May 29, 2024

The city government led by Mayor Benjamin Magalong presented a certificate of lifelong recognition and appreciation to Baguio-born and bred Ibaloy artist Roland P. Bay-an during the flag-raising rites at City Hall on July 25.

Bay-an is recognized “for his enduring and unparalleled dedication to Cordilleran visual art with his signature ‘slash and dash’ style that continuously inspires and rejuvenates individuals who come face-to-face with his masterpieces. And so with his commitment in helping the city government in his personal capacity as well as his leadership in organizing other artists to share their God-given talents thereby immensely contributing to the city’s efforts in sustaining its status as a creative city,” as written in the certificate of recognition.

Bay-an was born and spent most of his youth in Trancoville where he discovered his penchant for drawing in grade 3.

When he was a third year high school student at Saint Louis University, Bay-an was enlisted by his teacher to an art contest, something which he did not enjoy since he believes that an artwork has its own unique beauty and value that should not be pitted against other artworks.

“His loving mamang instilled in him and his siblings the values of humility, respect, doing good and being good at all times and most of all, being content with what they have, values he carries up to this day,” Assistant City Health Officer Celia Brillantes said when she introduced Bay-an.

She said Bay-an is the second of four children whose parents are not well-off. He remembers his manang Teresita, 12 years his senior, having to work at an early age to help make ends meet. He and his younger siblings, Robert and Peter, also learned to work at a young age.

       Bay-an worked his way through secondary school as a waiter at the then Dainty Restaurant where he would spend his free time drawing and painting when there were few customers.

       The absence of art materials at the restaurant taught him to experiment and be resourceful – important traits that he shares to his students up to now.

“Basta pwedeng mag-produce ng kulay, banat.  Huwag kang matakot mag-experiment at mag-diskubre ng iba’t-ibang epekto ng materyales sa iyong canvas,” he advises his students.

    Except for his father who was musically inclined, Bay-an does not remember anyone else in the family with any artistic inclinations. He remembers seeing his mamang beaming with pride whenever she would hear praises for his work and his manang Teresita crying whenever his paintings were sold.

Not being able to go to a formal art school, Bay-an honed his craft under the tutelage of local artists Bayard Aquitania, Santi Bose, Darnay Demetillo, and other pioneers of Tahong Bundok, one of the city’s original art groups.  

He is currently with the Pasakalye Group of Artists formed by bookseller and art patron Maricar Docyogen that gives him a venue to share to others what he knows and allows him to continue honing his craft as an artist, Brillantes said.    “At 69 and many sold artworks later, he is still the same person: a man with a quiet, unassuming presence but with an endless passion for what he loves most – painting. He is still a shy Ibaloy who prefers to be on the sidelines and very reluctant to speak in front of a crowd like this. He has turned down so many offers, including a stint in Paris, because he wanted to avoid the limelight,” she said. – Gaby B. Keith