Hamzah Marbella: Child prodigy, global Filipino artist

At only 12 years old, Hamzah Marbella is already representing Filipino art on the global stage

At only 12 years old, Hamzah Marbella is already representing Filipino art on the global stage

Try searching “Hamzah Marbella” on Google and chances are you’ll see an article entitled “The World’s Youngest Art Prodigies (Artists who got their start when they were still in diapers).” In the article, he’s mentioned in the same breath as Kieron Williamson from United Kingdom who’s touted to be the next Monet; Akiane Kammarick whose realist religious art began fetching millions when she was just four years old; and Wang Yani, the youngest ever artist who had a solo exhibit at the Smithsonian.

Similarly—and very much at part with the children described—Hamzah is already representing Filipino art on the global stage. And the boy is only 12 years old.

Gift from within
At an age when most young kids are just beginning to walk and talk, Hamzah was already painting and producing what his father, Renato, described as “art forms.”

“When he was two years old from his crib, he would always watch me paint,” relays Renato who is also an artist himself. “He looks for anything—bottle caps, stones, clothespins and later on they become art forms,”

Surrounded by his works and proud parents Elma and Renato Marbella

Surrounded by his works and proud parents Elma and Renato Marbella

And so, at the age of five, Hamzah’s artwork “Bounty” was auctioned off for a whopping HK$60,000. His piece was noted as the third highest bought at the charity auction of the International Care Ministries in Hong Kong, and a feat considering that the rest of the block had the works of National Artists from all over Asia.

Besides being a proud recipient and receiver of more than 50 national and international accolades and awards including Special Citation from the National Commission for Culture, an Outstanding Artist Award and the Arts and a Certificate of Recognition at the UN International Children’s Art Competition, Hamzah is the youngest member of the Artists Association of the Philippines.

He has produced approximately 300 artworks, some of which have been featured at the Asian exhibitions and have been appeared at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

It’s a little known fact that Hamzah actually has a photographic memory, and that he translates the everyday things he encounters into striking works of art.

“Here in Cavite, there are a lot of fish sold on the streets, some in crates,” shares his father in explaining the predominantly pastoral setting in Hamzah’s art. Fisher folk with cats, fish, flowers and Hamzah’s signature image of the sun, prompt art lovers to enter his wonderful visualization of the world.

In his own words, Hamzah says, “With paintings, my hands are able to say things that my mouth can’t.”

Nourishing the gift
With its long-standing thrust of encouraging Filipino children who have exceptional talent, Promil Pre-School recognized Hamzah as an Outstanding Child Artist at an event in Bonifacio Highstreet’s Activity Pods in Taguig.

Hamzah joined fellow painter CJ de Silva and a select group of exceptionally talented children, all of whom are walking testaments not only of Filipino talent, but of the formula milk’s heritage in nurturing gifted children as well.

“We’re glad that parents continue to take an active role in developing their children’s gifts to excellence. Through Hamzah’s story and his achievements, we hope to inspire and encourage even more Filipino parents to nurture their children’s talents,” concludes Rhea Villareal, Promil Pre-School product manager for Wyeth Nutrition.

“We hope that by recognizing Hamzah, we can continue to inspire a new generation to develop their talent and potential towards excellence.”


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