Art Fair Philippines 2017

It was worth it. Pramis.

In life, there would always be a room for firsts in everything. Last February 16, 2017, it was my first time to go to a place like this. Paintings, sculptures, artistic people everywhere. I was in awe of what I saw, because most of my life, I’ve been dealing with the gray side of the world, but last Thursday, I’ve been given the chance to see the colorful side of life. Art Fair PH 2017!

Started in 2013, the Art Fair is one of the platforms that aims to showcase Filipino artworks. Not only does the Art Fair targets to shed light and uplift, and give support to our Filipino practitioners, but also make art more accessible for people who wants to see.

Just like this kuya with his matching wine, he seemed to be pretty much interested with Marc Aaron Reyes’ “The Audacious Future”. (Actually pogi din kasi si kuya hahahaha)

I. Gallery

There were a lot of galleries that were present on the first day of the Fair. I honestly got really tired of walking around and around seeing all of the beautiful artworks. The galleries that I saw were of different ideas and genres, some where colorful, and others, monochromatic, some were jungle inspired, and some where just plain pretty. It was really hard to pick for my favorite gallery, for there was a lot of creative and eye-catching ones. But if I were to choose, this was my favorite one:

metamorphosis — Recent Works in Studio Glass

I chose Gabriel Lichauco, Lilianna Manahan, Stanley Ruiz with Jiri Pacinek’s “metamorphosis — Recent Works in Studio Glass”. While I was pondering over the pool of artworks everywhere in The Link Parking, I saw this specific gallery. It wasn’t as grand as compared to the others, and as many either, but there was something in this gallery why I chose this specific one.

I believe that the overall theme of this gallery would be the transformation of light to colorful sights. In line with its title, the art that was metamorphosing light into something more beautiful, and something that others can appreciate it. Metamorphosis means a conspicuous and abrupt change in an animal or plant. And in the gallery, it has shown different pieces of art that would tell how does light have beauty in it.

What I appreciated in it was how much it gives me the feeling of serenity when I look at the artworks. It sends me to a special place of peace and beauty. As a person, I’ve been fond of using light to create beauty. I like the effects of putting light into something, it gives it more meaning, and more importance. Maybe that is why seeing this gallery made me feel happy and in awe and amazement.

Bubble Bling III — Handblown glass, stained glass, metal, light — 40 x 40 x 55 cm — 2017

When I saw this piece of art in the gallery that I chose, I already noticed this small yet so delicate and one may consider elegant piece of art. It shows of a light inside crystals inside a bubble glass. The message that this art sent me was more like it represents a thinking bulb, or a symbol of coming up with an idea. I believe that our ideas will remain fictional if we won’t pop the bubble and start putting it into actions. Our ideals and aspirations is trapped inside a bubble that only we ourselves can pop and let it free. Just like the artwork, the light only sheds its beauty inside the bubble when in fact it can shed light to the whole Art Fair (hypothetically) if it were to be set free. We as humans, must not stay in our comfort bubble for too long, we must learn to become ambitious and will never be afraid to try new things and reach greater heights.

Bling King — stained glass, metal, light — Diameter 70 cm, adjustable height, weight 15 kg

In connection with the first picture, this would be what it looks like to pop the bubble and reach new goals in life. When I saw this chandelier-like art, I got reminded how beautiful light can be with other aspects. I appreciated how the shadows are beautifully made, and how the light passes through the glass crystals around the bulb. For me, the message of this artwork tells us that we can be anything or anyone that we want to do as long as we want to do it. Just like with its name, it’s considered to be the Bling King, maybe because of its elegance and beauty and it tells me that the sky’s the limit in life, so enjoy it while you can. This picture also tells me that despite the darkness all around, if one must only learn how to open the light, then light will appear, even in the darkest and most unpredictable places.

Astro Bling — stained glass, metal, light — 181 x 90 cm — 2017

The Astro Bling may perhaps be the highlight of their gallery. This artwork is hung up on a wall, shedding some light on the gallery in order for buyers and visitors to get attracted in seeing the exhibit. What this artwork conveys to me is that we can be whoever we are, all we need to do is to believe in yourself, we can be the doctors, teachers, or even artists, life’s too large yet to short, we can be whoever we want and in a short span of time, we should do our best to reach our dreams.. The artworks may also represent planets, or any other celestial bodies, as I look at it, it can be seen as something so elegant and grand, which is really very true.The Astro Bling also reminds me as to how amazing each one of us can be if we could only learn how to turn on the lights. This was my favorite artwork of all the masterpieces in the gallery. It gives me a light mood whenever I see it, that feeling of happiness without even talking to each other.

The metamorphosis gallery teaches me to do not be afraid to change because change will always be inevitable, we should embrace it, accept it, live with it, and love it with all of our heart.

II. Filipino Artists

The following would be two of my personal choices out of the 11 Filipino contemporary artists that showcased their art and masterpieces. The Art Fair isn’t just a venue for selling art and generating income for artists, but rather boost and uplift our own Filipino artists as they showcase their masterpieces in this platform.

Ronante Maratas’ Dialogue with his Inner Child: AWKWARD ZOO
“Like a child, the artist is free to choose whatever means he wants his ideas to be conveyed.”
“It was a dog I usually see when I was a kid.” — Ronante Maratas

While strolling around the Art Fair, I got fond of looking at strange exhibits, and also those paintings that have texture in it, and makes me wonder how it feels like to touch it. And yes, there were a lot of strange and unusual galleries. But Andang Juan has striked me the most. Andang Juan’s AWKWARD ZOO is inspired with a man named Ronante Maratas and his memories of a stray dog that he had encountered when he was still a child. The pictures above were some of Mr. Maratas’ pigments of his memories and imagination, with the help of his feelings. Adang Juan interpreted these memories of him and turned it into beautiful, abstract, and mysterious works of art. If you would look at it for the first time, it may seem as something scary and disturbing (I got scared the first time I saw it), but after looking at it one or two times, and reading the description of the artist, I understood it now why was the paintings made that way.

The message that AWKWARD ZOO conveyed to me was that in art, our emotions and feelings have a role with what will the piece look like at the finish. Just like with Adang Juan, she interpreted Mr. Ronante’s memories with how he felt remembering those things. I believe that we define anything that surrounds us based on how it affects us or how it made us feel. Also, another message is that, our memories and experiences can also be a source of our creativeness in doing art. Some may not appreciate it for they do not have the same experience, but what’s important is our own perspective and what we did. Others may feel disturbed, others are not interested, but for me, what’s important is we felt good doing these arts, and that for me is enough.

Forced Farts, Cartoon Pain and Daddy Issues or Accident by Voodoo while I Masturbate Underwater with My Adult Baby Diaper Rash until Hell Freezes Over is a Freak Show — Mixed Media
“A regurgitations of imagined experiments and adventures.”
“artificial, virtual, and physical realities.”

Sugar, spice, and everything nice! The first time I saw Maria Jeona Zoleta’s Exhibit, that was my reaction. At first I thought that the concept of the Exhibit was a typical teenage-girl’s room — with matching pillows, bags, CDs, and alike — and it would be somehow boring and usual (as I said earlier, I was up for strange things). But when my friends urged me to roam around and see the other parts of the exhibit, slowly I realized something. The artworks were very vulgar, some statements were very profound, and it was a compilation of things stacked together just like a pile of ordinary girly things.

But the message that the exhibit of Maria Jeona Zoleta conveyed to me would be that it somehow represents a person. The exhibit is a human being, preferably a girl. Why is that so? A lot of the artworks says so much of a personality of a person. Maybe Maria Jeona Zoleta was trying to tell her audience that not all girls think alike, there are girls who think like this. I enjoyed reading everything that was in the exhibit of hers, and I tried to read those aloud (even the profound words) and I noticed that it has caught some attention from the people near the exhibit, which for me tells me that the exhibit of Maria Jeona Zoleta was powerful and can be influential. The exhibit can caught attention, which is a good implication for her.

III. Audience

My friends and I were lucky to have visited the Art Fair on the Opening Day. And we were lucky enough not to be asked to wait before entering because of the number of people who wants to go in. And for a first timer like me to go in an event like this, I actually don’t know what to say, if the audience was really appreciating the art or their agendas are different.

From what I have observed with the audience of the Art Fair, it was really diverse. Early in the morning, while waiting for my friends to arrive, I can see people from different sections of society, there were really high-end people who visited, they were really formal and so prim and proper. They were the ones who has wine glasses on their hands while looking at the artworks, which in reality, the Art Fair was really for them, the ones who can buy and afford the art for it was an art market after all. From the high-end people who visited, there were also art students and professionals as well. I can easily determine them as to how they look at the paintings and really focusing (maybe) on the message of the artist to the audience. These people were serious at appreciating the art. And lastly, there were the first timers (like me) who I can see that really enjoyed the Art Fair. They were the ones who really took time to roam around and see all of the artworks, take pictures of the paintings and sculptures, and also took selfies — i remembered a guy even lay down on the painted floor of the gallery to take a picture — overall, it was really diverse, but there was a common purpose, and that is to see the art our Filipino artists have made.

National Museum vs. Art Fair PH experience
Regardless of the place, I’m still pretty. Kitang kita naman di ba? HAHAHA

Prim and proper — Liberated and free. These are my two basic distinctions between the two art places. It was also my first time to go inside the National Museum, before entering the receiving area and registration booth can be found. And while waiting for one of my friends registering for the group, the guards were already reminding us of some of the do’s and don’ts inside. No camera flashes, no video, no snapchats, no imitating of the images, no power tripping, no posing of wacky poses, no picture taking at windows, strictly no touching of the artifacts, and no loitering. And because of this many rules, we got scolded TWICE by the guards ha ha ha. The visitors in the National Museum were very observant of the rules, and really respected the artworks, because mostly were really made by national artists and notable people in the art field. Also, the artworks in the National Museum are only for display, you cannot interact *kuno* with the art. Overall, the National Museum experience was like a travel through time, you couldn’t express yourself the way you wanted to appreciate the art. And, the artifacts weren’t for sale. In contrast, the Art Fair Philippines experience was totally different. The people were allowed to interact with the art, express themselves in the way they wanted to, of course there were art that were off limits to be touched, but to my surprise, there were some which you can hold and alike. The audience of the Art Fair was liberated, and it was a different way of appreciation. Overall, the Art Fair experience was new to me, and to see people who appreciate art that way was very fascinating, and it gives me an idea as to how people appreciate art. I’m not saying that there is wrong way of art appreciation, I believe that this topic is subjective, and is personal, depending on the person. But in the end, I both enjoyed the two visits, it was exciting, fun, and memorable.

Ever in my life, this was my first time to specifically go to art-related places or events (usually I unintentionally go to these places) and I was very happy with it. As a Human Resource student, I’m dealing more of the business-corporate side of the world, and really little do I know of art. Over-all, I was really happy of the experience, I get the chance to so many different artworks in one place at the same time, and it was spectacular and amazing. I actually got tired walking around the venue, but it was all worth it. I got the chance to see and be proud of the Filipino artists can do. I am very proud of what Filipinos can do in the field of art! Kudos to the people who made the Art Fair PH something to be proud of! Mabuhay!

The following are some of my favorite individual artworks:

And when I saw this one, it was really accurate with my life right now.


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