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Now more than ever, art has proven to be a guiding light in these tempestuous times. Joaquin Lerma shares how his social enterprise has spawned a mutual growth of art and social awareness.

Joaquin is no stranger to the art world. As the son of Richie Lerma—Director of Salcedo Auctions, he was practically raised with the language of fine art and culture. This comes as a great strength, especially in one so young and with so much collective pressure for the youth to thrive in these grim times. The bright teenager manifests his passion to help in creating a platform that uplifts both local communities and showcases local art with Bid for the Future.

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Joaquin often visits other countries to learn about their art industry and how they use it to uphold culture and communities.

Started back in November, Joaquin Lerma started Bid for the Future (BFF) as a website where he can consolidate all of the charities and causes they support, this provided a direct link for art enthusiasts and supporters to these charities. Since then, it has grown in network and is reflected with the amount of causes they support such as with the Kythe Foundation in March which raised Php 7.75M for the sale of four paintings by Justin Nuyda.

Contemporary painter, Justin Nuyda, partnered with Bid for the Future and created paintings for the benefit of the Kythe Foundation.

And even with the difficulties that the pandemic has put upon the world, this situation became more of a reason for Joaquin to act. “The onset of the COVID-19 lockdown did not prevent me from continuing to fundraise since I had already setup my online platform last year,” he shares on how he continued with prior commitments even with the challenges it possibly faced due to the pandemic. He also executed diverse medical charities, “I chose to fundraise for PGH Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Clinic because I realized there were other battles to be fought aside from COVID-19.” For this he worked with contemporary artist, Aldron Anchinges, for an online exhibition to which they were able to raise Php300K for the clinic. “I saw the importance of continuing to support these other causes when most charities and organisations were channeling their resources to the pandemic,” he adds. Of course, BFF still very much involved itself with campaigns related to the pandemic. Joaquin elaborates, “[We were] able to run two simultaneous campaigns. The first, to generate funds to build COVID-19 Emergency Quarantine Facilities (EQFs) through an online exhibition of the works of Kenneth Montegrande, where we sold over 250,000 pesos. We also collaborated with Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation (NVC), where we sold several mosaic pieces made out of recycled materials by their ‘Artisans of Hope’ to feed many families in Negros who were going hungry because of the lockdown.” 

Joaquin Lerma with Escuela Taller’s OIC Executive Director Carmen Bettina Bulaong

Bid for the Future has clearly made it self an institution for culture and change with just a short timespan. Young as BFF may be, it indeed exemplifies Joaquin unyielding passion in explaining their upcoming campaigns. “My upcoming project is an online auction, which will be held as part of the Gavel&Block ‘interiors’ auction on Saturday, July 25th, to raise funds for the very first organization that I supported, Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, which runs training centers in Intramuros and Bohol for underprivileged youth to learn heritage conservation skills, providing them with livelihood opportunities and helping save our built cultural heritage.” For the event they’ve gathered prized pieces by the likes of National Artist, Abdulmari Imao; master glass sculptor, Ramon Orlina; leading print maker, Pandy Aviado; Ateneo Art Awards winner, Wawi Navarroza; and abstract artist, Ross Capili, with other works by emerging Filipino visual artists. 

RAMON ORLINA (b. 1944)
To Bow in Humility
2019
Carved mediterranean blue glass
27 x 24 x 16 cm (10 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 6 in)
ROSS CAPILI (b. 1959)
Levitate
2020
Acrylic on Canvas
122 x 91 cm (48 x 36 in)
WAWI NAVARROZA (b. 1979)
TERRARIUM noXVI
2013
Archival Pigment on Ink on Hahnemüehle Photo Rag Fine Art Paper
76.2 x 50.8 cm (30 x 20 in)

With the many impactful ways Joaquin has utilized art as a conduit for social change, he sees the greater effect art can provide in a community. “Art is a unifying force in our society today. It brings us all together under a shared culture, and allows us to communicate our challenges, dreams, and hopes,” he gleefully imparts. Clearly, this is a lot of social achievements for a budding teenager. “We’ve heard on countless occasions that people my age can make a difference, and this time especially, I’d like to reaffirm it,” he states as a sign of the greater change the youth can accomplish even with all the barricades that come their way. To this Joaquin ends with, “During these challenging times, our generation’s ability to network over vast distances and fully utilize the latest technologies presents a plethora of opportunities we can take full advantage of.”

For more information on Bid for the Future’s upcoming campaigns and auctions, visit their website here.

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