An indication that a country is on its way to becoming a sophisticated state is when its citizens have the time to make, appreciate or collect artworks; when its art industry is vibrant; and art appreciation among its people becomes a norm.
And perhaps with this ideal in sight, events that keep the public’s interest in art are important. One such event is Art Fair Philippines, which will hold its seventh edition on 22 to 24 February at The Link carpark in Makati City.
This year, the works of David Medalla, Ray Albano and Mauro Malang Santos, three artists from the ’70s and ’80s, are to be featured along with the ArtFair/Ph Projects of both critically and commercially successful artists.
“It is interesting because we have the three older artists who were very active in the ’70s and ’80s: Medalla, Albano, Malang. They don’t necessarily do the same type of art but they knew each other; they were all around at the same time and were very active,” Lisa Periquet, Art Fair Philippines committee member, says.
Medalla’s “A Stitch in Time,” conceptualized in 1968, will have its first run in the Philippines after being featured around the world, most notably the 2017 Venice Biennale. This work of art allows viewers a chance to collaborate by sewing a trace of themselves onto a huge swathe of canvas that will hang at the fair’s central exhibit space.
Albano’s 1974 award-winning installation Step on the Sand and Make Footprints is also a must-see since his innovative work remains influential in conceptual art in the country. He was the director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines from 1979 until his death in 1985.
Prints and Drawings by Mauro Malang Santos (1928 to 2017) were chosen by his son Soler Santos, an accomplished artist himself, from the family’s private collection. These works will depict Malang’s women.
The year’s exhibit is highly anticipated in the art scene as it drew 36 of the leading galleries in the Philippines and 16 international galleries from Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan. They will showcase curated exhibitions from local and foreign visual artists.
As Periquet enthuses: “They (artists and the public) all look forward to it. Everybody wants to see what’s new. Last year, we had Kidlat Tahimik. He became a national artist, and we love that. We gave him exposure so it was great and always an honor. Nobody has turned us down when we invite them to do a show unless there’s a time constraint or something, but usually they want to be there.”
This year’s selection of artists is a product of hours spent on collaborating and selecting until the committee members, specially Periquet, Dindin Araneta and Trickie Lopa, agree on the final choice.
“We put our heads together, the three of us, we have different interests in art. Dindin, for example, is maybe more on the teaching side and academics and she’s familiar with art institutions. I’m an art lover. Trickie is the same and a collector, but we have different viewpoints. We try to give a kind of broad view and we try to be quite exclusive,” Periquet reveals.
“So far, with the way we’re doing it, we’re not going with one very strong curatorial trend because the point of the fair is to widen the audience. We widen the audience also by widening the offerings we have or our choice of the special exhibit,” she adds.
Also to be featured are the works of Colombian figurative artist and sculptor Fernando Botero. “Boterismo,” his signature style, depicts figures and objects in exaggerated proportions.
This year’s recipient of the Karen H. Montinola Selection, is Liv Vinluan with her work called Nung Gamabalain Yung Sayawan/The Disruption of Dance. In Montinola’s memory, this grant is given by her family to emerging artists.
Other artists for ArtFair/PH Projects are Ryan Villamael (Behold a City), Oca Villamiel (Cheap Medicine), Ian Fabro (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso), Christina Quisumbing Ramilo (Forest for the Trees), Olivia d’Aboville (Everything, Everywhere, Everyone) and MM Yu (Subject/Object).
Art Fair Philippines also has the ArtFairPH/Talks that provides fair visitors opportunities that will enhance their art appreciation. For this year, the event partners with National Bookstore to bring art historian Kathy Galitz from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Galitz, a specialist on late eighteenth and 19th-century French art, launched her book, Masterpiece Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which celebrates the most important works and the most iconic paintings in The Met collection. She will share her extensive knowledge and insights with local art enthusiasts and her book will be available at the fair.
Another attraction is ArtFairPH/Photo section that aims to boost support for photography as contemporary art and expand its collectability among Filipinos.
To complement the fair is the 10 Days of Art initiative, a series of events around the Makati Central Business District that will involve galleries, museums, bars, restaurants and retail establishments in celebrating art beyond the venue of the fair.
For schedule and updates, visit www.10daysofart.com. Tickets for the fair can be purchased at www.artfairphilippines.com. For more information, please visit the Art Fair Philippines website and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram (@artfairph) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/artfairph).