The religious sculptures of the city of Pampanga presented at the nat’l art fair

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HOLY IMAGES These religious images created by the expert hands of sculptor Kapampangan Willy Layug show unique techniques he learned during an apprenticeship in Spain. A master of religious art, Layug has been recognized by the Vatican and the Philippine government. —PHOTOS BY TONETTE OREJAS

GUAGUA, PAMPANGA — The national art fair, ManilART 2021, is once again holding satellite exhibitions in provinces, including Pampanga where it features a religious theme, according to an official with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) .

Danny Rayos del Sol, head of the National Committee of Art Galleries of the NCCA (NCAG), said the satellite exhibition titled “The Legacy of Layug and the Church Art of Betis” in the town of Guagua will take place until October 23.

Del Sol said it was the first time ManilART has organized an exhibition on a religious theme since the project began in 2009. The Guagua exhibition is held at the museum of sculptor Willy Layug. The museum sits right in the middle of a 2 hectare property called Villa de Viatarit in Barangay San Agustin in the woodcarving district of Betis, an ancient town of Pampanga.

Unique techniques

Antonio Gallo, head of the consular chancellery of the Italian Embassy, ​​led the opening of the exhibition on October 9.

On display are approximately 20 works of varying sizes by Layug and several artists. Some images show unique techniques like the estofado that Layug learned during an apprenticeship in Spain.

In 2016, Layug received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and the Pope) medal which the Pope presents to lay people for their exemplary service to the Church. Layug received the Presidential Medal of Merit from then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“It promotes tourism in our city and of course the works speak of our Christian faith,” Mayor Dante Torres said at the opening thanking the NCCA and NCAG for organizing the event. The main fair will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Taguig City from October 13-17.

Layug said that the suspension of the Dukit (wood carving) festival has delayed the training of young people in crafts. A house next to the museum is planned to be a training center. Some of ManilART’s satellite sites this year include Likhang Silangan in Rizal Province, Tarlac Art in Tarlac Province and Balai Kalipay in Mindanao. —TONETTE OREJAS

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