His artworks are stories by itself yet it tells something more about the artist. His name is Pueblo yet he is known as PG to many who have encountered him and his works as a sculpture, painter, and musician.
For those who have close encounters with him, he is called by his nickname “Boyet,” and it is by this name that he is known to be more than being an artist – he is first and foremost a social and environmental protection activist. He is keen in observing issues that affect citizens being an advocate for human rights, equality, and social justice.
A graduate of architecture from University of San Agustin and landscape architecture from the University of the Philippines, PG Zoluaga is a well-recognized and revered Ilonggo artist. Yet grounded as he is, he believes that he has yet to accomplish more in order to be referred as such.
His record, however, illustrate his accomplishments: Pinoy ICON in 2011, Juan Luna Awardee, Best Entry in the Centennial Painting Competition of the Art Association of the Philippines and a Philippine Arts Awards Jurors’ Choice winner in 1998, and Philippine representative to the ASEAN Arts Award in Vietnam in 1999, among others in the long list.
In 2017, PG Zoluaga mounted two solo exhibits in Iloilo City: Habitat at Gallery i (Gallery Iloilo) and Tracks as a ‘Featured Frame’ at Fitstop Bites and Bikes, a watering hole by artists and bikers.
He was also able to present artworks together with his habitual partner in art and music, admired artist Joon Claudio, in RISE: A Duo Artistic Convergence held at Et Nos Gallery. His works were also carried in numerous group and collaborative exhibits by Ilonggo artists.
PG Zoluaga shared his illustration of Dinagyang Festival as a banner of Iloilo Metropolitan Times in this anniversary issue and in the past events. It is certainly unimaginable for Iloilo’s art scene not to have a name PG Zoluaga on the list.
Q: I have known you as an artist, a musician, and an environmental activist. Which of the 3 characteristics best define PG?
PG: I can be defined as an artist, because my music is part of my art. My advocacies are also part of my art life.
Q: How did you learn about art?
PG: I learned about art from the moment I started appreciating the beauty of the things around me. That was when I was 5-years old.
Q: Tell us about the themes that you tackle in your art?
PG: I started before with stories about Sugidanon, the Maragtas, and our ancient Panay cultural roots. Then I shifted to social realism. All the issues concerning living, filled-up my canvasses and they were showed and exhibited. It evolved later on into abstract expressionism. Yet, it still presented topics and issues that deal with day-to-day life.
Q: What do you intend to achieve through your artwork?
PG: I just want to share my deepest thoughts and feelings through art.
Q: How do you come up with your artwork, do you have a certain formula or a routine?
PG: My inspiration in creating art are the relevant issues that are happening around us.
Q: Are your artwork a result of planning and careful study of the subject and it is spontaneous?
PG: The process is spontaneous. A certain idea comes-in either from the things I heard or has viewed. It then goes to my mind, then flows to my heart, then to my hands.
Q: Who inspired you; who influenced you?
PG: Gus Albor, Lee Aguinaldo, Junyee, Ronaldo Ventura, Charlie Co, Nune Alvarado, Peewee Roldan, Jose Tence Ruiz,, Emmanuel Garibay, Elmer Borlongan. There are a lot. All of them are Filipino artists.
Q: You are an accomplished artist. What are the virtues that you embraced that made you what you are today?
PG: I don’t consider myself as an accomplished artist. I believe there are still lots of things to be done with my art. I believe there is still lots and lots more to go for me.
Q: The Iloilo art sector has revitalized in the last 4 years, what were your contributions?
PG: Ever since I started my professional career as an artist, I made it a point to contribute in the development of the Iloilo art sector including its revitalization. It is unceasing on my part. Several Ilonggo artists, including myself, have worked hard for the sustainability of the Ilonggo arts and culture in our own little way. Recent developments showed the dynamism of Iloilo art and it was attained from the sustained struggle by Ilonggo artists to uphold Iloilo art and be proud of it as artists.
Q: Part of the revitalization is the emergence of young and talented artists. What are the must-haves that young artists need to acquire in order to accomplish their aspirations and endure the test of time?
PG: Work, work, work is the word. Then share your art.
Q: What more do you want to fulfill? Does PG Zoluaga still have unfulfilled dream project?
PG: There are lots of things for me to accomplish yet in order to fulfill my dreams and make them a reality. I am hoping that my dream project will be realized in my lifetime.
(PG Zoluaga: Visual artist, musician, activist first appeared in the Dinagyang Festival 2018 Anniversary Issue of the Iloilo Metropolitan Times)
*Featured photo of PG Zoluaga is by ATMOS.PH