ART FAIR PHILIPPINES 2017
“Founded in 2013, Art Fair Philippines is the premier platform for exhibiting and selling the best in modern and contemporary Philippine visual art. The fair aims to mirror the vibrant local art scene and continue to generate support for Filipino art practitioners. Set in an alternative urban venue, Art Fair Philippines makes art accessible to enthusiasts and to those who want to discover one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting art landscapes.”
Indeed art has been part of our lives attracting different types of people across social classes, age gaps and profession. One way of seeing the value of art in our lives are galleries, exhibits and fairs that are being organized around the country and an example of these is the Art Fair Philippines that is being held annually. Art Fair Philippines have given opportunity to different artists, whether starting their passion or even those who have left a mark in the art industry, to showcase their works and share their passion to people and even sell their works to them. There were at least 40 galleries and 11 exhibits of contemporary artists.
GALLERY: METROPOLIS BY CANVAS
Metropolis is a gallery of artworks created by a pool of artists from the Looking for Juan Project by CANVAS which encourages the use of art to explore what it means of being a Filipino.
Works from the gallery were created by Marcel Antonio, Anthony Palomo, John Paul Antido, J Pacena II, Arturo Sanchez, Renz Baluyot, Liv Vinluan, Dante Lerma, Ross Jaylo, and Daniel dela Cruz. The central message and theme of the gallery was the culture of the Filipinos, emphasizing on our daily lives here in Manila. It had put emphasis in Metro Manila since they believe that because of the opportunities here, it is the main engine that keeps the country running. As you can see in the sample artworks above, it shows different events in our history that made an impact to our nation and also some traditions that may have been forgotten by the youth of today. It makes us understand and analyze in a deeper level of the life and inspiration that Metro Manila has represented in the dreams and hopes of us, Filipinos, in the future. Compared to other galleries inside the fair, it has shown an art of Filipino culture that is easy to understand and relate to for short this is a realistic gallery that have shown the past and present of Manila.
THE INTERRUPTED FUTURE HISTORY OF THE PLACE CALLED MAYNILA
By: Liv Vinluan
In this work, we can depict the part of our history wherein the Spaniards have discovered the Philippines but there the paper which the art work was created on was folded into many segments. This shows that there are still a part of our history that remains unfold and we must discover it for ourselves. When you look closely there are also words written on the paper. It just tells us that we need to look closely in our history because there are hidden messages and lessons that we must see and learn for us to progress for the betterment of our nation.
By: Marcel Antonio
This artwork presents to the audience the modern society of Manila, crowded and towered by high skyscrapers. In spite of the progress that the nation achieves because of the businesses here but the hidden immaturity of us, Filipinos, has yet to progress. We can see in the picture a half-naked woman, a famous fictional hero (Darna), a couple having sex, a boy focused on his phone, a bus stopped at the ‘no parking’ sign and the national flag where the red side was prevalent. It shows us that we have misused the freedom that our heroes have worked hard for and makes us realize that our immaturity as citizens can be a hindrance to the potential of our nation to grow. It calls us to discipline ourselves and start the change we wanted to see in our country and not just rely on the government.
By: Daniel dela Cruz
As you can see in this artwork, it is a sculpture of a man, made from mixed metals, breaking off his chest and there we can see a moving gears inside his body. What I have understand in this artwork, is how industrialized our country is and how far the technology affected our fellow countrymen. We have been relying so much in technology that we can’t event live a day without them. In the business industry, many good and services are produced through computer-aided systems. Within our senses, we have been too programmed everyday as we have been dependent so much on our phones, computers and other electronics. Because of our dependency, we too become machines that we do the same thing everyday, acting like robots in every move we create. We are remote-controlled of the things we see through the internet. For me, this art is a calling for us to break off and remove the gears that have been chained into us for many years and begin to think and act as human beings, with passion and love for all.
EXHIBIT #1: RONALD VENTURA’S SHADOW FOREST: ENCOUNTERS AND EXPLORATION
“Encountering instances of humans behaving like animals and breaching such distinctions.”
The first exhibit that caught my attention was the exhibit of Ronald Ventura since it was a mystery for me at first in seeing his artworks and a big star that has projections in it. When I entered the exhibit, almost all of his work are colored black and white and including dark elements in art. Most of these works also feature elements and images of animals and nature.
Poison depicts a poison symbol but instead of using a human skull, he used a skull structure from an animal. Black sheep shows an image of a naked woman whose face is that of a black sheep. Guardians is an artwork that shows a human statue with a lions head where we can see guns and other forms of weapons. These artworks have shown how closely related humans and animals are through science, philosophy and behavior. It makes us realize that sometimes we act like animals; irrational, violent and wild, in our own actions and personal interests. For example, in the artwork Guardians, for me, it tells us how we become so violent and reckless in guarding our own territories or countries that we even have to kill and shoot people during war just to defend the nation.
It also shows how animals and nature have been so beneficial to people especially of discovery and exploration. In the artwork ‘Remnants of Journey’, shown are fragments of a horse sculpture. It also featured a work titled ‘Waves’ wherein a large boat sculpture made of fiberglass, wood and metal, illuminated by projections inside the dark room that can be viewed from a glass window. For me this artwork has tackled the pre-colonial era of the Philippines wherein our ancestors have moved to different places in our country and how they have kept our boat (the nation and culture) afloat and survive the challenges amidst the waves (the colonizers).
Overall, as I have roamed around the exhibit, the central message that I got from the artworks is that as much as we have seen the benefits of the animals to us humans, we can’t remove the fact that we share common traits of wilderness and violence with animals hidden in our adventure and curiosity as human beings.
EXHIBIT 2: NEW FOLK HEROES BY MARK VALENZUELA
“Masculinity is recklessly recognized only through power, as proven by successful aggression and conquest. Failure to do so points to weakness and unworthiness.”
The exhibit that welcomed the visitors at the sixth floor was that of the works by Mark Valenzuela. Valenzuela’s work explores the issues of conflict, anxiety and displacement in society. It is characterized by the use of repetitive forms and shapes in ceramic, often combined with intricately detailed drawing or painting. When I saw it first, I wasn’t that attracted to it but as you closely at the images that have been combined in these objects, there is far more than the artistry of ceramics and sketches. As you can see in his works, we need to have a deeper analysis so that we can fully understand the meaning of them.
The sculptures and sketches were primarily symbols of men: a rooster, knots symbolizing masochism and sadism, hanging sculpture shaped like testicles, a woman whose hair is being pulled and other images that shows masculinity. It just shows how patriarchal our society is that we give much power to men of authority reaching a point where we give them freedom to use and abuse us, especially the objectification of women with pleasure and sex. It also raises social concerns such as the inequality between men and women. We, Filipinos, are used to this hierarchy in our country and conform to the norms imposed that men are higher than women. It alarms us to see the tyranny that we have created ourselves with and leaves us not questions but answers to stop this hierarchy from happening.
The local contemporary Philippine art scene has been commercialized so much that it hasn’t been that understood by people especially the students. The art fair has been more interactive than that of the National Museum which imposes so much limitations on the visitors. As we continue to roam around the exhibits and galleries, we have noticed that the audiences are quiet a mixture of young and old, student or even professionals. There are many students taking pictures, especially selfies. There were also adults but they don’t take selfies, they take pictures of the artworks and inquire instead. There are more people in this fair compared to the National Museum, where we first went. There were also celebrities in the fair which I really don’t see in museums. It’s a good thing that more and more people participate in art fairs and have seen the modern art that the country’s artists can offer, but the problem is, do we really understand the message behind these artworks? We definitely appreciate the beauty of it but I guess we don’t really know the meaning behind these works. I hope next time, student like us, just don’t go there for them to have a new photo to post on instagram or facebook but to digest the beauty of the idea and messages of these works for us more often.
Overall, my first experience in the Art Fair Philippines is definitely a blast, there were many shocking works though that I was surprised to know they’re worth hundreds of thousands of pesos to buy. I am not there to buy but I really appreciate how artists who participated in the fair to include works that shows lessons and stories behind the art for people to see and appreciate. I will be definitely coming back next year and hopefully to see more artworks that screams nationalism and honor for our country for the next generation to see and understand.