Ben-Hur Villanueva is best known as a sculptor, working with brass, metal, and wood. He is not just a sculptor but also a painter, educator,lecturer, and art entrepreneur. After serving in Ateneo De Manila University as an art professor, he then moved to Baguio City and lived in the city with his family.
He was blessed with 8 children. Raising them is hard as artist not seen as a lucrative field. Having a strategic mind or what Filipinos call it ‘madiskarte’ is a quality he possesses. He supported all their needs including education. He did whatever it took to provide for the family.
Ben-Hur is s sculptor with a Heart. He put up an arts workshop calling it Arko ni Apo, an Ilocano word which means ‘Ark of the Lord’.His artworks are all made from memory where he spent his character and soul to inspire people.
Villanueva won a gold medal in Sculpture from the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) in 1984 with his work titled “Protection” showing two children running in the rain and protecting themselves with a banana leaf.
Other notable works of Ben-Hur includes Kapit-Bisig, a commemorative Narra Wood sculpture of four figures locking arms, which was presented by President Corazon Aquino to the Filipino people on the first anniversary of the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
Another one is the famous “Among Supremo”, a tribute statue for Andres Bonifacio who relives poignant heroic act extremely significant to Philippine Independence located at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
Despite all the recognition he received, he always set hisfoot on the ground. His dream is for wood carving to be successful.
Ben-Hur is a simple man who believes that every individual has his/her artistic inclinations and propensity be it visual, music, dance, literacy, or fashion and so he/she has the right to enhance and utilize it creatively. He said that “Sharing it with others is what makes our life more meaningful and blessed.” He gives workshops to children. He has even helped visually impaired people by closing his eyes while teaching.
For his every artwork, he always says AMDG or “Ad mojarem Dei gloriam” which means “For the greater glory of God”.