Art Fair Philippines 2016: An experience

Knowing that we would go at this particular art fair, I felt thrilled all throughout the journey going there and somehow curious as to what I could have expected when I finally reached our destination. Since this would be my very first time to attend an art fair, I got this overwhelming feeling of euphoria. I love going to new places that I’ve never been to and I must say that this experience I had with my friends in this Art Fair was very memorable and special.

  1. His Only Son by Daniel dela Cruz

The artist being exhibited in this particular gallery entitled “His Only Son” was Daniel dela Cruz. His artworks, which consist of 41 artworks all in all, were all made of hard mix metal. The venue of the gallery was a large dark room where some of the artworks were placed at a pedestal, a stage-like place lit by light (the pedestal formed a cross sign), some were encased in glasses attached at the walls, while some were just at the floor also at a lower pedestal with light around them. The room seemed to be like a chapel since the ambiance was very calm and spiritual, not to mention the sounds of bells and different humming coming from the speakers around.

“The Cathedral Collection”
“The Mass-Goers”
“Virina”
4 of the “The Seven Deadly Sins”
“The Seven Deadly Sins” - Greed “Avaritia”
“The Seven Deadly Sins” - Wrath “Ira”

I was actually shocked when I saw this because I never knew what my name’s meaning is until this day.

“The Cathedral Collection” - “To Gain the World and Lose his Soul”

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” - Matthew 16:26

5 of the “ The 8 Beatitudes of Jesus”
“The 8 Beatitudes of Jesus” - Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God
“Vigil Candleholders” - “A Living Sacrifice”

The collective message of the exhibit, at least for me, was that God is the purest and truest form of love. Despite the fact that all of us humans are sinners which sometimes actually made us forget our own salvation, our God, still the God we worship, the God whom we every so often take for granted, the God we sometimes blame for our misfortunes which in truth we brought in ourselves, the God we at times forget during the times of happiness and bliss… saved us, loved us and keep on loving us since time immemorial. He showed that love when He sacrificed himself at that cross and saved us from our sins. The artworks that Daniel dela Cruz made let us dwell on the things that are happening in the past and in the present faith. People are sinners (as what the “The Seven Deadly Sins” artworks depict) but we certainly do things to atone for those (as what the “The Cathedral Collection” artworks depict). The world, most especially us humans, are not just about the sins and the negative things within and around us but it’s also about the strength of our faith and our love to God. It couldn’t be crumbled by just some outside or dark influence because with God’s light, all would end up well and we would end up happy and contented with him.

I chose this exhibit because first, I got this strong attachment at the message of the artworks. I felt goosebumps all over me. The experience inside that particular exhibit was surreal. I’ve never been in a place so unnerving yet peaceful and contemplative because of the ambiance. While looking at all the artworks, I remembered all the times I spent inside our parish. I served Him using my talents (singing as a choir member; dancing during fiestas and special celebration commemorating a certain person in the bible or saints/holy people who lived in this world; being a multi-media member); serving Him feels so fulfilling. I chose that path to know Him more and to thank Him for all the blessing He gave me and my family and also to atone for all the sins I’ve done. It’s also how I show my love for Him. The second reason why I chose this was because the artworks were so amazingly crafted, I’m in awe. Metal as well all know are hard materials yet Daniel dela Cruz managed to create these series of arts using only that. Those artworks were like fluids magically created and were suspended in time. The third reason was because those artworks were not just amazing in its form, but the messages being depicted were also very intense. It contained so much strong emotions and meaningful messages brought about by the faith of the artist himself and those emotions and meanings were amplified by how people saw it and interpreted them.

2. Raffy Napay

“Unbroken”

Raffy Napay’s artworks focused on the topic about the strong bond of family. He used threads and fabric to create these wonderful pieces of art.

“Mother and Son”
“Father and Son”
“Family”
ceiling of the exhibit

When I entered this particular exhibit, I also felt that feeling I had when I entered Daniel dela Cruz’s exhibit. Like dela Cruz’s, Napay’s exhibit was also placed inside a dark room but the only difference was that the place was lit by glow in the dark materials coming from the artwork themselves. There were also glow in the dark materials at the ceiling that made it look like a very tranquil place. For me, the artworks by Napay were phenomenal since I haven’t seen something like this before. The art pieces were intricately designed and well thought of. They gave off this positive vibe because of the concept depicted by these about family. Just by looking at the artworks, I know that the artist took a lot of time and energy just to finish these.

The moment I entered this exhibit and saw the artworks of Napay as well as their respective titles, I became aware of the artist’s intention in doing those. Seeing those weaved materials connecting the hearts of both father and the son and also of mother and son and the whole family, what came first to my mind was the culture of the Philippines about family. We tend to stick with them and love them and take care of them despite the circumstances we’re in. We Filipinos value our family so much and we’ll do anything just so we won’t be far away from them and also we’re ready to do anything just to have quality time with them. Even if there are some circumstances where we really needed to be far away from them (the reason could be work or others) still, we know that we have this strong connection that knows no bounds and only us could understand.

I also remember my own family and I had this thought that I really love them and they will always be my priority. I don’t know if it’s just an only-child-in-the-family kind of thing but even after I graduate, get my job, receive a high salary, start preparing for the future, still my number one priority would always be my family no matter what. I want to give them all the best in the world that I could give and I want to reciprocate all the things they’ve done for me: their love, support, time, energy… and the list goes on. I love them and that will never change. I got this emotion stirring inside my chest while looking at these artworks. These thoughts kept on running in my mind and I know how sure I am about those.

After some minutes looking and contemplating about Napay’s artworks, I left the exhibit a learned man. I didn’t just learn something but I also realized things that I wasn’t aware of before going inside.

3. Mark Justiniani

Mark Justiniani used different materials (with mirror as his main medium) in making these mirages or illusions of never-ending artworks.

“Temple”
“An Infinity Tunnel”
“Allegoria”

Like the other artworks I’ve seen in this art fair, Justiniani’s pieces are phenomenal but not unfamiliar to me. I remembered when I was in middle school, our teachers organized a science fair inside the social hall of our school and that was where I saw an art piece very similar to Justiniani’s pieces here in the art fair. The one at our school back then was a small cabinet and when you open it, both the top and bottom part inside have mirrors the reason why it created an optical illusion and the cabinet seemed to be a deep well. But it had been years since I saw a piece like that so I was pretty amazed and awestruck when I saw those four artpieces by Justiniani. Those really looked real that no one could actually ever tell that they were not unless they touch the mirrors. Those were placed also in a dark room to emphasize the light inside those mirrrors.

I left the exhibit a learned man. The idea of using merely mirrors and lights to create glorious artworks was impossible for me until I saw this exhibit. Using your imagination and talent, surely one could also try doing this.

The Art Fair 2016 was very fun and wonderful. I saw tons of great artworks by different artists and it was really a one of a kind experience. At first, I really felt out of place since most of the people there were very professional looking and somehow intimidating but as I started walking around the area, I haven’t thought of anything — the time, place, people around me — because the artworks really got my attention. The ambiance inside was very serene yet exciting. I’m looking forward in seeing another spectacular event/exhibit because I know there will be another fantastic artworks that will be discovered.

Photos inside the art fair:

at the special exhibit by Pam Yan Santos
in front of the exhibit by Martha Atienza “Fair Isle”