Events: MullenLowe Group Philippines Announces Winners for the NOVA Awards, Awarding 6 Young Designers and Artists

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MANILA – MullenLowe Group Philippines recently announced the winners of the 2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila, the Philippine staging of the acclaimed arts and culture program from the United Kingdom. From numerous entries spanning visual art, photography, fashion, and industrial design, just 10 were shortlisted with six prizes awarded to artists whose work conveyed a unique social message, had an outstanding process and demonstrated innovation.

From a shortlist of 10 artists, six prizes were given out. The winners are:

2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila Grand Prize Winner:
Jerome Lorico, “TheLabyrinth”
2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila Runners Up:
Wika P. Nadera, “Passion, Place, Privilege”
Mamuro Oki&AbrahamGuardian’s, “Mama!Mama!IFeelQuaint”
2019 YourNOVA Award:
Ken Samudio, “Below Sea Level”
2019 Unilever #Unstereotype Award:
MacoCustodio’, “Lalapatos”
2019 Meralco Spark Prize:
MacoCustodio “Lalapatos”

(L-R:Mullen Lowe NOVA Awardees Maco Custodio, Jerome Lorico, Wika P. Nadera, Abraham Guardian of Ha.Mu and Mamuro M. Oki of Ha.Mu)

Former Alexander McQueen Designer wins with detailed minimalist entry, ‘The Labyrinth’

As the winner of the 2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila, Lorico, a designer and former intern to Alexander McQueen, will receive a short-course scholarship donated by leading art, design and performance college, Central Saint Martins, University of Arts in London. Lorico says: “I’m thankful for this honor. I’m sure that I will be able to learn a lot, not only from the university but from the city itself.”

“Everyone’s just so talented and everyone gave their best,” said top photographer, Mark Nicdao, who judged for the ceremony at the newly-opened Kondwi, a restaurant-gallery in Poblacion, Makati.

Special prizes were awarded by MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila partners, Unilever and Meralco. The Unilever #Unstereotype Award recognized inclusive, forward-thinking creative work that breaks away from limiting and outdated stereotypical gender portrayals while the Meralco Spark Prize was awarded to work that sparks creativity, innovation and embodies the company’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainability.

Unilever Philippines Media Director Dennis Reyes said: “Unilever is a global supporter of emerging creative talent and the MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila represent Filipino artistry that deserves a bigger, global audience.”

Tony Valdez, VP for Marketing and Customer Solutions of Meralco added: “I think it’s important that we support these talents. It’s a very impressive first batch!”

Alan Fontanilla, Managing Director of MullenLowe Group Philippines says, “It’s been a very successful launch for these awards in Manila and we are excited to see it grow next year as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original MullenLowe NOVA Awards programme.”

The judging panel included a stunning lineup o or Filipino icons in the world of art, design, fashion, and photography, with Kenneth Cobonpue, Leeroy New, Len Cabili, Mark Nicdao, Edi Aga Mos, Jam Acuzar, Leigh Reyes and JC Buendia.

The winning entries are as follows:

MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila Grand Prize Winner:
Jerome Lorico, The Labyrinth

Jerome Lorico brought home the top prize with ‘The Labyrinth’ – a detailed minimalist creation made from spontaneously-weaved yarn and concrete. Inspired by the myth of Icarus and the perpetual struggle of Sisyphus, ‘TheLabyrinth’ is a commentary about how man devices things to trap him self consciously or unconsciously; only to yearn in the end for a great escape. By employing handmade techniques and basic machines, Lorico’s piece is symbolical of the quiet and violent clash between the modern and the natural world; humanity – its suspect and victim.

2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila Runner Up:
Wika P. Nadera, Passion, Place, Privelege

A monument to ‘make history public and enduring,’ Nadera’s entry attempts to immortalize the forms, materials and processes consistent with the design of the Philippine High School for the Arts’ Makiling Campus as they move to a new one in Bay, Laguna. Design elements from the old building are featured and celebrated; from its Bahay Kubo-inspired cottages to its Ifugao motif-inspired cement tiles and surrounding native trees. Together, students and workers construct a house made from ‘shared memories’.

2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila Runner Up:
Mamuro Oki & Abraham Guardian of Ha.Mu, Mama! Mama! I Feel Quaint

“The ‘Mama, Mama! I Feel Quaint’ collection talks about emotions that are in limbo, of not feeling neither joy nor sadness,” its creators described. Tangible forms of these feelings are represented and fitted on deconstructed mannequins – corded tubes are bound together and hemmed by tulle, oversized hand-shaped textiles hover at the sides, and cotton-filled tubular pieces collectively envelope a mannequin with a huge round piece for a head. It’s a collection that is not only avant-garde but also evocative.

2019 YourNOVA ‘People’s Choice’ Award:
Ken Samudio, ‘Below Sea Level’

With accessories using upcycled plastic, wood beads and recycled upholstery leather backing, Samudio and his team of disadvantaged artisans mimic the color, texture, and beauty of the coral reefs through fashion accessories and jewelry. The message is clear: Samudio, a biologist by education, challenges the viewer to look deeper into the real purpose of his fashion.

2019 Unilever #Unstereotype Award and recipient of 2019, Meralco Spark Prize:
MacoCustodio, Lalapatos

Marking his fresh venture into sneaker fashion, acclaimed designer Custodio explores the path of sustainability – from a community in Baseco where the pre-consumed foils are manually cut and folded into strips, to its weaving in the small town of Pililla, to finally getting assembled in Marikina, the country’s shoe industry capital. The result is a collection that is all artful, sustainable and wearable.

The 2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards Manila has been made possible thanks to its partners at Unilever, Meralco, Heineken, Central St. Martins UAL, MullenLowe Group Philippines, TMG, IPG Mediabrands,, Sinematika and 7-11.


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