Tradition and Innovation from a Central Philippine University Artist’s “Paint of View”

By Lucell Larawan

Among the highlights of the national arts month is the Philippine Visual Arts Festival: The Rizal Experience (PIVAF: TRE) at Angono, Rizal.

This is the main event for sculptors, painters and cultural workers. I am among the five delegates in Panay, representing Iloilo.

My painting entry entitled “Kambal na Tradisyon at Inobasyon Tungo sa mas Matibay na Pagkakakilanlan” is my interpretation of this year’s theme. It shows that both tradition and innovation are Siamese twins where one animates the other.

Tradition is the treasure trove of indigenous wisdom, without which communities cannot establish a unique identity that they can call their own. Innovations are indications of growth needed for a stronger and more mature culture.

Cultures doe not have to stagnate; they should soar. As they evolve, people should have a stronger identity needed for a better sense of pride. Such sense of pride is mediated by an intervening variable—symbols of excellence.

People who develop a better sense of pride are liberated from a psychic malady called Doña Victorina syndrome or self-contempt (common among Filipinos) and become more prepared as building blocks of national development.

My painting shown here is more particular about the Iloilo milieu. Some reminisce our Carabao-Carroza festival, Pinta Paraw and the distant past where the barter of Panay used the salakot medium. We can also take pride of original inventions by two Central Philippine University professors: the single-burner rice husk stove of Alexis Belonio and the pellet mill by Jaime Cabarles and associates.

In a state of flux, our culture continually establishes a stronger distinction developing among the Filipino subcultures.

The approach used as I limned this in acrylic is a synthesis of modern styles. The composition embraces the tradition of breaking traditions when it comes to canons of art making.


Lucell Larawan is an Associate Professor of the Department of Business Administration, Central Philippine University. As a prolific researcher, he completed eight single-authored researches on business and management, and art.

He presented papers in the “International Conference on Business and Management” in Turkey (April 15-17, 2011) and the “First International Conference on Visayan Art and Culture” (SM Trade Center, Cebu City, 2010).

Lucell will be presenting two papers in June 2012, one in the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance International Conference and another in the Second Asian Conference on Cultural Studies.

He availed the First President Manuel Roxas and Sanag 2010 Literary Fellowships. In 2010, Lucell got a research grant from the NCCA on the fine artists of Panay. He had two solo visual arts exhibits at Museo Negrense and UP Art Gallery and served as trainer of Artist for Crisis Program of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Since two years ago, he had conducted visual arts training for the indigenous people and the youths at Rizal street and has managed their visual arts festivals through the Kalinawa Art Foundation (Makati-based) and the Pagtubo sa Kasanag.

Lucell regularly writes a column in The Daily Guardian, a daily in Western Visayas.

In sculpture, Lucell has two semi-finalist awards in the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence. He is a member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts-National Committee on Visual Arts.

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