April 21, 2024

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) recently held the Francisco Coching Komiks Exhibit to showcase Francisco V. Coching’s works in commemoration of his contribution to Philippine Art at SM City Baguio.

Coching, National Artist for Visual Arts, also referred to as the King of Comics and is one of the pillars of Philippine Comics industry, played an essential role in the emergence of Golden Age of Philippine Komiks.

He is an illustrator and writer known for his modern art style and profound storytelling that highlights Philippine cultural heritage. Some of his most popular works are Kenkoy series, hagibis, and lapu-lapu among others.

Having more than 50 series featuring Philippine mythology and life realities, his works have had film adaptations and has inspired generations of artists in the Philippines.

The exhibit opening was led by SM Assistant Mall Manager Jason Peña, City Government of Baguio Chief of Staff Samantha Hamada, Mara Williamson, NCCA Executive Director Oscar Casaysay, and Mall Manager Philip Baysac.

Hamada extended his appreciation and support to Francisco and the arts.

Speaking on behalf of Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Hamada said the city hopes the exhibit becomes a place of inspiration for artists for them to have opportunities to develop their skills and that there could be another national artist in the same field in the future.

Casaysay cited Coching’s works that honor women such as Marabini which means Marahas na Binibini, a heroine that embodies fierceness and Talipandas which features Esperanza, a strong and independent woman.

A distant relative of Coching, Williamson took a trip down the memory lane as she explained how they thought of making Coching more known to everyone, especially the youth.

Randy Valiente, an artist and active advocate of Philippine Komiks, lectured about the history of Philippine Komiks.

Valiente said the country is in the borderline of traditional and modernity which clearly shows a gap between generations who still prefer printed copies over digitally published works. However, over the years the print industry in general has faced challenges due to the shift of readership and generational difference in terms of preference.

He acknowledged Filipinos’ creativity and that Philippine Komiks has not died, as most Filipino artists only chose to work abroad for better opportunities as there are limited outlets in the country.

He said he hopes for more exhibits and huge publisher of komiks to flourish in the country to encourage and provide opportunities for local artists to share their work. – Jenfrey Benafin