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The Art of Francisco Coching

THERE is a great possibility that the life and art of Francisco V. Coching will be exhibited during the 1st Countryside Press Congress, which highlights the 50th Founding Anniversary of the Federation of Provincial Press Clubs of the Philippines, Inc. (FPPCP), this coming January 15-18, 2014 in Aklan.

JOHNNY DayangAfter a recent dinner with some members of the family of Francisco V. Coching at the residence of Pepe and Lulu Rodriguez in Makati, an informal discussion was had on the possibility of exhibiting the works of a great Filipino artist in Aklan, a province which claims some attachment to the roots of Francisco Coching.

Don Pepe, the Spanish, now Filipino son-in-law,my colleague at the Manila Overseas Press Club (MOPC), and Lulu, the daughter, an accomplished artist in portraiture, with Filomena Coching, Lola Luming, as she is affectionately called, were our hosts that night.

During our dinner, Lola Luming unexpectedly handed to me and to my wife Ofel, a book on the Life and Art of Francisco Coching with this dedication:

“Dear Johnny, it is with pride and love that I give this book of your Kabayan who must be grateful as we are for your help in making possible his inclusion to the National Artist selection. Again, we thank you. Regards from the Coching family, Filomena Coching.”

As President of MOPC and Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI), I heartily endorsed Coching’s inclusion in the National Artist award selection.

In the rather complicated process of conferring the highest honors in the modern fine arts system in the country, it is said that Coching’s inclusion was in itself a significant gain. Patrick D. Flores, in his Preface, said Komiks as a form of expression has not been acknowledged as “art”, although paradoxically its being “national” is taken for granted. But the effort, said Flores, was not to end here. Since that time until the present, Coching would again and again figure in the rituals of deliberation by a rather unwary, or even an unversed, jury.

The Life and Art of Francisco Coching could be exhibited at the Aklan State University and “Museu it Akean”, or in Boracay Island where tourists abound.

Significantly, the Aklan Press Club, led by its President, Gary Vargas, is one of the main hosts of the nationwide media event, which coincides with the Ati-atihan celebrations all over Aklan.