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Arts and Culture

Antipas Delotavo headlines Art in the Park online 2021

THE X-PAT FILES - Scott Garceau - The Philippine Star
Antipas Delotavo headlines Art in the Park online 2021
Antipas “Biboy” Delotavo is featured at Art in the Park 2021 Online: Special Edition.

It’s not surprising that Antipas “Biboy” Delotavo would be the central artist featured in this year’s special “online edition” of Art in the Park. According to Trickie Lopa, co-founder of the outdoor-based public art fest that’s celebrating its 15th anniversary, Biboy (born 1954) has been a presence there from the beginning in 2006, first with small-scale portraits that he made especially for Art in the Park, usually featured in the Tin-Aw booth, then onto larger murals and installations.

Trickie is thrilled that Biboy will be a main attraction of the online edition. “Art in the Park has become an event to discover, usually new artists by art enthusiasts and established collectors,” she says. “As organizers, we appreciate the time he takes to make more intimate works. It really keeps to the spirit of Art in the Park as an event akin to a treasure hunt.”

This year, Biboy was commissioned to create “Gridlock,” an exhibit of new paintings that either directly or indirectly reflects the realities of lockdown life and economic challenges in the Philippines. As always, his works are populated with starkly detailed Filipino figures who may be anonymous, but draw the viewer into a kind of social confrontation, with their weary expressions and body language underscoring an often-hidden contribution to society’s smoother functioning.

Images from Delotavo’s series ‘‘Gridlock’’: (from left) “Pilas”

Of Biboy’s approach, Patrick Flores said (writing of his “Agos” show at the Vargas Museum): “They are basically portraits, haunting visages of people, gazing or posing, carved out individually and carefully composed… They are also caught in certain stances, going about their everyday errands or enacting the habits to which they have been inured. They may convey a sense of catatonia or malaise. But such an impression may also actually be ominous, the calm before the storm that manifests in seemingly blank stares and banal demeanors.”

Some works in “Gridlock” present Biboy’s figures against a gray background, beset by a rainfall of spherical images — like “Suklob” (“Cover”) with its anxious mother and child overwhelmed by coronavirus cells peppered with flower blooms, along with gumball machines, depth charges, and platters of fruit; or “Pilas” (“Torn”), with its brooding tattooed figure surrounded by small peso coins, clocks, cryptocurrency, gears and buzz-saw blades.

Almost all figures sport plain, monochromatic attire (grays, browns, beiges) and are engulfed, it seems, by the distractions (and aspirations?) of consumer society, yet set apart from it, preoccupied by their own private concerns in their own private worlds.

For this year, once again, Art in the Park Online largely foregoes the public space it’s enjoyed over 15 seasons, with a special edition online at www.artinthepark.ph from July 25 to Aug. 1. The eight-day online fair will feature over 10,000 artworks from 62 galleries, four special exhibits, and a variety of special online activities.

“Suklob”

As always, the festival is meant to attract art lovers at all price points; for this special edition, all artworks will be priced at P70,000 and below.

Some other special online features this year:

• Get to know Leeroy New and Anna Bautista during Globe Platinum Hour: New, the creative tour de force of fashion, film, theater, production design, performance and the visual arts, has three projects lined up: “Mebuyan Vessel Polyp” will be installed at Art in the Park’s homebase of Jaime Velasquez Park for the duration of the online fair; “Aliens of Manila,” one of New’s celebrated headpieces fabricated from colorful plastic containers, makes its debut as an Instagram filter, as Art in the Park’s first foray into AR, or augmented reality; and New’s online exhibit of mirror pieces, “Iris,” which he describes as “a series of magic mirror sculptures conjured while in lockdown… mirrors as portals, as windows to the soul and other worlds,” is viewable at the website. (Tune in to Globe Platinum Hour at 8 p.m. daily to go behind the scenes of New’s work.)

New is joined by young visual artist Anna Bautista, whose “Time Capsules” tackles the concept of time, culture and philosophy, and how these elements are all interlinked and continually responding to each other. Conceptualized on canvas and textile, Bautisa creates images symbolic of this unsettling period, in a tribute to frontliners, and a record of our moment in time.

“Gigilid I”

• Globe Platinum Hour for Kids: Art in the Park 2021 Online: Special Edition welcomes back Robert Alejandro, hosting a special art teaching session for the junior set on Saturday, July 31, 10 a.m.

• BPI Art Clips features “Adrift” by Eugenia Alcaide: “Adrift,” Eugenia Alcaide’s entirely new vision of threadwork rounds out this edition’s special exhibits. It’s an ocean of surreal, electric color, and a showcase of Alcaide’s pioneering techniques in layered threadwork, as she weaves intricate compositions of “doubt, despair, and desolation,” an exploration of how people can be connected and adrift at the same time.

“Gigilid II”

* * *

Art in the Park is organized by Philippine Art Events, Inc., for the benefit of the Museum Foundation of The Philippines in partnership with Globe Platinum and Bank of The Philippine Islands, with support from MACEA and Barangay Bel Air.

For more information, visit www.artinthepark.ph and follow www.facebook/artinthepark and @artintheparkph on Instagram.

ART BIBOY DELOTAVO
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