The opening of the art exhibit, “August Rush: The Stunning Life in Agriculture,” on August 13 at the DL Umali Hall, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in Laguna signaled the start of the centennial celebration of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics (DAAE) of the UPLB College of Economics and Management (CEM). The exhibit, cosponsored by the UPLB Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts (OICA), featured diverse artworks portraying farm life and provided the audience “a glimpse of how spectacular the agriculture sector is.”
“We’ve been feeding the minds of agricultural economists for over a hundred years. Now, we want to feed not only the minds but also the heart and soul; that’s why we are starting our centennial celebration with this art exhibit,” said Dr. Antonio Jesus Quilloy, chair of DAAE.
“August Rush” showcased exemplary artworks by Quilloy and fellow artists, Jowee Aguinaldo, Karla Sajona-Sta. Cruz, Aaron Sta. Cruz, Bing Famoso Tac-an, Glenn Blanco, Gem Blanco, Deo Blanco, and Sarah Cuenco, depicting life in agriculture through various mediums, styles, and techniques.
“Despite the downward trajectory of its economic performance in the Philippines and the Asian Region, the sector maintains its economic and social significance—being the main livelihood in the countryside; a major supplier of food and raw materials in both rural and urban societies; and an important ally in natural resource conservation,” Prof. Jaymee Cabangbang said at the opening ceremony. “The sector, despite the changing times, remains a wellspring of inspiration for Filipino artists,” she added.
“It is important that we recognize how agriculture shapes both economic and social developments. Such an appreciation provides insights on how past decisions and circumstances have led to current conditions and serves as a guide to the possible directions that the said sector can take in the future,” Dr. Portia G. Lapitan, UPLB Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said. “Magsama-sama tayo para itaguyod ang agrikultura,” she added.
Karla Sajona-Sta. Cruz expressed gratitude and related the elements of art to agriculture. “We now have a greater sense of appreciation of the things that are grown and being consumed. We also have gratitude to the farmers, the traders, the scientists, the policy makers, and other agriculture stakeholders. I hope this exhibit will make an imprint in our collective memory, that we should not take things for granted. Rather, we should learn how to appreciate agriculture beyond its traditional functions, as art embodies the life of agriculture,” she said.
OICA Director Jerry Yapo, and CEM Associate Dean Arlene Gutierrez also delivered welcome messages. Special numbers were performed by a CEM alumna, Ms. Melanie Cortez, and the string ensemble, Harmonya, at the event.
The exhibit ran until August 31. The DAAE will also be hosting an international conference and a grand alumni homecoming in October as part of its centennial celebrations.