Born on 30 March 1948, the reknowned visual
artist Fernando “Nanding” B. Sena, came from a
family of humble means in Tondo, Manila. His passion
and love for art and painting first emerged
during his childhood when he would try to sketch
the drawings published in the comics and newspapers
he was then selling. Back then, he dreamed of finishing his studies to be able to give free art workshops to the people in the depressed areas.
Sena’s journey as an artist began when he learned about the free summer art
classes being offered by the Children’s Museum and Library, Inc. (CMLI). Having
shown a potential to be a visual artist, he was granted a college scholarship allowing him to obtain his degree in Fine Arts at the University of the East School
of Fine Arts in 1972.
Free Art Workshops
As a way of paying back God for the gift He had given him, this two-time winner
of the Shell art competitions held in 1967 and 1971, respectively, volunteered
to handle the CMLI summer and Saturday art classes for almost a decade,. Later
he fulfilled his dream of conducting several art workshops held in Tondo, Sapang
Palay, Bohol, Carmona, and other under privileged areas in the Philippines where
he shared his knowledge in art and painting for free.
He recently gave art workshops for our very own young parishioners, mostly
aged 7-13 years old, here in ROLP. The first two, held on 6 June and 4 July respectively,covered the basics of drawing still life and portraits. A third workshop
is being planned for September 26.
The Artist’s Personal and Social Functions
For this 61-year-old painter and father of three—Oddin, Roald, and Christine—a
painter serves two functions: personal, to paint to showcase masterpieces to the people,and social, to share knowledge in art and painting to the people. These workshops are part of his missionary work [apostolate?] and social function as an artist.
In realizing his personal function, Sena has his house surrounded with paintings
and has had his works on exhibit in such venues as Sining Kamalig, Gallery One, the
National Library, the City Gallery, the Manila Hotel, and the Philamlife Lobby.
To continue his vocation, he established Kabataang Tondo Art Group (KATAG)
and Art Discovery and Learning Foundation, Inc. (ADLFI) aiming to discover more
youngsters who have a potential to be a painter.
Sena’s favorite subjects in painting are pandesal, his trade mark; still life; nude;
toys; images and statues; and houses in the squatters’ area.
This realist painter has received numerous awards and recognitions. In 1979
he was cited as one of Ten Outstanding Manilans. For his tireless efforts in imparting his knowledge and talent as an artist to all who wish to learn and be
taught by him, he has gained the reputation of being the “Father of Philippine
The 1995 awardee of the Araw ng Maynila’s Patnubay ng Sining strongly
believes nothing will happen if an artist keeps his expertise to himself. “Walang
mangyayari sa iyo kung ikaw lang ang uunlad. Kapag naging artist ka, ibahagi
mo ang talento mo sa ibang tao depende sa kakayahan mo. Huwag mong solohin
sa sarili mo ang mga talentong ibinigay sa iyo ng Panginoon.”
by Jordeene Sheex B. Lagare and Angelli F. Tugado