updated September 27, 2017
The consistency of the Filipino artist in the past decade—both in the local and global scene—has been a key factor in re-establishing the Philippines as a cultural powerhouse in the region.
Whether at art shows, in auctions, or even in social media, Filipino artists have featured prominently. And it is this achievement that this year’s ManilArt is looking to underline when it kicks off on October 12 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier in BGC Taguig.
Established in 2009 by the National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as a response to the modern-day Philippine art revolution that was just beginning at the time, ManilArt as an international art fair remains the most anticipated of its kind in the country.
Drawing on the Philippines’ rich history as shaped by its tumultuous past of diverse foreign influences, the unique cultures and distinct artistic flavors of Philippine art contribute significantly to expand the artistic frontiers of the region. Yet there is no one dominant or homogenous voice to speak of. Philippine art is at once Asian and European, Catholic and Muslim, avant-garde and traditional, contemporary and folk, local and global. It is therefore necessarily a spread of the different expressions and voices from all over the islands and even beyond.
ManilArt’17 Team Members Delan Robillos (NCAG Head), Danny Rayos del Sol and Rio Ambrosio (Execom Members), with Amy Loste of the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization, and Tess Rayos del Sol, Art Fair Director, envision a showcase of the different aspects of Philippine art that will not only visually entice but also mentally stimulate. This year, a chosen highlight is the Mindanao region, and gives the stage to Mindanaoan artists, as well as works about Mindanao.
One such distinct voice is Kublai Millan, a Mindanaoan artist whose life passion is to show to Filipinos their culture, so they would in turn have something else to be proud of in the world stage outside of boxing, beauty pageants, broadway, etc. Millan believes that the Mindanao faith is rooted in and coexists with nature and the environment, as he tries to demonstrate by his larger-than-life public sculptures in Davao. Thus, he says that artists must be grounded in their communities so as to expand their spirituality and develop a deeper understanding of their art. His talk on peace monuments will address artists collaborating within the community, which he sees as a future trend because of its ability to strengthen local identity while also contributing to nation-building.
While Millan focuses on peace and nation-building, the unveiling of Romulo Galicano’s “The Modern Holocaust” will be a reminder of a painful past and a grave error of human ways. The work depicts the “Maguindanao Massacre” and is rendered as an interpretation of Francisco Goya’s “El 3 de Mayo”–an epic work with a storied history of retellings done by numerous artists from Manet to Picasso over the years. Galicano believes that artists must immortalize both the good and the bad if we are to develop a collective memory as a people.
Also looking to develop the local identity—this time with a focus on the youth—is Roberto Lolong, who has created digital background painting for popular animes such as Slam Dunk, Dragon Ball Z, and One Piece. Lolong says he wants to pay it forward by giving the Filipino youth a chance to be trained in and perhaps develop an interest in digital background painting. He will conduct a free watercolor painting workshop at the fair.
Italian painter Viviana Riccelli meanwhile will show the link between figurative arts and dance at her closed workshop (pre-registration required) and the demo (open to fair-goers) by mosaic artist Lisa de Leon-Zayco will prove that beauty can be crafted from a heap of broken pieces when it is made whole again.
France-based European artists Henri Lamy, Alexandre Beretta, Chufy, Abdul Khadre Seck of Taverne Gutenberg, Lyon, with their project director Maia d’Aboville, will do a live mural painting demonstration as part of their International Residency Program. On the other hand, a more traditional activity will be the live ballerina sketching to be led by members of the Saturday group of artists and guests.
Having the resolve to help their homegrown talents soar is the City of Taguig through their participation at ManilArt. Bannering the Taguig Artists is a back-to-back exhibition by Rayos del Sol, ManilArt Overall Curator and Roberto Lolong, who both hail from the host city. It is truly a good example of public and private sector partnership in support of the arts. Rayos del Sol pays homage to his hometown in his narrative “Taguig Then and Now”, opposite Lolong’s “Cut-Outs for Life”.
Together with NCCA, with the support of top local and international fine art galleries, ManilArt’17 shall once again showcase vibrant works of new and up and coming talents, as well as iconic masters of the Philippine art scene. With these rich cultural assertions of Filipinos complemented by international artists’ presentations, the fair is sure to captivate and engage the youth, the educators, the critics, young and seasoned collectors alike, art vanguards and the quad-media.
Alongside the exhibition of thirty-seven galleries, the calendar is full with demonstrations, workshops, lectures and the pioneering walking tours that are offered to engage and enhance the fair-goers’ visiting experience.
On its 9th year, ManilArt’17 continues its mission of promoting the creative genius of Filipino artists and the professionalism of bonafide art galleries from all around the country. With the substantial following of Filipino talent abroad, ManilArt amplifies its presence internationally by showing selected works in digital space through its website, Facebook and Instagram and Twitter.
ManilArt ‘17 previews on October 12 with an Invitational Gala. The fair opens to the public for general admission from October 13 to 15 with fair hours from 11am to 9pm at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura in Taguig. It is co-presented with the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization (BAGO) and the ManilArt Foundation, Incorporated (MAFI) in partnership with the City of Taguig, SMX, SM Aura Premier, Lifestyle Asia, Ladder Events Productions, Hyperdigital, Inc., BDO, Art Plus, Art Friend, the Artisan Gatherer, Museo Orlina and Taverne Gutenberg. For the full activities schedule and ticket information, visit manilart.org or for inquiries, call +639778073369 (Globe).