UP Architecture graduate and Master of Fine Arts candidate Abdulmari “Toym” Imao Jr. won Special Citation in the 2017 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) national competition.
He and the three grand winners in the sculpture and painting categories received their prizes consisting of a trophy designed by Metrobank prize recipient Noell El Farol and cash assistance, on September 21, 2017 at Le Pavillon, Pasay City.
According to the awards program, a special citation is awarded to “a finalist worthy of distinct mention”. Imao won for “Monument for the Pursuit of Happiness”, his work in pounded brass, stainless steel, and galvanized iron.
Imao used a Mindanao design motif and images of migratory birds and bamboo. The work reflects his imagination of the family’s role in the life of the Filipino. “The sculpture features the growth and blossoming of an individual depicted by different family milestones that are shown from every side of the work,” according to the awards program.
The awarding ceremony took place in the middle of a hectic week for Imao, when he participated in several arts events and protest actions related to the martial law anniversary. “In these dark times of death and attacks on the institutions of our democracy, our art can be used as a weapon of illumination,” he posted on Facebook.
According to toymimao.com, he is a sculptor, painter, and, recently, production designer for film and stage. He earned an M.F.A. Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Arts under a Fulbright scholarship. His works include: the Tandang Sora National Shrine in Quezon City; the Andres Bonifacio National Shrine in Maragondon, Cavite; and, the Dr. Jose P. Rizal statue in Carson City, California. Imao is the son of National Artist Abdulmari Imao.
The MADE national competition is a program of the Metrobank Foundation aimed at recognizing Filipino artists and designers in the field of painting, sculpture, interior design, and architecture. The sculpture recognition program is open to Filipino professional sculptors who have staged at least one solo exhibition. Some of the prominent artists who were once MADE prize-holders are Mark Justiniani, Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, Andres Barrioquinto, Sajid Imao, Ronald Ventura, and Jan Leeroy New. (Jo. Lontoc, UP MPRO)