Building hope through art


    PASSIONATE local artists will once again come together to give messages of nation building, perseverance, identity and hope through the 53rd Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC).

    With “Hope in our Art” as the theme, they will be using their brush, hands, pen and technology to show how they envision a resilient nation.

    The contest has four categories: oil/acrylic, watercolor, sculpture and digital fine arts (print).

    Winners will receive cash prizes, medals and plaques, while the finalists will each receive a cash prize and a Certificate of Merit. All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation.

    The respective college or department of the first prize winners will get a special grant in support of the Faculty Development Program.

    To join the competition, visit the official website of Shell Philippines and review the complete mechanics (

    After completing all the requirements, click the link to register ( Complete the entry form and upload the requirements.

    To upload, compress all the requirements in a zipped file which must be labeled with the participant’s first name and surname followed by the title of entry.

    Upload the requirements through WeTransfer ( and send to yourself to access the download link. Go to your inbox and look for the WeTransfer email. Then, copy the download link and go back to the entry form to paste the download link.
    Submission of entries is until October 11.

    Serge Bernal Jr., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. vice president for external and government relations, hopes that this year’s theme captures what the country needs and that the students will continue advocating art and culture in nation building.

    Bernal said art is a powerful tool that can shape the vision of the future. “It is through art that we can capture the stories of progress, document the evolution of our culture, and recognize efforts of our modern-day heroes,” he said.

    For her part, Mariles Gustilo, senior director of arts and culture at the Ayala Foundation Inc., said the relationship between NSAC and the Ayala Museum goes a long way and runs deep.

    “Today, the Shell collection forms the core of Ayala Museum’s Philippine contemporary art collection,” Gustilo said, adding they are forever grateful and committed to care for and showcase these to the next generation.

    In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, Shell decided to pursue this year’s competition.

    Art history has shown that life-changing events brought forth some of the freshest and newest expressions of art and the human condition.

    At a virtual event for the 53rd NSAC, there was an Arts Talk where thought leaders and industry insiders like Con Cabrera, Andrei Pamintuan and Riza Romero shed light on the challenges and opportunities of the art sector during this precarious time.

    Cabrera said the artist must have a participatory spirit. Young artists now are very crucial, she said, as she looks forward to what they will be bringing on the table for the future of the art world and community.

    “We are in an ecology wherein we depend on each other, inspire everyone to become creative, critical and productive,” she added.

    Pamintuan, on the other hand, said young artists have incredible roles in society such as changing people’s lives through their expressions and reminding them about humanity.

    For him, “the pandemic is temporary but their art and contributions will always be a lasting legacy.”

    The Filipino youth, especially young artists, will prevail, according to Romero, as they are resilient, digital natives who like to explore and experiment.

    “What we can write about, think of and imagine, we can visualize and make tangible hope,” she noted.