Champion Negrense archer turns to brush, easel, canvas

Salvador Escalante III, a champion archer, has set his sight on a new target – blending colors and creating forms with lines.

The 19-year-old dabbled most of his teenage years in various sporting disciplines, the COVID-19 pandemic brought him back to one of his childhood hobbies: painting.

“I started painting when I was around Grade 3. I thought painting is something I won’t excel in so I shifted to sports. Then COVID came and sporting activities were stopped,” the young Escalante, known as Ding to family and friends, recalled. Ding tried oil pastels to blend colors, until his father, Salvador, Jr., who is mayor of Cadiz City, gave him easel and canvas.

So Ding called it a break for archery, shooting, hunting and running and reverted back to painting. “I want to make everyone in the family proud of me. I am not afraid to try new things. It’s always been a mindset no matter how difficult life is. I will always make everyone proud,” the Liceo de La Salle Bacolod 2021 senior high graduate, confided.

Ding is a multi-awarded sports varsitarian at St. La Salle. He was given the Athletic Awards in high school. He also finished senior high with honors and pursued operations management studies in college.

Four months after his grandfather, Salvador “Badong” Sr. passed away in 2015, Ding took up archery and never looked back. He competed and won in regional meets in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He advanced to the Palarong Pambansa in Davao representing Region 6 in 2019. He was supposed to don the Negros Occidental colors again in the 2020 Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association Meet in Antique but the COVID pandemic was declared.

”Pulling a bow weighing 40 lbs. is different from mixing colors and portraying strokes. The only similarity between painting and archery is myself and not being afraid of trying what I think is impossible,” the upcoming visual artist said.

Ding is one of the 43 visual artists featured in “Proclivity”, an art exhibition at the Cadiz City Mall that runs from September 20-26, JR Ledesma, of the organizing Hibalag Group, which partnered with other Cadiznon artists and the local government. The event is one of the highlights of the LGU’s Tourism Month celebration.

Ledesma said the week-long exhibition is a way of giving back to the invaluable efforts as well as recognition of the contributions of frontliners during this period of the pandemic.

“Their proclivity for working hard, providing food, and preserving lives in these trying times have truly created a remarkable impact. This art exhibition is our colorful salute. As artists, this is our proclivity,” Ledesma, a school teacher-turned-painter and leader of the Cadiz creative community, pointed out.*

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