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Fashion and Beauty

Abstractionist Max Balatbat pays homage to his father in 'Siyudad'

MY LIPS ARE SEALED...SOMETIMES - Maurice Arcache - The Philippine Star
Abstractionist Max Balatbat pays homage to his father in 'Siyudad'
Max Balatbat.
Photos by Alex Van Hagen powered by MAC Center

Not too long ago, dahlings, art impresario Derek Flores organized the first solo show of abstractionist Max Balatbat, whose immersion into Metro Manila’s red light districts and streets gave him his inimitable style.

Titled “Siyudad,” a wordplay on “See You, Dad,” the exhibit was an homage to his father, the late architect Romy Balatbat and his works.

In collaboration with Leon Gallery’s Jaime Ponce de Leon, the art cognoscenti converged, while observing physical distancing. The doyenne of art fairs, Trickie Lopa, directed the traffic, along with sweet couple Gabby and Jia Estrella, who just got back from their seaside manse in Calatagan, as well as photographer Mark Nicdao, who was busy choosing subjects for his forthcoming Leon Gallery solo show in February.

With his penchant for young collectors, Max kept company the ultra-fresh couturier Septiemme Rebelle, aka Robbie Santos, who, by the way, just had his first one-man show at The Fort, with the pretty DB&B country head Melot Sunga, and regaled them with stories of his youth on the streets of Caloocan.

Ian Anderson, Mark Wilson.

Young actor Dominic Roque couldn’t leave till he got a Max Balatbat for his new flame. Ooops... my lips are sealed, dahlings!

The mestizeria was fully represented by fish magnate Rey Tiangco and his epicure wife Margarita Padilla. Yes, the Padillas who’ve lorded over the Pasig River since Rizal.

My Ilonggo paisano and good-looking Carlo Lopez was seen having some real estate talk with the lighting guru with impeccable taste Mark Wilson. Not to be outdone was the social arbiter and historian Toto Gonzalez, who clearly knows who was in and out in pre-1972 Philippines, and so was the spice king and Hindu hunk Ammer Ali, who sadly left without his piece. Well, welcome to the art world, palanggas!

Other guests were artist Ian Anderson in Rick Owens, handsome couple Rommel and Kim Pabon, ham queen Romana Go, workaholic Agile Zamora, gallerist Nico Teotico, businessman Paolo Perez, and Max Balatbat’s intimate Olan Ventura, as well as Michael Villagante, who won the Grand Prize of the 2021 Florence Biennale.
It was a well-curated show, palanggas. A big round of applause to Max and the renowned Leon Gallery International. And mind you, there are shows and there are shows, but a good show must tell a good story. And that is what you call curation, dahlings! So, who’s next, Derek?

Carlo Lopez.

* * *

Check it out at Leon Gallery’s Leonexchange Online Auction on Jan. 28, 29 and 30.

For registration and catalog access, visit www.leonexchange.com.

MAX BALATBAT

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