The prestigious Thirteen Artists Awards traces back its roots to the phenomenal group of artists in the mid-20th Century who dared to break new grounds for the country's arts signature. The Thirteen Moderns, as they were called, inspired a new breed of artists who veered away from the conservative and formalised approach of the old masters and created a more approachable, thought-provoking, and sensational artistic movement.
In 1970, the CCP Museum Director Roberto Chabet curated the Thirteen Artists exhibit at the CCP Main Gallery from 15 June to 31 July. Chabet’s essay on the exhibition mentioned that the average age of the artists in the exhibition was twenty-eight and that their works in the exhibition "show recentness, a turning-away from past, familiar modes of art-making, a movement towards possibilities and discoveries."
From then on, the term "Thirteen Artists" was used by the renowned institution to award new artists that push the country's artistic soul to a new level. It was first thought to be an annual program but unfortunately skipped a year and was presented again in 1972, with Raymundo Albano at the helm. For five consecutive iterations, from 1972 until 1980, Albano served as the singular selection committee and curator of the exhibitions. In the 1970s, artists in the fields of theatre and film were included in the selection.
By the time a new republic was born, the Thirteen Artists Awards changed to being a communal effort from the local arts community. In 1988, the nominations were requested from local galleries and curators and the CCP Museum (which was later named as Coordinating Centre for Visual Arts), brought together an unnamed review committee of four who will formally set the criteria and deliberate the nominees.
From being annual it became bi-annual, from having six conditions in its criteria down to four, the said awards evolved over time. From 1994 to 2000, it had a long hiatus of six years. Since 2003, it has become a triennial event much anticipated not only by local but also the international arts community.
Get to know the 13 artists who have earned the prestigious honour of being included in the long list of generations of acclaimed Filipino contemporary artists: