Art Fair Philippines continues to evolve

FOR its 11th year, Art Fair Philippines — which will run from Feb. 16 to 18 — is further expanding its programs and exhibitions.

Last year was the fair’s big, post-pandemic return to The Link carpark in Makati City. Following the milestone, it will continue to explore various aspects, artworks, and activities the local art scene can offer.

Art Fair Philippines first started in 2013 with the goals of supporting local Filipino artists and making art accessible to everyone, thus nurturing an audience for visual arts.

The fair’s founders, Trickie Colayco-Lopa, Lisa Ongpin-Periquet, and Geraldine “Dindin” Araneta, have found the evolution of the Philippine art scene and its audience to be very interesting.

“We opened to 6,000 people in our first year, then at some point it became 20,000, even 30,000. For a three-day art event, that’s a lot of foot traffic,” Ms. Araneta told BusinessWorld at the launch.

“Our problem back then was developing an audience. Now, we have full-fledged creative industries — visual arts, film, theater, you name it — compared to 30 years ago when they were small communities,” she added.

From exhibiting art, the fair has come to include educational talks, workshops, and even demos.

“People come to us with certain projects. We think about what’s happening in the visual arts ecosystem, then we include it in the Art Fair model. Different collaborators just help us form the ideas,” Ms. Araneta said.

For example, this year she collaborated with director Moira Lang on a program of conversations about film. Meanwhile, Ms. Periquet worked with Miguel Rosales to mount an exhibit by Filipina modernist painters, and Ms. Lopa tapped the expertise of Daata founder David Gryn who will be presenting digital artworks.

“We try to bring in as many aspects of art as we can,” she said.

THE EXHIBITORSThis year’s fair will have 55 exhibitors from the Philippines and overseas. They are: Altro Mondo, Art Agenda, Art Cube Gallery, Art Elaan, Art for Space, Art Lounge Manila, Art Underground, Art Verité Gallery, Artemis Art, Avellana Art Gallery, Boston Art Gallery, CANVAS, Cartellino, Galeria Paloma, Gajah Gallery, Galerie Stephanie, Galería Cayón, GALLERY KOGURE, Gravity Art Space, J STUDIO, Kaida Contemporary, Kobayashi Gallery, León Gallery, METRO Gallery, Mind Set Art Center, Modeka Art, MONO8, Nunu Fine Art, Orange Project, Paseo Art Gallery, Pintô Art Museum and Arboretum, Qube Gallery, Richard Koh Fine Art, Secret Fresh Gallery, SHUKADO+GALLERY SCENA, Silverlens, Superduper Art Gallery, TARZEER PICTURES, The Columns Gallery, The Crucible Gallery, TRIANGULUM, Vantage Contemporary, Village Art Gallery, Vin Gallery, White Walls Gallery, Yavuz Gallery, Yiri Arts, YOD Gallery, and YSOBEL Art Gallery.

HIGHLIGHTSThe ARTFAIRPH/PROJECTS section showcases a collection of thoughtful and innovative exhibitions commissioned for the fair, conceptualized by production designer and theater director Ed Lacson. It will present artworks by Jonathan Ching, Jigger Cruz, Gean Brix Garcia, Rod. Paras-Perez, and a group of muralist painters mentored by Alfredo Esquillo, Jr. and Renato Habulan.

The Projects section will also feature Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist Mr. StarCity; Romanian conceptual artist Andreea Medar; and a special performance piece by Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia, presented in partnership with the Embassy of Spain in Manila.

Another special exhibit at the art fair, “Pambabae,” aims to highlight the contribution of Filipina modernists who have been overshadowed by their male contemporaries. The exhibition will span the years 1969 to 1989. The artists in this exhibition include Ivi Avellana Cosio, Ileana Lee, Nelfa Querubin, Evelyn Collantes, Phyllis Zaballero, and Lilian Hwang.

Art Fair Philippines 2024 also celebrates the 10th anniversary and winding down of the Karen H. Montinola (KHM) Selection, a grant given by the Montinola family. This year it is awarded to visual artist Gean Brix Garcia.

The ARTFAIRPH/RESIDENCIES section will showcase works by resident artists, spanning illustrations, photographs, videos, performances, and objects highlighting each of their experiences in 2023.

The selected residency artists are Mark Salvatus for Manila Observatory in Quezon City, Manila; Anna Miguel Cervantes for Linangan Art Residency in Alfonso, Cavite; Jett Ilagan for Emerging Islands in San Juan, La Union; Julian Tapales for Butanding Barrio in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; and Renz Baluyot for Orange Projects in Bacolod, Negros Occidental. They are joined by two international artists who joined the residency program in Orange Project this 2024 — Iseult Perrault and Petr Hajdyla.

This year’s ARTFAIRPH/TALKS are handled by the Ateneo Art Gallery, which will present discussions on the intersections of art and science, photography as authorship, women in modern art, and reading images from a historical perspective, among others. With a special participation from the Lopez Museum, there will be a demonstration on basic stretching, matting, and framing of canvas, and a discussion on the basics of artwork conservation.

Introduced last year, ARTFAIRPH/DIGITAL will fly in David Gryn, founder of Daata, one of the foremost proponents of digital art globally. He will present Best Dressed Chicken (Manila Version), a selection of digital video artworks that engage with notions of vanity and choice.

There will also be a playlist on MIlo Creese, with his AI work A Complicated Dance, and the George Roxby Smith series Just Breathe, and the video works of Jane Bustin, who will be present at the fair.

Another highlight of the Digital section is a special exhibit in collaboration with CryptoArt PH, a community dedicated to empowering Filipino creators in the dynamic web3 space.

The ARTFAIRPH/PHOTO section, introduced in 2018, shines a spotlight on photography as part of the contemporary art landscape in the country. This year, its sole exhibitor is FotomotoPH, a Manila-based organization of photographers, with an exhibition curated by Sandra Palomar, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

Finally, ARTFAIRPH/FILM presents NO SHOWING, a project curated by filmmaker Moira Lang. It is a hangout/speakeasy/watering hole/listening party/dance floor/breathing space for filmmakers and filmgoers to discuss the state of movie making and moviegoing in the Philippines.

It is “an event as well as a concept, a festival — not of screenings, but of conversations — over beer, with music by selected filmmakers playing just loud enough to talk and to listen to one another,” according to Ms. Lang. The program is co-presented by Archivo Gallery in cooperation with Club Kino.

10 DAYS OF ART, GALLERY WEEKEND

Complementing the fair is the 10 Days of Art initiative highlighting a series of events around the Makati Central Business District.

Visible along Ayala Avenue, at the Tower One Fountain area, trans-disciplinary visual artist Derek Tumala will present A Warm Orange-Colored Liquid, his biggest and most ambitious work to date.

On the other side of the expanse, motion graphics artist and multimedia engineer Isaiah Cacnio collaborated with digital artists AJ Dimarucot and Carlos for a video projection, Prismatic Embrace. This will be seen on the Green Wall of Ayala Triangle Garden Tower 2.

To kick off 10 Days of Art is the Gallery Weekend from Feb. 9 to 11, where visitors are encouraged to see the gallery exhibitions at their respective locations throughout this three-day effort. For schedule and updates, visit www.10daysofart.com.

A regular day pass to the fair is P450. Tickets for students with valid IDs, senior citizens, and PWDs are P350. Makati students with valid IDs get a discounted price of P200 per ticket. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.artfairphilippines.com. Tickets will also be available at the reception area for the duration of the event. For more information, visit the Art Fair Philippines website and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram (@artfairph) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/artfairph).– Brontë H. Lacsamana