Pinoy artist wins grand prize in Canadian painting competition

  • A Filipino painter who grew up in Manila wins 1st prize in RBC Canadian Painting Competition
  • His winning piece is inspired by his childhood in Manila titled “Time Allergy”
  • He took his title from a Lav Diaz quote

Cruz's acrylic on canvass winning piece, "Time Allergy" (Credit: Globe and Mail)

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino student who grew up in Manila has won this year’s annual RBC Canadian Painting Competition with a grand prize of $25,000.

Patrick Cruz, a 28-year-old graduate student at the University of Guelph bested 14 other finalists from across Canada with his winning entry titled Time Allergy, an acrylic on canvass piece that was inspired by the hectic life of Manila where he was born.

“There’s a sense of density that you don’t experience in Vancouver, for example, or in Guelph,” Cruz told CBC. “In a sense, I grew up in chaos.”

Cruz, who is completing a master of fine arts program at the university, said he took his title from a quote by renowned Filipino filmmaker Lav Diaz who once said in an interview that “the concept of structured time is a Western transplant, introduced to the Philippines by its Spanish colonizers hundreds of years ago.”

“We were kind of allergic to this idea of modernity and modernization,” Cruz explained.

His piece depicting zigzagging lines and exploding colors is borne of the memory of his childhood watching colorful jeepneys plying the streets of Manila.

Another major influence to his art while growing up is Filipino painter and mixed-media artist Santiago Bose whose works he said he didn’t understand at the beginning, but remember them ‘critiquing’ the country’s religious superstructures.

“There’s a long history of painting in the Philippines, but there’s also a sense of conservatism,” Cruz said. (Click here to read more)

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