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Breathe, watch, enjoy — Art fair Phl is so back

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Art can either be a pacifier or a provocateur. To whoever witnesses an art piece, form or performance, there’s an equalizing factor that happens.

We are all just viewers in the end, comforted in the solace of our own thoughts or feelings about the particular work or collection. But good for the moneyed ones able to fiscally patronize an artist’s creation. And for the rest of us “lesser” mortals, the compelling vision that just hit us is enough to give it some real estate in our minds, hearts, even souls.

This is exactly that overwhelming feeling — that adrenaline rush — I feel the moment I enter a vernissage of Art Fair Philippines these past years. The energy of art enthusiasts, the appreciation given to artists and their works, the diversity of works and forms, the push-pull sense of history and legends and the future of Philippine art is tantamount to almost having an, uhm, art attack.

photographs courtesy of art fair philippines Art For Space.

And it helps that wine keeps flowing to douse that exhilirating feeling just a bit.

And even if things have changed forever due to the pandemic, it’s always full-on joy when Art Fair Philppines hits town with always new and interesting works to behold and get engaged with.

After a one-year absence in 2020 (the first year of the pandemic) and its return in 2021 as an online affair, the country’s premier art gathering is now a hybrid event for this year’s edition.

Step into the physical and virtual doors of Art Fair Philippines today 23 March through 1 April.

Photograph courtesy of Jojo Gloria
Doktor Karayom.

Physical exhibits

What’s the biggest lesson learned by organizers after last year’s practically “first pandemic edition”?

Trickie Lopa, co-founder and organizer of Art Fair Philippines (along with Lisa Periquet and Dindin Araneta), told Daily Tribune in a message: “What to do and not to do for an online event? The 2021 edition was obviously planned mainly for an audience stuck in lockdown. This was in May, at the height of the Delta variant surge. So we had to overhaul how we would present our gallery exhibits and our various sections.”

No excuse to miss it since Art Fair Philippines now has an online as well as physical component, with exhibitions set up at Ayala Triangle Gardens and in gallery venues, and online exhibitions and other activities accessible at artfairphilippines.com.

Momentarily leaving the car park in Glorietta as venue of the fair for many years, Art Fair Philippines takes up new space at the Ayala Triangle Gardens — al fresco art viewing, anyone? — with art consultant Norman Crisologo and exhibition designer Ed Lacson at the helm of presenting art installations at the Ayala Tower One Fountain Area for the ArtFairPH/Projects section. Meanwhile, the ArtFairPH/Film section will present works by New York-based new media artist Jeremy Couillard at the digital screens of Makati’s Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Online art events

Kudos to the three ladies’ “never stop” mindset as Art Fair Philippines returns with something new to offer as always Lopa said, “Over the years we’ve learned that each year comes with its own challenges and you’ve just got to deal with them. No one, though, expected a global pandemic.

“For this year, we decided on a hybrid event, something between last year’s totally online edition and the fairs pre-pandemic. So we decided we wanted a venue that was open and semi-outdoors, to make people feel safe, allow for whatever protocols would be in place.

Self Proclaimed Leader by Juanito Torres.

For this year’s edition, Art Fair Philippines is inviting its guests to follow an interactive augmented reality (AR) art trail at the Ayala Triangle Gardens using the Daata AR app.”

Named after Leeroy New’s artwork Aparisyon (Apparition), the AR Art Trail examines the timeless nature of storytelling through words and imagery, inspired by the Philippines’ thriving speculative fiction.

Curated by Daata, this digital-meets-physical show offers an opportunity to discover ground-breaking artists and newly commissioned artworks by artist Leeroy New and author Eliza Victoria.

The exhibits by this year’s participants will be on view at artfairphilippines.com. Art Fair Philippines guests can also join the Gallery Walkthrough, scheduled on 23 and 24 March, for virtual tours of the exhibitors. There will also be online lectures throughout the fair.

Too exciting to handle? Breathe and click artfairphilippines.com and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram and Facebook
(@artfairph) to get the full grasp of this exciting gathering of the best of Philippine contemporary art and beyond.

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