Health And Family

When your child says ‘I’m bored’

DRAGONFLY - Tisha C. Bautista - The Philippine Star

You know it’s summer when you begin to see mothers frantically scouring their contacts trying to find the best summer activities for their children. Everything from cooking lessons to soccer lessons, kids’ yoga to guitar sessions, photography programs to art-filled afternoons. You will find them organizing car schedules and yaya duties — putting their multi-tasking gifts to the test as they piece together the makings of a happy, productive summer. Then again, as in many cases, if all else fails,  there is, of course, the presence of the ubiquitous mall. It is an option that many see almost as a “necessary evil.” Easy, brainless, and apart from the potential of excess spending, it will definitely fill the hours in a day. Thank goodness though that there are other options!

Established in 2004, Silverlens was the first photography gallery in Southeast Asia. Having established its photography core, it expanded to include exhibitions featuring the other contemporary arts in 2008. Silverlens was founded by Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo. It has earned recognition from both artists and collectors as one of the leading contemporary art galleries in Southeast Asia. Recent collaborations include the Singapore Art Museum, New Museum in New York City, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design Manila, Busan Biennale, Aichi Triennale. Recent institutional collectors of Silverlens artists include LUMI Collection (Finland), Singapore Art Museum, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Collection (Manila), Since 2008, Silverlens has been participating in key international art fairs, such as ArtHK (Now Art Basel Hong Kong), Art Stage Singapore, Pulse New York, Pulse Miami, Volta Basel, Paris Photo, and Art Basel, Basel. However, let not its impressive background fool you, Silverlens is for everyone.

According to one of its founders Rachel Rillo, “Art, if you ask me, is all about the experience … The highfalutin, esoteric misapprehension towards contemporary art in the Philippines only comes from our lack of exposure. We are just not used to going to museums or galleries. But this, we can hopefully help change. We encourage young people to visit often … an excellent alternative to the mall! And may I add … it’s completely free!”

Silverlens Manila is located at Don Chino Roces Extension, Makati City.

She’s absolutely right. What could be better than a cost-free afternoon of real learning that isn’t spoon-fed or “in-your-face”? In a world where children and teens are constantly spewing out the mantra of “I’m bored” when in truth none of us has a right to be, a visit to Silverlens could possibly rock their world.

So to address the interests of a constantly evolving public, Rachel and Isa have set regular programs for their gallery. There are three shows ongoing simultaneously that run for five weeks. Within this run they stage what is called a “related gallery event” wherein they ask the featured artist(s) to present “something” to the audience that reflects, relates, and pushes the show further. This event is usually hosted on a Saturday afternoon with varying content. Anything from a yoga class, a movie screening to an artist talk, a panel discussion or an actual performance can be used as the focal point. These Saturday activities are very well received — filled with fun and curiosity. Rachel adds, “I find that when one is given the chance to be exposed to contemporary art, the reaction and connection is very personal. Contemporary art, though most times conceptual, is very instant and relevant.”

Nothing could be more true. You will notice that when a person (regardless of age or gender), gets accustomed to experiencing art in general, it becomes almost second nature to maybe pick up a camera, start to draw, embark on a collection or just begin to pay attention to things outside their usual sphere of comfort. It’s almost like opening up a Pandora’s box —- but in a good way, of course. Words such as “beauty,” “emotion,” “freedom,” “passion,” and perhaps even “depth” take on a different meaning, a different experience.

This month, Silverlens shows at the “Art in the Park”, “The Midnight Marriage” by Patricia Eustaquio, Nona Garcia and Maria Taniguchi, “Bundle” by Hanna Petty John, “Lost Days” by Mariano Ching and notably, “Livin’ La Vida Imelda” by Carlos Celdran. Just from this collection of events alone you will begin to understand the magic that Silverlens can wield. Photographs, paintings, documentaries and mixed media — all authentic expressions of what this life could mean to each person and their experience of it. However, Silverlens has become a venue for real sharing not just locally but globally as well.

Recently opening a branch at the Gillman Barracks in Singapore, Silverlens joins about a dozen other Asian galleries — although, proudly, it is the Philippines together with Indonesia that forms the backbone of the Southeast Asian contingent.  It is also the first Southeast Asian gallery to be accepted into the biggest and most important art fair: Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. This is truly an amazing feat and one that will undoubtedly help place Philippine contemporary art within the broader framework of International dialogue.

As advice to beginning art enthusiasts, Rachel puts it very plainly, “See as many shows as you can. Read up on art/artists that interest you. Above all, do not be afraid…listen to your instinct.” If just for that, you are guaranteed that the word “boredom” cannot figure in your child’s vocabulary this summer. 

So, the next time you see the makings of a frantic pre-vacation parent, tell them to take a breath and suggest Silverlens as an alternative summer activity. We take so much pride in our gargantuan malls and the commercial value that a western-influenced culture often places on things material yet when you actually come down to it, what is truly Filipino and truly something to be proud of is that which we create, not what we copy. Silverlens is exactly that.

* * *

Visit the Silverlens Galleries: Manila — 2/F YMC Building 2, 2320 Don Chino Roces Extension, Makati City, tel. no.  (632) 816-0044, Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 1-6 p.m., e-mail [email protected]; Singapore — Gillman Barracks, 47 Malan Road, Singapore, (65)9782-3013, Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 1-6 p.m., e-mail [email protected]

 E-mail: [email protected].









  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with