As home of the oldest religious relic in the country, the Santo Niño de Cebu, the province of Cebu marked 450 years of Augustinian presence in the Philippines, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Santo Niño Church as Basilica Minore both in 2015.
To keep the Cebuanos devotion burning more passionately, the Kaplag Executive Committee—which led last year‘s milestones—staged once again the Kristo Niño, an offshoot of Kristo Manila, which is an annual event has been giving viewers a chance at Lenten meditation through the visual arts.
For Kaplag executive director and NCCA commissioner Fr. Harold Rentoria, O.S.A., Kristo Niño 2016, is not only meant to be a venue for the exploration of Christian iconography, it is also intent on promoting the fading tradition of Philippine ecclesiastical art which is a platform for dialogue on what it means to be a Catholic Christian and more importantly, what it means to be a Filipino Catholic Christian.
Part of cultural pride is the strength of belief in tradition, not the least of which are spiritual practices. This makes the image of the Holy Child and the exhibition’s theme, “Sagrada Familia: The Child Christ in the Filipino Family,” more fitting inspirations for this year’s presentation—an initiative that truly acknowledges children and families as heritage from God.
Artists from Bacolod, Batanes, Capiz, Cebu, Iloilo, Saranggani, Siquijor, and even Manila and are joining Kristo Niño 2016.
Aside “Kristo Niño,” another highlight of this year’s exhibition is the unveiling of the “Niño Sugbuanon” by artist Wilfredo Offemaria Jr., a limited edition sculpture series for the 450th Anniversary of Kaplag.
The religious sculpture is based on the historical account that the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu was found in a box by a Spanish soldier named Juan Camus inside a burning hut on April 28, 1565.
The “Niño Sugbuanon” is a commissioned work of the 450 Kaplag Executive Committee as a token to the major sponsors and partners of the 450 Kaplag Celebrations. The artwork will be given to the Prior General of the Order of Saint Augustine based in Rome, to Archbishop Jose Palma, D.D., and to other institutions and individuals who contributed to the success of the events surrounding the 450 Kaplag.
The Kristo Niño 2016 exhibition is just one of the many activities to close the 450th Kaplag celebrations.
Among the events to watch out for are the Triduum Masses from April 25 to 27 at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, the opening of the Kaplag photo exhibit on April 24 at the Mountain Wing of SM Seaside, the “Kaplag Konsyerto” at the New Cebu Coliseum on April 27 featuring Fr. Jonas Mejares, the singing rector of the basilica, with Cebuana singing divas Donna Cruz, Anna Fegi, Sheryn Regis, and Eva Santos, and finally, the convergence and dance presentations of Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival, Aklan’s Ati-Atihan Festival, and Cebu’s Sinulog at the Basilica’s Pilgrim Center on April 28 in honor of the Child Christ.
Kristo Niño 2016 is supported by the 450 Kaplag, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and SM City Cebu and is currently on exhibit at the Art Center of SM City Cebu.