It its 5th year, Himbon comes “Full Circle” at SM City Iloilo

Himbon arts group 5th year anniversary Full Circle

Contemporary artist group Himbon celebrates its 5th year anniversary with a launching of an exhibit themed “Full Circle” on Monday, Sept. 19 at SM City Northwing.

The exhibit featuring masterpieces of 33 artists is in partnership with SM City Iloilo, and will run until September 26.

Engr. Gilbert Domingo, SM City Mall Manager, said that they are glad to host their longtime partner in their fifth anniversary.

“We at SM City Iloilo are very happy to be a venue of such work of arts from the esteemed members of Himbon. Coming from different backgrounds and styles, these artworks truly celebrate the wide array of talents from established, renowned and even up and coming artists of Himbon,” said Domingo.

“We are truly honored to have these works which I’m sure will be surely appreciated by our customers and by the Ilonggo community,” he added.

SM City Iloilo mall manager Engr. Gilbert Domingo

Himbon President Harry Mark Gonzales expressed the group’s gratitude towards the mall for the support they received since their inception.

“We would like to thank SM City for a very long time partnership with our organization. For five years, we survived some struggles on finances and venues, and this mall has been a big help in giving lot of exposure to those artists who are just starting their careers and at the same time opportunity to continue their art,” said Gonzales.

Himbon Full Circle art exhibit at SM City Iloilo

History of Himbon

Himbon Contemporary Ilonggo Artists Group is a collective of artists from all over Panay Island engaged in multi-disciplinary art forms.

As a group, Himbon was formally formed in September 2017 by Harry Mark Gonzales, Vic Fario, Gina Apostol, and Marrz Capanang.

But Himbon’s birth dates back as early as 2015 when Gonzales wanted to address the concern of both acclaimed and emerging artists who found it difficult to showcase their works even as art galleries have mushroomed all over Iloilo.

With the encouragement of esteemed artists/professors Ed Defensor and Martin Genodepa, Gonzales gradually gathered artists while the linkage with Troy Camarista forged a partnership with the SM group as SM City Iloilo and the Molo Mansion became venues for Himbon’s group exhibitions.

Despite the harsh criticisms, Himbon artists embraced malls and other public spaces as alternative venues while recognizing the impact when connecting with a larger group of people rather than works hidden at museums for a limited or elite audience.

True to its name, Himbon (the Hiligaynon word that means to gather or to assemble) espouses camaraderie—where veteran artists harness the skills of the neophyte artists while also reminding each other that character and integrity are equally as important in dealing with the larger Ilonggo society.

In Himbon, there is diversity and harmony. Himbon artists may come from different backgrounds or practice varied art genres, yet they all co-exist.

More than that, Himbon artists are inclusive. Beyond individual fame or success, they recognize their social responsibilities by working with government and private institutions in tackling concerns on environment, socio-economy, mental health, children’s welfare, or the marginalized.

Himbon’s sustainable partners include the Initiatives in Culture and the Arts at UP Visayas (UPV-OICA) for major art exhibitions as well as the Gaisano group, which gave Himbon the space for its Art Hub that opened last February 2020 at City Time Square-Iloilo.

Aside from Iloilo, Himbon artists participated in major art exhibitions in Metro Manila including the Ortigas Art Festival in 2019.
Himbon artists also had the chance to join group exhibitions at Eskinita Art Gallery after two members were selected for a mentorship program under social realists Alfredo Esquillo Jr. and Renato Habulan.

Himbon may have only been formed in 2017, but its community-based works have already been recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Himbon is the only Panay-based group that participated in the online multi-arts festival dubbed as “Tuloy Po Kayo” last March 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic did not hinder Himbon artists as they continued mounting both physical and virtual exhibitions, which are mostly grounded on their social advocacies.

The pandemic also did not stop Himbon artists from creating a 14.5-feet statue and mural depicting the Dinagyang, the annual festival that honors the Santo Niño (Holy Child Jesus) at the Iloilo Esplanade.

From the initial four founding members, Himbon has now evolved into a regional artist group. The more than 40 artists are not only from the city and province of Iloilo, but also from Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Guimaras provinces.

Himbon will be here to stay. Co-founder Gonzales has taken the helm as president after the leadership of Vic Nabor. .

About Nonoy Taclino

Nonoy Taclino is a pioneer blogger and social media manager in Iloilo, with 15 years of experience under his belt.

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