Bibsy Carballo wrote an interesting article on Francisco V. Coching with regards to the National Artist Award. You can read it below:
Wanted: A national artist of the people
I think it goes without saying that I wholeheartedly support Francisco V. Coching for National Artist. There is one thing that keeps this from happening, and it’s primarily the Philippine art world’s snobbishness when it comes to comic books.
I have no doubt that many in the art community went up in arms against Carlo J. Caparas, not only because he was unqualified, but also because his body of work consists of comics. This is something that I had always thought of during that whole debacle. Am I wrong? I’m pretty sure I’m not.
I still cannot forget the newspaper critics/writers who turned down their nose at Coching’s National Artist bid several years ago. One even went so far as to say that Ang Kiukok’s victory didn’t matter too much because he won over “just” a comic book artist.
It would be pretty useless to froth at the mouth at this… I’m realizing the Philippine art world is mostly elitist in their taste, and would never even consider the possibility that comics can ever be considered as true art. Unfortunately, this thinking is true for some working in comics as well. This is why a lot of them consider comics as nothing more than disposable entertainment. Some also believe comics are nothing more than a stepping stone to what they perceive to be “higher” forms of art.
What can I do about it, except to write my opinions down here and say I wholeheartedly disagree with the lot of them. That I believe comics to be true art and literature. That I create comics to aspire to that standard. That I celebrate the work of many talented creators in Philippine comics who I believe are creating true art, among them Francisco V. Coching, Nestor Redondo, Alfredo Alcala, Alex Niño, Tony Velasquez, Larry Alcala, Mars Ravelo, Pablo Gomez, Cloduaoldo Del Mundo, Francisco Reyes, and so many more.
In the end, for Coching to be National Artist is merely a formality. He IS a National Artist in deed, even if he’s not recognized by a snobbish few. His work has spoken for and has represented Filipino sentiment, emotion, humanity and culture for several decades, and has done so through the highest standards of the craft. He is much respected and admired by those who do see and understand his work.
I don’t need the validation of the Philippine Government and the Philippine Art Elite to know and believe Francisco V. Coching to be a true artist of the people, and a true National Artist.
For more on Francisco V. Coching
Francisco V. Coching: Filipino Komiks Creator
Francisco V. Coching by Abe Florendo
The Life and Art of Francisco V. Coching
Coffeetable book published by The Vibal Foundation
Francisco V. Coching’s El Indio
Collected series restored by Komikero Publishing, and published by the Vibal Foundation
Video 48: The Art of Francisco V. Coching