It’s Freeway’s first ever tribute to a living National Artist, F. Sionil Jose!
After paying tribute to National Artists Nick Joaquin (Literature), Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts), Jose Garcia Villa (Literature) and Ramon Valera (Fashion Design), Freeway featured its first living National Artist in the fifth of this Series. This May, Freeway launched the National Artist Collectors’ Series Fall 2011 Collection featuring the works of National Artist for Literature Francisco Sionil José.
The Pretenders is his most popular novel, which is the story of one man’s alienation from his poor background and the decadence of his wife’s wealthy family.
In 1980, Sionil José received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Literature and Journalism. In 2001, he was names National Artist for Literature and in 2004, he received the Pablo Neruda Centennial Award.
Held last May 31, 2011 at The Row, Glorietta 5, an intimate gathering of fashionalistas celebrated the life and works of F. Sionil José. People from the media, bloggers, and esteemed peers, friends and family of Sionil José were present. The event was hosted bythe Prima Ballerina and Ballet Manila’s Artistic Director, Lisa Macuja-Elizalde. She graced the event before she embarks her final career performance in the Swan Song Series starting this October.
The tribute started with a video presentation of F. Sionil José’s life, followed by a Tertulia. The Tertulia, a gathering of artistic or literary overtones, has already been a tradition in past Freeway literary event launches. The readings for the evening were carefully chosen by Philippine Inquirer Editor Lito Zulueta. Excerpts from Sionil José’s works were interpreted by dramatic actress Cherie Gil and talented musician/poet, journalist and artist Lourd Ernest De Veyra, accompanied by live classical guitar played by Mr. Ferdie Medina, a UP College of Music instructor. Cherie Gil read from “The Pretenders” and the famous “Ermita”, while Lourd De Veyra read from “Tree” and “The God Stealer”. Both beautifully brought the words from literature into life. The very highlight of the event was the No Holds Barred Question & Answer and Fast Response Words with the candid and funny F. Sionil José as host by Lisa Macuja-Elizalde shot off the questions. It was very interesting to discover the personal side of this living legend, or fondly known as Sir Frankie or Manong.
For this event, Freeway collaborated with Lomography Embassy Manila. A group of Pinoy lomography enthusiasts from their thriving community of lomographers were there to cover the event armed with analogue cameras: a new approach to photography. It was very interesting to see both brands, Freeway and Lomography, working together and sharing the same vision: to elevate symbols of Pinoy Pop Culture. Lomomanila will hold a mini exhibit that will showcase the analog photographs taken during the event. Know more details about the exhibit on Freeway website.
Freeway treated their guests to delectable cocktail servings. Freeway’s CEO, Sheree Roxas-Chua Gotuaco closed the night by thanking everyone who attended the event.
The entire collection was viewed for the first time on the same night, extending a special discount to guests only for that evening. The collection will be available in all stores by June 1st. Freeway features some of Sionil José’s well known works as interpreted in a pocket collection which includes staple favorites graphic tees in trendy silhouettes, modern tailored woven tops and dresses and accessories. All items have a printed seal, a bio-swing tag and packaged in the signature National Artist Collectors Series envelope.
I became a fan of F. Sionil Jose after I’ve read his book Ermita that’s why I was so happy when I received my “To The Young Writer and Other Essays” book with F. Sionil’s signature. Thank you so much Freeway!