MANILA, Philippines — Professor Virginia Flor Agbayani, dubbed “The Grand Dame of Philippine Art Education” passed away on October 22, 2018, in Sherman Oaks, California at the age of 96.
A private funeral Mass was held on October 30 at the San Fernando Rey Mission Church, followed by her cremation at the Oakwood Memorial Chapel.
Agbayani is remembered for her efforts in including art education at the primary and secondary levels, her nurturing of budding artists from the Philippine High School for the Arts, and her first-hand mentorship of many Philippine Masters and National Artists at University of the Philippines Diliman.
After graduating from the University of the Philippines in 1947, Agbayani worked as an instructor at the School of Fine Arts. There, she became the country’s first woman to be appointed the full Fine Arts full professor rank in 1975.
She was instrumental in the transition of the School of Fine Arts to the College of Fine Arts in 1970. She served as Chairman of the Studio Arts Department, College Secretary, Graduate Program Coordinator, Officer-in-Charge of the College, and then associate Dean of the College.
She was also appointed Director of the Philippine High School for the Arts. In the University of the Philippines Diliman, she had gained the title Emeritus Professor – meaning Agbayani would continue to lecture and conduct graduate program activities for life.
She was an arts and archeology consultant as well to several international government and professional organizations. Aside from this, her list of credentials also include being a British Council Fellow and Scholar, the Director of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Projects in Archeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA) and World Councilor for Southeast Asia and the Pacific region of the International Society for Education through Art (INSEA).
Agbayani, an award-winning scholar, was also a frequent international and national speaker, and after her retirement, continued to share her knowledge by presenting papers and lectures on Philippine history, art and culture at universities and to civic organizations in the United States.
She was married to the late Mariano Leano Agbayani and is survived by five children, Anna Victoria Agbayani Resurreccion; and Marianne, John Patrick, Cana-Mari, and Franz John Agbayani. Her daughter, Ida Agbayani, died in 1999. —Rappler.com
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