“National Artist” means being known nationwide, says Caparas’ wife Donna Villa. It is a ridiculous presumption, and would exclude even the artists Caparas defends. It is not as if Muslim teenagers have occasion to admire Moreno’s evening gowns, and I would hesitate to ask the man on the street if he knows what Alvarez’s Peta means. And yet the award is not the white tower that Caparas styles himself as the challenger. The works of Nick Joaquin, Lino Brocka and many others have proved themselves both nationally significant and nationally recognized during their time. And yet to use the standards of Caparas is to protest that Willie Revillame and the Viva Hot Babes have not yet been considered National Artists.
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