ART FAIR PHILIPPINES 2017: A Showcase of the Best Contemporary Arts

Philippines is a powerhouse of great artists and a chamber of exceptional artworks — the nation’s pride and gems. To provide support to the emerging and renowned artists and showcase their masterpieces is the objective of the recently held Art Fair Philippines. Annually, thousands of art enthusiasts are witnessing artworks but they’re also oil on this big canvass, since art fair itself is a work of art where it took an army of art practitioners to finish it. Started last 2013, Art Fair Philippines never failed to move the spotlight to the best modern and contemporary arts. On its fifth year, 40 exhibitors/private galleries and 11 exhibitions of contemporary artists participated and painted The Link Carpark (5–7F / Roofdeck).

…………….…… THE GALLERIES ……………………


Among the numerous galleries, Vinyl on Vinyl is what I will remember the longest. Diversity is what made it stand-out. Other galleries have its theme, or with the same materials for the art works at least. Paintings plus Sculptures plus Photographs plus abstract arts plus weird arts equate to the attention-grabber Vinyl on Vinyl. The works of Joseph Tecson, Jood Clarino, Bjorn Calleja, Akira Miyamoto, Chalk Zaldivar, Blic, Tyang Karyel, and other artists share no communal message. However, its uniqueness lies on the powerful messages the artworks convey.

Different sides. Different perspectives. Every man uses a distinctive lens in judging someone and explaining or assessing something. This art work has freaking realistic eyes embedded in cubes. Painted with sulfide, each cube holds two differently shaped eyes on opposite sides. It represents the varying views of a person the society he’s part of. The artist might also made the eyes look as realistic as possible to send a message that different eyes or lenses are made by individuals to create their respective definitions of reality.


Jood Clarino, the artist of Hyper Overdrive, is a renowned street artist (but of course he can’t do graffiti at the walls of The Link Carpark and expect someone to buy it or a gallery to exhibit it). Known for using spray paint and stencils, his artworks are inspired by his urban experience. Art Fair Philippines is a platform for showcasing contemporary arts — the art woks of now. And what’s the better way to show the art of now by staging the physical aspect of a city, of an urbanized place. Featuring what welcomes anyone on a city (i.e. sky scrapers, trains, or heavy traffic), this artwork might represent the urbanized surroundings of the artist.

The Last Supper never aged and will never be. I thought. Made in the most recent time, Joseph Tecson’s version of The Last Supper caught my attention during the fair. Perhaps the artist wants to say through this artwork that even arts can be replicated or recreated but in different form (by using different material). Joseph Tecson reincarnated The Last Supper and made it a contemporary art.


Individuals with dull houses might have been lured in by this gallery, the Salcedo Private View. The gallery showcased home decorations-like (if they’re not) artworks, including glass sculptural objects, wall installations, and chandeliers. It holds rich and stunning collections made by glass masters . Want something to color your living room up? You might want to visit this gallery.






Perfection. Success. Words often associated with the Pegasus. But Ronald Ventura branched out by intentionally crashing his sculpture of a Pegasus out that implies fallen aspiration. It conveys a message that failure is inevitable. That even the greatest creature the wold knows will fall sometimes. It made me realize that failure isn’t completely a negative construct, instead experiences of failure make success much sweeter .


Waves” is a huge sculpture of a couple on opposite sides of the boat, heading towards opposite directions with sea waves projected on the boat. Lot are the times that we are confronted to difficult life situations wherein we need to make a hard choices. I guess this sculpture portrays the contention between couple over a particular matter. They have contradicting standpoints but no one will succeed unless they both compromise.



WSK is a collective that took its name from the tagalog word WaSaK (meaning shattered). What I liked about this collective is that they encourage the viewers to participate to show how their artworks work. Only limited number of people are allowed to enter the room at a particular time. Consequently, people will fall in line before making it to the room. But no one got bothered since the wall surrounding the room is an art itself. Touching the wall creates sounds that entertains those who are in line. It’s quite magical, but yeah it’s still an art (since it was exhibited in an art fair).



Christian Marclay’s work is a seven-minute video knitted from various TV or movie clips. He created a story of process on using the telephone — dialing, greeting, conversing, farewells and hang-ups. It narrates different actions or reactions when receiving calls or answering until the end of conversation in a telephone. I guess it conveys that even in a simple activity, like receiving phone calls, we could express varying kinds of emotions — we could get excited, surprised, or even bored. It’s just a short film but will last long to anyone who witnessed it.


Exposing both ends of the spectrum (innocence and obscenity, virtue and perversion, birth and decay) is the central theme of Maria Jeona’s works. What allured me at first is the vibrant booth of Maria Jeona and I expected arts that are for children. But to my surprise I saw some paiting that might be obscene for some individuals. “Forced Farts Cartoon Pain and Daddy Issues or Accidentally Voodoo While I Masturbate in the Ghetto Underwater with my Adult Baby Diaper Rush Until Hell Freezes is a Freak Show”. These words were written on one of her paintings and it makes no sense at all. But what someone could extract from this set of words is that Zoleta is exposing both ends of the spectrum at one time.

…………….…… THE AUDIENCE……………………


Just how diverse art works are in the Art Fair, the art enthusiasts differ in nationality, age, and profession. I randomly chose individuals and asked them about their experience in the Art Fair. Just what I expected, they are all enjoying the fair. Ramon Arel is a student who decided to go to fair all by himself (just like me) because he’s a fan of contemporary art. Ren and Sho are extending the spirit of Valentines by spending quality time at the Fair. They’re also Benildeans, Ron is a SHRIM student while Sho takes MMA. Given this fact, Sho is the one who’s more inclined with arts. Mr. Peter is an Australian who just love interacting with arts and decided to spend his free time on the Art Fair. Kerstine Bruggemann on the other hand is a German who teaches art subjects here in the Philippines. Lastly, Lea Sawell is a sculptor by profession. But, currently she can’t do sculpturing since she applied as a volunteer in a charity here in the Philippines.

National Museum (NM) Art Fair Philippines(AFP) differs in a lot of ways. There ain’t no price tag in National Museum while in the art fair you can see an 8-digit number for an art work that is nonsense for others. Second, in NM you can’t get any closer than five meters from the art works. In contrast, audience in AFP are able to touch the artworks. In fact, other galleries or exhibitors require the interaction of participants, (i.e. the chairs, the self-control drums, come closer to me of WSK). Further, visitors in NM should be like taking a passport ID when taking pictures with the artworks. It’s like posing wacky is a crime punishable by gareto. Being your weirdest self on a photo isn’t an issue at the AFP. Lastly, AFP is like a blockbuster mainstream movie whilst NM is like an indie film in terms of the density of audience.

The long line greeted me hello when I arrived at the venue. The moment I got my ticket, somewhere inside me already excite to go home. I told myself, No, it won’t take too long, all I need is a couple of pictures from a couple of galleries and that’s it. Elvis will then leave the building. But I was wrong, I went there early in the afternoon. Until the rays turned yellow, orange are the clouds but still I didn’t get enough of the art works. The brightness left and I was not bothered. Interacting with contemporary arts worth the time, and the worn feet, the worn me. Booth hopping, and audience are having chats about the artworks. I should hear noise but all I hear is silence. The messages of these arts were loud melodies in a headphone. So loud I can’t fully understand it. So loud it’s almost inaudible. The messages met my eyes, somehow. It’s blurry. I asked them to be blunt but they never answer. I told them to enunciate every word so can write it in my homework. I needed all the help I can get. They’re finished art works that left me a half-done viewer.