By Bertrand Quesada
PAINTER Sofronio Ylanan Mendoza, a long-time resident of Richmond,
has been honored with a Transforming Art Award at this year's
explorASIAN Heritage "] Awards Gala.
The 70-year-old Mendoza better known by his initials SYM —
was cited for 1 his "significant contribution toward transforming
some aspect of traditional Asian culture to create a contemporary
The award was one of four special awards presented Apr. 15 by
the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society at The Centre in Vancouver
for Performing Arts. The annual gala is a prelude to celebrations
marking Asian Heritage Month across Canada in May.
For decades an impressionist painter, in me last four years Sym
has delved into what he calls "neoclassical cubism or neo-cubism."
Sym immigrated to Vancouver in 1981 with his wife Elena and their
seven children. Shortly after their arrival, they moved to Richmond
where they have lived all these years.
Sym and Elena, as well as four of their kids, remain Filipino
citizens. Three others opted to become Canadians.
Among the guests at the gala were Senators Vivienne Poy and Jack
Austin and Dr.Rey Pagtakhan, minister of western economic diversification,
who commended Vancouver’s efforts at coming together to
celebrate Asian contributions to Canada.
Members of the high-energy Kathara Cultural Theatre Canada, representing
the Philippines, enthralled the audience with their unique and
spectacular mix of martial arts, dance, theatre and indigenous
Sym co-founded the Dimasalang Group in 1968 in Manila. He continues
to share is vast knowledge of the art though public lectures and
workshops, and by mentoring Vancouver-based members of the Dimasalang
III International Artist Group including Edgardo Lantin, Rob Pedralba,
Noel Trinidad, Simeon Dee and Jess Hipolito.
Sym’s up-and-coming students include Leo Cunanan Jr., Andy
Naval and Brooke Anderson.
He is scheduled to talk about his life and works at the Richmond
Museum, 7700 Minoru Gate, on May 27 (Thursday) at 7 p.m.
Also, the Roundhouse Community Centre on Davie and Pacific Street
in Vancouver will feature curated works by Sym, Edgardo Lantin
and other Pan-Asian artist on May 20 at 7 p.m. The exhibit will
run until June 5.
The inaugural Dimasalang III International Artist Group Exhibition
is set for July 16 to 30 at the Vancouver Public Library.