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Discovering future masters at Art in the Park

Carzen Esprela’s “Bag in a Boat”

Having sold works by the likes of Rodel Tapaya and Eugenia Alcaide before they became celebrated names in the art world, Art in the Park is now on its 11th annual installment, set to run on April 2 at Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village.

For a decade, the brainchild of Trickie Lopa, Dindin Araneta and Lisa Periquet has served as a fundraising event where a portion of the sales goes to the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, supporting their projects for the Museum of the Philippines and its networks. It’s also primarily a venue for art enthusiasts to discover budding artists on the local art scene, or to purchase the works of their more established counterparts that don’t exceed the price cap of P50,000.

This year, the committee collaborates with Secret Fresh gallery to create resin versions of Art in the Park’s distinctive bird emblem, which artists like JJ Zamoranos and Nemo Aguila have then customized with their individual creative style.

Along with the limited-edition pieces, also up for sale at the Museum Foundation of the Philippines booth is Mark Justiniani’s prints of “Kumpas,” an artwork featuring a man (or a maestro) standing on a haunting building, against the backdrop of a fiery sky.

“I remember, three years ago, somebody told me that they bought a work from Gallery Orange, which is the group from Bacolod,” says Trickie Lopa. “They bought something for only P200.”

Here, both seasoned collectors and students on a budget can buy the works of the country’s celebrated artists — which may come in the form of paintings, sculptures, or even P50 stickers. “When my kids go,” shares Dindin Araneta, “they will buy stickers or something they can color — maybe (a work made by) Ilustrador ng Kabataan. There’s everything from zines, posters and T-shirts.”

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While making art affordable for even the youngest of art enthusiasts, Art in the Park similarly makes it accessible to the art industry’s newest hopefuls.





Case in point, the featured installation this year is made by a recent graduate of UP College of Fine Arts for his thesis. Made with found objects and Epoxy, Carzen Esprela’s “Bag in a Boat” is a 14-foot-long installation of a boat with arms, instead of oars, slotted onto the sides, and a headless figure lording over at the stern.

Other newcomers at this year’s fair include the Camera Club of the Philippines and a gallery based in Mabini. “These artists from Mabini make a living by painting,” says Lopa. At Art in the Park, some names are yet unheard of, while some groups haven’t exactly been associated with fine art per se. For Lopa, “We (look) for new artists in order to try to make the event not so intimidating, but something very inclusive.”

For some groups, Art in the Park has become their entry point into the art world. For instance, Studio 1616 started as a group of students from the Technical University of the Philippines (TUP) exhibiting at the fair. “They started with us, got their name from the address of a studio (they were hanging out in), and, two years later, all these galleries started getting them,” says Lopa. The group has since been launching its shows at Vinyl on Vinyl, Pinto Art Museum, and Boston Gallery, to name a few.

Add to Rodel Tapaya who once offered a modest P3,000 art work at the park and Eugenia Alcaide who sold here and was eventually discovered by ArtInformal, new names are set to enter a vibrant local scene. With an array of food, drinks, blues and jazz provided by Brat Pack, the one-day event welcomes a crowd of art lovers ready to usher in another decade of art in the bustling park.

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