Komiks writer and filmmaker Carlo J. Caparas has recently been named National Artist for Visual Arts and Film. News report here.
I will not say in this particular post whether Carlo J. Caparas deserves the title of National Artist or not, for that will be a subjective argument.
Here, I will remain objective and stick to the facts.
Carlo J. Caparas is simply not qualified to be given the National Artist Award, for the very least “Visual Art”, and here are my reasons.
It is clear that “Visual Arts” and “Film” are two different categories. Therefore, “Visual Arts” refer to Carlo’s work in comics. Carlo is a writer. He has never illustrated any of his comics stories, least of all his most popular ones. Panday and Pieta? They were illustrated by Steve Gan. Bakekang? It was illustrated by Mar Santana. Kroko? Illustrated by Hal Santiago. Totoy Bato? Illustrated by Tor Infante.
In the guidelines for selection of National Artist for Visual Artists, it clearly states:
Visual Arts – painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation art, mixed media works, illustration, graphic arts, performance art and/or imaging;
How can someone who is not an illustrator, therefore *NOT* a visual artist ever be named National Artist for Visual Arts? If Carlo should ever be given this title, the title should be shared with all the artists he collaborated with, for that is the nature of comics. It is a collaborative medium as Carlo himself points out many times during his talks.
If not, then this title should be removed, as it is not factually descriptive of who he is.