May 16, 2009, Balay Negrense, Silay City. I am always invited by the Silay United Group of Artists (SUGA, which also means "light") to say the invocation during the openings of their art exhibit. This was my third invitation already.
I finished my own children's summer art class that morning in Bacolod City and drove off to Silay City, dubbed as "The Paris of Negros Occidental" because of its well-preserved old and charming houses reminiscent of the glory days of the sugar industry. Art appreciation is even stronger in this part of the province as can be seen not only in their quaint architecture but in the Silay people's innate love for the arts.
Balay Negrense (House of the Negrenses), the epitome of that love for the arts, was bustling with activity when I arrived. As I marveled at the amazing works of the children, I couldn't help but praise the Greatest Artist during the invocation for the contrasting light and shadows of day and night, for sculpting the earth and the mountains and hills, for painting the world in many colors like the green of the trees, the orange, yellow, and red of fruits and flowers, for creating all sorts of animals, and for creating man in His own image, as can be shown in the many artworks in various expressions.
The week-long art show, now on its 9th year, featured works in various media by 30 students from tots to teens. SUGA president Ian Valladarez expressed a great appreciation for the works of his students who are mostly first timers. Famous for his exquisite wire art, he also teaches wire sculpture to the children of Binalbagan, a town down south of Negros Occidental.