Art Fair Philippines 2017: Experience that Lasts and Definitely Not My Last

Last February 17, 2017, My friends and I had the chance to visit The Link, Makati for Art Fair 2017. I have to admit that I was so excited to finally attend this fair since it is my first time to do so. So let me share my personal favorite artworks and experience I know would indeed last.

The ticket prices were very adequate especially for students who were able to avail a huge discount for the tickets. It was crowded when we arrives and the queue for the elevator reached up to the entrance door. Anyway, it was also fun to see familiar faces who also visited the art fair. So right after we bought our tickets, we started to look at the different exhibits.

The first exhibit we had been was one of the 11 special exhibition of Filipino Contemporary artists who is Ronald Ventura. His artworks are a showcase of different animals either sculptured or photographed in neutral colors. It conveys its uniqueness of an animal-artwork inspired because it mixes two different species in a single piece.

Black Sheep 2017; Digital Print on Hahnemuhle FineArt Paper 44x64 in.
“A mythical creature characterized by swiftness and agility, a winged horse brings to mind travel by foot and by flight”
Beasty 2017; Digital Print on Hahnemuhle FineArt Paper 44x64 in.

Based on the photographs, it’s mixed-creature theme represents that despite a tame image, everything has a dark side behind it. One good example is the “beasty” where it shows a figure of a pet (either dog or cat) and a beast, most likely a wolf, within it. A good reflection on this is that we as humans, similar to these animals, have a tame and wild sides.

Moving on, we were in awe with the different exhibits we saw. In fact, there is one exhibit that I got the chance to meet the artist himself, Beejay Esber of The Life Cycle of Images. He explained that his works are mainly out of his passion. Here’s some of his works:

One of my personal favorite galleries is Ysobel Art Gallery. This Gallery showcased artworks whose theme is an idea or memory of an adolescent. Its vibe shows enthusiasm similar to a kid’s energy. These artworks can be described as images of our dreams and I love how it actually means that regardless of our age or for the fact that we are all growing up, our limitless imagination, creativity, and child within us will forever remain.

Superior Being; 40x30 in. Mixed Media on Canvass
Goodnight Comes; 48x36 in. Mixed Media on Canvass
Never Boy; 72x48 in. Mixed Media on Canvass

Another Filipino artist’s gallery that really caught my attention was Agnes Arellano’s exhibit. When you enter the room showcasing her artworks, it would feel really creepy. According to the description posted, her artworks are images of a quaternity goddesses radiating each’s strength, power, and wisdom. These goddesses are namely Dakini, Inanna, Kali, and Magdalene. Agness Arellano immortalizes herself through these models.

Also, another gallery I really liked was the Looking for Juan of Canvas. Artworks presented on this gallery has a theme to inspire what it is to become a Filipino. It mainly showcased Manila as the engine of our country and its culture, beauty, and reflection of the Filipinos.

Urban Apocalypse by Marcel Antonio 2017; Acrylic on canvas 152 cm x 122 cm.
Sa Sentro ng Impyerno by Renz Baluyot 2017; Oil on canvass 122 cm. x 91.5 cm.
The Interrupted Future History of the Place They Called Maynila by Liv Vinluan 2016–2017; Water color on bamboo paper 107 cm. x 142 cm.

It gave me a bit of connection as a Filipino and a live interaction between art and not just to me but to other Filipinos who were there in the same place as I was. Every time I looked at these artworks, it gives me a reminder of how our country has been through and that we should be grateful for and cherish what we have especially with art.

I kind of feel regretful for coming late and realized that we should have visited even earlier so we can really look each of these artworks better. It would also less crowded if ever. Nevertheless, I am happy to see that there are actually a lot of Filipinos who appreciate art more than I thought. I have observed that most of the people who were around the galleries look well-presented and must have been interested to purchase some of the artworks. It was quite different with those who visit the National Museum based on my recent visit there (less crowded and people who just wore a simple attire). I hope that this warm embrace of Filipinos with art would continue to grow. I am already looking forward for next year’s Art Fair and years to come. This experience, I must say, may be my first but definitely not my last.