The 53rd NSAC winners announced


    THE 53rd Shell National Students Art Competition (NSAC), carrying the theme “Hope in our Art,” recently recognized young talents for their outstanding works in oil/acrylic, watercolor, sculpture and digital fine arts.

    One of the country’s longest-running student art competitions challenged student-artists on how they can inspire Filipinos to be part of transforming the nation to become better for the coming generation.

    For the oil/acrylic category, the top spot was clinched by John Mhar Santos for his work “Foresight.”


    The grand prize for the watercolor category went to Wendel Candawan for his work “Rep-Leksyon.”

    Besting all other aspirants in the sculpture category was Bea Camille Cortez for her piece “Ayuda.”

    For the digital fine arts category, the first prize went to Rianne Aldercy Abucejo for her work “Wala Akong Choice Kundi Magdasal.”

    Each first prize winner received P60,000 cash, a gold medal, and a plaque, and his/her respective college or department gets a special grant worth P20,000 in support of the Faculty Development Program.

    Although the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has kept everyone apart, Cesar Romero, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. president and chief executive officer, said that art continues to be a bridge that brings us closer and gives us hope, and that it is one of the sectors that may be the last to recover from this pandemic.

    “That is why, it is essential for us to continue to provide support, recognizing the valuable place of art in nation-building and values formation.”

    Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Department of Tourism secretary, for her part said that the pandemic affected the art world as severely as it has impacted other sectors of society.

    The absence of art in everyone’s lives has been felt as art events were canceled, and galleries and museums were closed to in-person exhibitions.

    “But the importance of art became ever clearer during the many months we spent in isolation when art was used to express emotions people were feeling,” Puyat added, from fear and uncertainty, to gratitude and hope, and trying to make sense of what the world is going through.

    She pointed out the art they have created today will be viewed as this era’s response to the pandemic. In the same way, they will look back at how art has contended with pandemics throughout history.


    When people from the future look back at the art from 2020, “they will see how young artists did not let the pandemic hinder their creative expressions,” Puyat stressed.

    She pointed out their works of art will tell the story of how people overcame the crisis in manifold ways, drawing on the spirit of bayanihan, talent for innovation or desire for a more equal and just society.

    Mariles Gustilo, Ayala Museum director, believes that art is rooted in history and should always be regarded for its role in shaping the future and remembering the past.
    Art, she also said, is more than painting on a wall or a sculpture on display as it is about the dreams, hopes and the heart of an artist.

    Much as it is home to some of the country’s most awarded artworks, Ayala Museum is also a portal for new beginnings, where each and every painting and sculpture is a piece of a nation’s history, a fragment of collective consciousness that must be protected and nurtured.

    Shell NSAC paid tribute to Sonia Tejada who was a mother, a friend, a trailblazer, and one of the foundations of Shell NSAC.

    Tejada’s greatest legacy – the continuing evolution of Shell NSAC and its advocacy for arts and culture – continues and will be remembered with every Shell NSAC.