The country’s most anticipated art event, Art Fair Philippines, is back again. And as expected, it just gets bigger and bigger. Now on its seventh year, it continues to make modern and contemporary art more accessible to Filipinos.
Still located at the fourth to the seventh floor of The Link parking building, Art Fair 2019 will be having 55 galleries—36 local and 16 international galleries from all over Asia, including Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, and Taiwan. (Read: The Ultimate Art Fair City Guide)
With this scale, there’s a lot to look forward to like their lineup of featured artists for the ArtFairPH/Projects.
Filipino international artist David Medalla, whose art practice ranges from kinetic art (of which he was a pioneer) to performance art, sculpture to painting, will be one of the featured artists. He “will stage a new iteration of A Stitch in Time.” This is one of his most well-known works of participation art, which was first conceptualized in 1968. While this piece has been exhibited around the world (it involves viewers “sewing a trace of themselves onto a huge swathe of canvas”), this is the first time it will be shown in the Philippines. (Fun fact: Medalla also founded the London Biennale in 1998.)
Another popular name, especially among the art collecting circles, would be Mauro Malang Santos. Though the award-winning artist passed away in 2017, prints and drawings by Malang were chosen by his son, artist Soler Santos. The chosen pieces are from the family’s private collection, depicting Malang’s Women.
Ray Albano, the curator of Cultural Center of the Philippines, also joins other featured artists: Ryan Villamael, who’ll be recreating a tableau of Manila before World War II; Colombian artist Fernando Botero, the first non-Filipino participant in the ArtFairPH/Projects; Oca Villamiel, who usually uses natural materials alluding to social issues; Ian Fabro, who’ll be exhibiting a triptych of Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso; Olivia d’Aboville, who’ll do a commentary on the environmental situation today and our ever-growing plastic waste problem; Liv Vinluan; and Christina Quisumbing Ramilo.
Photographer MM Yu, who photographs objects from artists’ studios, will be exhibiting at the ArtFairPH/Photo’s second edition. This one is going to be interesting as she’s not going to caption these photos—guess which object belongs to which artists.
Learning art appreciation
This year’s Art Fair will also feature a series of talks for guests to learn more about art.
On Feb. 22, Dr. Kathryn Galitz, art historian, curator, and lecturer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will be talking about Selfies and Celebrities: The Portrait from Van Gogh to Warhol. On the same day, there will also be a discussion on contemporary art practice (focusing on the materials they use) featuring Ryan Villamael, Olivia d’Aboville, Ian Fabro, MM Yu, Christina Quisimbing Ramilo, and Oca Villamiel. For practical tips on living as an artist and creative, there will be a Tax 101 class.
On Feb. 23, there will be discussions on the value of pictures, the art of Fernando Botero, and a talk by Domènec and Carlomar Daoana.
On Feb. 24, curator and director of Ateneo Art Gallery will be talking about the art practices of Mauro Malang Santos.
10 Days of Art
Art Fair will not be complete without 10 Days of Art, where enthusiasts can experience art outside the fair. From Feb. 15 to 24, look out for public art installations, museum openings, food and beverage partnerships, and art events.
Here are some art installations to look forward to: Shinji Omaki’s Gravity and Grace at Ayala Tower Fountain area and Neal Oshima and Olivia d’Aboville’s Plastic in our Oceans at the Landmark Bridgeway to The Link/Greenbelt Pond, which is their advocacy and campaign to bring light to issue of plastic trash in collaboration with other artists and World Wildlife Fund.
Just like before, there will be guided tours of Art Fair from 11 a.m. to noon daily. Aside from that, there will also be tours at the National Museum of Fine Arts and Ayala Museum.
Browsing through the exhibits can be exhausting, so don’t worry, there will be a cafe and wine bar inside the Art Fair. There will also be a bag depository on the fourth floor.
Art Fair Philippines 2019 runs from Feb. 22 to 24, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at artfairphilippines.com, but they’ll also be available on-site. (But those who purchase tickets online can avail of special perks from Art Fair’s partner establishments. Check out the full list on their website.)
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Writer: PAULINE MIRANDA
ART TRICIA GUEVARA