Bravo, ASIA! Was a Celebration of Asian Excellence in the Arts
The two-day digital arts festival featured works from six Ramon Magsaysay awardees from various countries in Asia
Last weekend, before November came to a close, Bravo, ASIA! showcased the works of six Ramon Magsaysay laureates from all over Asia: the Philippines, Taiwan, India, and Japan. It was a celebration of Asian excellence in the arts, an exhibition of the Greatness of Spirit in various fields: music, film, literature, and dance.
The awardees featured were National Artists Nick Joaquin, Bienvenido Lumbera, and Ryan Cayabyab, as well as T.M. Krishna of India, Lin Hwai Min of Taiwan, and Akira Kurosawa of Japan.
On the first day, audiences were treated to excerpts from a Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan performance called “Songs of the Wanderers,” choreographed by Lin Hwai Min—a self-taught choreographer and dancer, and considered to be one of the most important choreographers in the world.
Following that came a reading of the Blackout Scene from Nick Joaquin’s A Portrait of the Artist as Filipino by the FEU Theater Guild. Portrait is one of the most adapted Filipino works, having spawned a film, a musical, and a movie musical (with music by fellow Ramon Magsaysay awardee Ryan Cayabyab).
The night ended with a special Karnatik music performance by T.M. Krishna, 2016 Ramon Magsaysay awardee and an artist-activist advocating to bridge social divides in India through the healing power of music. He was accompanied by Akkarai Subhalakshmi on violin, TRS Manikandan on Mridangam, and N Guruprasad on Ghatam.
The next day began with a panel discussion on the works and legacy of Akira Kurosawa, participated in by some of film’s foremost experts: Jag Garcia, media professional; Toshifumi Makita, a leading expert and researcher in the study of Kurosawa’s work; and Laurice Guillen, critically acclaimed director known for directing Salome, a film said to be adapted from Kurosawa’s Rashomon.
Next, the Ramon Magsaysay Transformative Leadership Institute’s NextGen Leaders did a reading of 1993 Ramon Magsaysay awardee Bienvenido Lumbera’s seminal essay, “Philippine Theater in Confinement: Breaking Out of Martial Law.”
The festival concluded with a special medley featuring the songs of the maestro himself, Ryan Cayabyab, 2019 Ramon Magsaysay awardee. The medley included “It’s Gonna Be a Happy Day,” a song to brighten everyone’s spirits during these trying times; “Kapit Lahat,” an anthem that speaks of unity and hope; and a never-before-seen a cappella version of one of his well-loved songs, “Better World.”
Throughout both days of the festival, free screenings of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon were available to watch through Vimeo.