“THE display features a reimagined celebration, it’s a celebration of history and today,” Bacolodnon photographer, filmmaker, and production designer RJ Lacson remarked on his MassKara Festival installation revealed on October 6 at the fountain area of the Bacolod City Government Center (GCGC).
Entitled “The Ruby Edition: Looking Back and Moving Forward,” the ceremonial unveiling was led by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia, MassKara Festival director Eli Francis Tajanlangit, and the multidicipilianary artist Lacson – on the eve of the official kickoff of the annual MassKara celebration.
During the opening night, Lacson mused that the display is meant to “embody and exemplify three main aspects of the MassKara: theatricality, irony, and humor on the checkered flooring of Bacolod’s public plaza.”
The installation depicts three MassKara revelers, each donning a different ornate festival-inspired getup – but all brandishing iconic carnivalesque masks. The trio stand atop an elevated platform on the BCGC fountain area, surrounded by myriad colorful geometric obelisks and unwavering red flags.
Two of the figures are seemingly frozen mid-dance, one kneeling with hands in the air and the other arms abreast in a tentative two-step. Between the duo stands a confidently poised woman in a suggestive ruby corset – her frame accentuated by a cage-like bodice, her look finished off with red thigh-high boots and scarlet gloves. At the feet of the triumvirate lay three giant red ruby diamond baubles, taking after MassKara’s 40th Ruby Anniversary celebration.
“It’s an anniversary-themed tableau presented as a zeitgeist of the moment in creativity and aesthetics inspired by 40 years of the MassKara Festival, as seen from point of view of a native of the city,” Lacson explained in his artist statement.
RJ Lacson is best remembered for his collaborations with filmmaker Jay Abello in independent films “Namets!” and “Ligaw Liham,” both set and shot on location in Bacolod City. In 2011, Lacson won a Golden Dove Award for his production design work in a documentary feature with TV5. He has also worked with the SM Store on its national ad campaigns, as well as Expat Travel & Lifestyle Philippines magazine.
“[Through the installation, we hope to] display the true ingenuity created of artists involved in the MassKara Festival for the past 40 years,” the lead artist Lacson said. “Through the display we seek to recapture particular moments of distinctive energy in the history of this beloved festival. To sum it all up, this installation celebrates not only 40 years of MassKara, but also our resilience in showcasing the notion of truth through art.”/PN