re pretty proud of that.  I can’t help but look into the future and hope for a similar organization encompassing all illustration categories, not just those for children. Is a Society of Filipino Illustrators a possibility?

Only the next couple of years will show.

* Photos courtesy of Pergy Acuna and Angela Taguiang



  1. Great shows indeed, Rommel! And I love how you wrote this entry: light, concise yet informative enough, and makes the reader curious to see the two shows. Oh did you know that FHL used to be a restaurant called Nielsen Tower, so-called because (before becoming a dining place) it used to be the airport tower for what was then Nielsen Airport of the 1930s. The architecture is art-deco inspired and resembles an airplane when viewed from above. Ayala Ave. and Paseo de Roxas were runways while Buendia and Makati Avenue were taxi strips for the planes. A private room inside The Peninsula Manila’s Escolta restaurant has old aerial photos and drawings of this airport. When Pres. Roxas transferred all commercial air operations from Nielsen to Nichols Air Base, the Ayalas did not know what to do with this big chunk of real estate. Well, now we all know what their goldthumbs eventually came up with.

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