Visual artists unite for the environment

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WWF-Philippines President and CEO Joel Palma and WWF-Philippines Trustee Kristen Quintos; artists Elmer Borlongan, José Santos 3rd, Geraldine Javier and Mark Justiniani; National Artist Ben Cabrera; and WWF-Philippines Chairman of the Board Gigi Montinola

Five top visual artists joined World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines as art ambassadors to support its biodiversity conservation efforts. For their very first project, National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera and sculptors Elmer Borlongan, Geraldine Javier, Mark Justiniani and José Santos 3rd created limited-edition pieces, inspired by the organization’s iconic panda logo.

‘Wildlife Rehabilitator’ by Elmer Borlongan

Done in collaboration with Tin-aw Art Management Inc. and Secret Fresh, the show is the initial project of “Art, Heart, Earth,” a WWF-Philippines campaign to work with the cultural sector.

Living in harmony with nature, man’s role in conservation and the concept of sustainability and home were just some of the themes explored in the pieces created for the collection.

Cabrera’s “Kapit-Bisig” and Borlongan’s “Wildlife Rehabilitator” highlight the importance of man living in consonance with nature. Justiniani’s “Kugos” (Carry), on the other hand, presents a caretaker donning a suit in the panda’s likeness to care for and protect the orphans of the species.


Santos’ idea of saving and salvaging materials through his art is reflected in his piece titled “Natural Selection” while Javier’s work entitled “Home” is inspired by her community in the province, stressing the importance of a sustainable environment.

‘Kapit-Bisig’ by Ben Cabrera PHOTOS COURTESY OF TIN-AW ART MANAGEMENT

Though they had different approaches in creating their pieces for the collection, WWF’s Art Ambassadors are united in their call for people to save the environment.

Borlongan shared that his particular concern is the destruction of oceans. Living 10-minutes away from the West Philippine Sea, he has been a witness to how acts like dynamite fishing can harm both the environment and fisherfolk; and has already created art pieces tackling this issue.

Both BenCab and Javier shared that plastic waste is among their most urgent concerns.

“We have to have discipline in cleaning up our surroundings and planting trees,” said BenCab. Meanwhile, Javier has started planting vegetables in her home to help provide food and additional income for the community living near her.

‘Kugos’ by Mark Justiniani

At the end of it all, WWF-Philippines’ Art Ambassadors hope that their pieces provoke questions and discourse among viewers on environmental issues.

The WWF-Philippines Art Ambassadors’ is still on view until today at Ronac Lifestyle Center, Paseo de Magallanes, Makati City.

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