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Rise up, unfurl, and blossom

The Manila Bulletin UPLIFT Awards aims to highlight stories that inspire and enliven the Filipino spirit – as such, the trophy needs to live up to this lofty ambition.

We also wanted to give the awardees a piece of art that paragons Filipino creativity and optimism; a trophy that when seen, inspires the viewer and uplifts the heart.

The works of rising contemporary artist, Katrina Cuenca, perfectly fit the bill. Despite her relatively new presence in the art scene, Katrina has already made waves with her distinct style in the visual arts. 
Katrina Cuenca for UPLIFT 2023


Katrina Cuenca for UPLIFT 2023

The flow and movement of her rippling, flowing, signature visuals are already well-known in the art sphere, as well as her unique use of gold leaf and dichroic film – which gives some of her pieces (both paintings and sculptures) a prismatic look.

Katrina loves to experiment and innovate – she has a curious, inquisitive quality that is both impressive and heartening to see. Apart from using dichroic paint, she has also experimented with a special light absorbing paint that absorbs 99.8 percent of light, giving some of her works a strikingly dark, void-like finish. 

Filipino artistry and creativity is indeed alive and well, stewing and boiling in artists like Katrina Cuenca. 

It is also fitting that the UPLIFT Awarding ceremony happens in March, the month where we affirm the importance of women in society – with a Katrina Cuenca piece as a trophy given to the awardees, no less.
Katrina Cuenca

Artist Katrina Cuenca (Photo courtesy of Katrina Cuenca)


“I wanted to somehow depict how humanity is ‘re-blossoming’ after all the quarantines and lockdowns,” Katrina explained to us, when discussing her work. “Although I know the pandemic isn’t over, I am happy to see how people are re-emerging into society and how we are learning to adapt to our current situation.”

The UPLIFT 2023 trophy is a signature Cuenca work. The trophies are metal sheets with rippled surfaces, twisting and moving into fantastical angles; movement and flow is always seen in Katrina’s works. 

“It was such an honor to work on this collaboration with Manila Bulletin. This is my first time to create trophies, and it was extra special for me to be able to do so for UPLIFT. I believe that it is of utmost importance to highlight positive news and inspiring stories especially as we emerge from such difficult times. It is the greatest honor for my art to be a part of this and to be given to the awardees,” Katrina said.

Some say that her works bear resemblance to flowers, and Katrina agrees, but her biggest inspiration are betta fishes – with their chromatic colors and their rippled, flowing fins.

“My late mother loved betta-fishes, and I would see her gaze at them. Painting is therapeutic for me, it helped me recover from the loss of my mother.”

Katrina Cuenca is a fighter, like betta fishes, and this move-forward, positive attitude is seen in the trophy, with its upward flowing design, and bright blue chromatic hues. For the trophies, apart from her signature aesthetic, the trophy’s upward flowing figure and blue color symbolizes fire, according to Katrina.

“While working on the trophies, I made sure to come up with something that represents what Uplift is about. I made the trophies mimic the movement of flames. The trophies represent blue flames that are a symbol for inspiration and hope.”

We are also pleased how the trophies evoke a certain femininity in its design aesthetic as well, well-timed for Women’s Month. It is fluid, flowing – malleable, but also hard and strong. The trophy is colored blue, and is often associated with the masculine, but the chromatic quality of the paint elicits a more varied quality to the piece.

The trophy symbolizes the aspirations of UPLIFTS Awards 2023, and we are happy with the outcome of Katrina Cuenca’s collaboration with Manila Bulletin. The pieces created by Katrina holds in its soul the essence of the UPLIFT acronym: to Unite, to Perform, to Lead, to Inspire, to bring Focus, and to Trend.

We can’t wait to showcase our trophy this year to the awardees and to the public.

— Feliciano Rodriguez III


Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph

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