For those familiar with this site, I’ve been running a protest agaist former President GMA’s addition of Carlo J. Caparas to the roster of Philippine National Artists. Because of a supreme court ruling, the conferment of the title to CJC was stopped, and the case is left pending. That’s how it stands now. So no, as of this moment, Carlo J. Caparas is not a National Artist yet, regardless of what some so called “legitimate” journalists are saying in the print world.
If you wish to know what I’m talking about, please refer to this post.
The very core of my argument against CJC was that he is unqualified for the title, based on the guidelines of the NCCA with regards to the National Artist Awards, specifically in the category of “Visual Arts”. To keep the argument objective and clear cut, I point out a provision that does not include “komiks writers” or writers of any kind among the qualifications for the Visual Arts Category. It is probably the most objective case I can make against CJC that is simply beyond argument. Nobody can fault this as the provision is clear cut as it is written.
Adam David recently pointed out in a Facebook discussion that he didn’t agree with the basis of my objection because it disqualifies practically ALL komiks writers. That based on my arguments, people like Budjette Tan or Pablo Gomez can never qualify. I am sure many of those out there who have seen my protest have thought the same thing. For how can someone Mars Ravelo NOT be qualified to be National Artist?
The thing is, Adam David is right. Based on my argument, no komiks writer can ever be qualified to be National Artist for the category of “Visual Arts”.
Does that seem unfair? Yes, it is. But unfortunately, that is how the NCCA guidelines seem to say as they are written today. Let me quote from the guidelines here:
Candidates may be nominated under one or more of the following categories:
Visual Arts – painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation art, mixed media works, illustration, graphic arts, performance art and/or imaging;
It is clear that in the Visual Arts category, “Komiks writer” is nowhere to be found, or any description that remotely resembles writing in any form. However, “Illustration” is, which makes illustrators qualify, but not writers.
Clearly, the writers of this guidelines never considered the comic book form when they were drafting this set of rules. To a certain degree it’s indicative of the the lack of attention and respect the comic book form gets from the Philippine Government. I can consider this a flaw in the guidelines that I hope could be rectified soon.
Fortunately or unfortunately, it is the same flaw that quite neatly disqualifies Carlo J. Caparas from getting the National Artist Title for Visual Arts.
That is the essence of my objective protest.
If and when the guidelines are ever amended and komiks writers are now qualified to win the award in the Visual Arts category, my objective protest goes out the window. However, that is not the entire basis of my protest. There is a much larger, more subjective discussion in which I feel CJC could never qualify either, but since the issues would be of quality and beauty, the discussion becomes more debatable.
I’m firmly in the corner of people who believe CJC is not qualified simply because his work does not meet the standard of what I could consider good or even “great”. There are plenty of other creators out there who should have gotten the title long before CJC ever could: Francisco V. Coching, Mars Ravelo, Larry Alcala, Tony Velasquez, Clodualdo Del Mundo, Pablo Gomez, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Alex Niño, and many many more.
For foreign readers of this blog, this situation is akin to Rob Liefeld winning a Lifetime Achievement Award long before the likes of Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, etc. Nothing wrong with Rob Liefeld or his accomplishments, but recognition of such historic significance needs to point to those older guys first before anyone else.