Gilbert Alberto’s Swiss Wind: An Insight

Written by Andrea Suanding on .

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“Gilbert "Gano" Alberto came to know about the International Sculptor's Symposium in Morges, Switzerland, when he registered as a member at the International Sculpture Center thru the net. In 2011, he applied to join the 10th International Sculptor's Symposium at the Castle in Morges and was accepted. With guts, he came alone to Switzerland bringing along with him his g-string and "pasiking" or the woven rattan backpack bearing in mind to show the world about the Igorot's traditional costume, particularly in Ifugao where he came from. He wore it in June 12 in celebration of Independence Day which he proudly told the other participants about it. Unexpectedly, he won 2 awards, i.e., the public and the jury for stone. Of course, he was also inspired by the support of his "kailians" from the north like Lolit & husband Juerg Hafner, Julio Monico and other BIBAK Switzerland members. They brought him food to give him energy in chiselling out his stone piece.

He was invited again this year by the committee thru Laetitia Chapuis, Tourism Officer-Morges.  The symposium is held every two years, hence, he is one among the 32 participants from 16 countries this 11th Edition - 2013.  Having won in the stone category, he opted to do the wood sculpture this time with the alphorn because it is one, if not, the traditional music instrument here in Switzerland. He played with the Swiss alphorners in 2011 right after receiving his awards, using his self-made nose flute.

The title of his entry: "Swiss Wind", means Swiss music. As could be seen in his alphorn work, there's a mountain in it representing the Swiss alps.  His piece got the "Prix du Public 2013 - Bois" and "Prix des Artistes 2013.  The Public award was voted upon by the public thru a ballot box, separate for Bois & Pierre. Most of the on-lookers were amazed with his work as "with an expressive face and tantalizing eyes".  Also, most of the students came back because Gano let them try his working tools. He even carved a sailboat for a boy who was attracted with his work. The Artists award was voted upon by the artists/participants, also in a secret ballot. There was no jury this year. Neither a cash award for the winners.

Of the 4 plaques presented, June 15,"Prix du Public 2013- Pierre" went to Harriet Daniel, Suisse and "Prix des Artistes" was captured by Patout Ariane, Espagne. Gilbert who got two awards for 2 consecutive years was congratulated by his peers, the committee and other visitors.  He (Gano), together with Julio Monico & Violeta Passerini played the gongs at the Castle yard while Lolit Hafner and Teofila Picpican-Meier led the dance and were joined by the crowd. The festivities continued by having lunch, also at the yard, with thee who invited the sculptors as well as the organizers to taste our Filipino food (courtesy of visiting supporters).

During the opening ceremonies, June 5, the participants had drawn lots for their item and place of work. They were given the same size of stone and wood (oak tree) except for Gano who requested for a two-meter long wood. Using their own manual tools, the organizers gave no theme so each one has to speak his/her mind. The sculptors paid 200 CHF and 400 CHF for accompanying persons.

In 2015, Gilbert intends to join the 12th symposium as an accompanying person; train another Igorot to represent the Philippines.

Thank you to all our kababayans out there for following up on Gano's work; the members of BIBAK Switzerland, ICBE-Europe and to Mr. Ramon Dacawi for the local publication in Baguio City. With fervent wish that our Philippine government will recognize Gano's contribution in the field of Arts & Culture.  Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Igorots!”



Bern, Switzerland

20 June 2013

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