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Juan Luna descendants push town’s art revival

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LUNA, La Union -- In this scenic coastal town where eminent painter Juan Luna traced his roots, an arts renaissance is unfolding.

A Luna descendant, artist Reymundo Resurreccion, is helping painters and sculptors pursue their passion, according to Joel Rilloraza, a member of Timpuyog Artes ti Ilocandia, a chapter of the Artists Association of the Philippines (AAP).

The group has been holding exhibits at the Pilgrims House lobby and Gallery 1 of Bahay na Bato in Barangay Nalvo Norte here, which overlooks the pristine stone beach.

“We want Luna [town] to be known for its artists, not only because of Juan Luna, but because it is a tourism site,” said Rilloraza, 38.

His six children, aged 8 to 17, are all in the arts, and some of their works are exhibited in the two galleries. They use different mediums like oil, pastel, acrylic paint and charcoal.

Joel Jr., 17, is at ease in both oil and charcoal, and does both realistic and abstract works. He has done at least 10 commissioned portraits and is working on an abstract. He could finish a charcoal painting in a day.

Jewel Reign, 15, loves calligraphy. The four other children—Jeril Vonn, 13; Jio Jame, 11; and Jedd Ryle, 8—also paint, learning the basics during training sponsored by AAP.

But their parents do not allow them to spend every hour on painting because of their tender age and because they attend school. Their mother, Olive, is a school teacher and is also learning painting.

“I allow them now because it’s summer vacation. During school days, I limit their time for arts,” Rilloraza said.

The children perform well in academics, with Joel Jr. always at the top of his class.

Renato Austriz and his wife, Marilou, are also at the forefront of the arts revival. They have been painting and promoting their art, and have contributed new works for exhibit.

“We also use social media to advertise and sell our paintings,” Marilou said.

The Luna artists are benefiting from the influx of visitors to the town, which is fast becoming popular for the Bahay na Bato gallery where sculptures and paintings are displayed, the Namacpacan church, the “Baluarte” (watchtower) and the stone beaches.

Resurreccion said he wanted the artworks always on display at the galleries and not only during special occasions.

“The memory of [Juan] Luna is always there. It is always connected with the town where there are good artists. We want our town to be known as a place where art thrives,” he said. –

The Filipino Express

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