Restoration plans for the UPV main building presented
On Friday, September 18, 2015, Prof. Martin Genodepa, Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Culture and the Arts of UP Visayas gathered culture and arts friends and alumni to present plans for the restoration of the main building as well as the preservation of art works in the UPV Art Gallery.
According to Genodepa, the University plans to convert the main building into a center for culture since the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has accorded it recognition as a structure of historical significance. Moreover, He said that UPV is committed to promote, preserve and nurture Visayan cultural heritage and therefore much effort and resources are needed for the building’s restoration and the redirection of purpose to serve as the center of culture and arts not only in the West Visayan region but in the entire country.
Formerly the old Iloilo City Hall, the building was conceptualized by the famed Filipino architect Juan Arellano in 1933. Sculptural decorations were executed by the famous Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti with the assistance of local artisans. The local newspaper Ang Makinaugalingon in its July 10, 1934 issue described the structure as the biggest and most beautiful building in the Philippines during the Commonwealth Period.
Construction was completed in 1935, and the building was formally inaugurated in December 1936 amidst the fanfare that accompanied the elevation of Iloilo to the status of chartered city.
The historicity as well as the quaint charm of the building deserves broader public appreciation. However because of its age, it has given in to deterioration and is in dire need of repair and restoration. A Committee was created to come up with a proposal for the preservation of the main building. Meanwhile, the Chancellor’s Committee for Culture and Arts (CCCA) through its various activities has been encouraging UPV friends and alumni to help in any way in the restoration of this prized Ilonggo heritage.
Simultaneous with the presentation of the plan is a walk-through in the UPV Art Gallery, which showcases the prized artworks of National Artists such as Jose Joya, Napoleon Abueva, Cesar Legaspi, and renowned Filipino artists, Vicente Manansala, Ang Kiukok, Francisco ‘Malang’ Santos. The gallery has also among its collection the work of famous Ilonggo artists such as Nelfa Querubin, Edward Defensor, Rock Drilon, Fred Orig Allan Cabalfin, Martin Genodepa, PG Zoluaga, among others. (With notes from the Center for West Visayan Studies and CCCA)
By: Anna Razel L. Ramirez