Art is for everyone at Art Fair Philippines

Carina Santos - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Every year, art collectors and appreciators in the Philippines converge in a parking garage in Makati. Now in its third year, Art Fair Philippines boasts a total of 33 galleries and 10 special exhibits on display. From Feb. 5 to 8, a selection of some of the country’s best modern and contemporary visual art will be on display at The Link, the fair’s home for the past three years.

The excitement and stress levels always shoot up on the days leading up to the premiere of the Art Fair. Galleries shuffle in with different works of art, equipment and tools, setting up, examining their spaces, taking stuff down (because some things are not quite right the first time), and setting them back up again.

Although art fairs are a great venue to sell art, it is also an ideal way to sample different galleries without having to go very far, since they are often scattered across the metropolis. A few foreign galleries with bases in Asia are also exhibiting, expanding the scope of the art on display. If you regularly go to some galleries, but always miss out on a few others, the Art Fair is a convenient and fun way to go on your very own art hop. The organizers of the Art Fair — Lisa Ongpin-Periquet, Trickie Lopa and Dindin Araneta from Philippine Art Events, the team behind another fair of sorts, Art in the Park — seem to be on a mission to make art accessible to a bigger audience, instead of merely selling work. After last year’s estimated attendance of 10,000, their goal is to rope more people into the incredibly exciting world of Philippine art.


The overall setup sees a jumble of perspectives and identities each confined to their respective booths. There is not much rhyme or reason to the arrangement of the booths, and it would be a little scary, if not for the excitement that’s bubbling underneath your skin. The walk around The Link feels like a beautiful, disorienting experience.

The participating galleries are 1335 Mabini, Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, Archivo 1984 Gallery, ARNDT, Art Verite, Art Cube, Artesan Art Gallery + Studio, Art Informal, Avellana Art Gallery, Blanc Gallery, CANVAS, Crucible Gallery, Eduoard Malingue Gallery, Equator Art Projects, Finale Art File, Galerie Michael Janssen, Galleria Duemila, J Studio, MO_Space, NOVA, Nunu Fine Art, Pablo Gallery, Paseo Art Gallery, ROH Projects, Salcedo Private Preview, Secret Fresh, Silverlens, TAKSU, The Boston Gallery, The Drawing Room, Tin-Aw Gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl, and West Gallery, Inc.

Also on view are 10 special exhibitions, highlighting the work of a few Filipino artists. Guests are greeted at the main reception area on the sixth floor by Mike Adrao’s drawings. The centerpiece of the same floor is Roberto Feleo’s “Tao-tao Aklasang Basi Ang Hanay ng Ñ,” a life-size installation depicting the historical Basi Revolt. Bench, one of the country’s leading retailers, has enlisted the help of Dr. Patrick Flores in curating eight exhibits on the seventh floor. Small, contained shows by Poklong Anading, Annie Cabigting, Buen Calubayan, Mariano Ching and Yasmin Sison, Kawayan de Guia, Alfredo Esquillo Jr., Geraldine Javier, and Maria Taniguchi can be viewed. All these exhibits are varied both in medium and concept — a good representation of the breadth and diversity of Filipino art. Bench has also partnered with Geraldine Javier and Ronald Ventura by translating their work into T-shirts, for sale at the venue.


Christie’s, the leading international auction house, is also collaborating with Art Fair Philippines, holding a series of lectures and discussions with curators, specialists, artists, and guest speakers called the Christie’s Art Forum. Catch the last two days of the talks by registering at www.christies.com/artforum.



Sometimes, people think they don’t like art or that it’s too highbrow to understand. You will probably not like all of the art that’s on display at Art Fair Philippines. That’s okay. The first step in art appreciation, anyway, is figuring out what you like and what you don’t. Between the 33 galleries — all presenting a different collection of voices from hundreds of artists — the 10 special exhibits, and a slew of talks, I hope you find the kind of art and perspective you’re looking for.

Art Fair Philippines is located at the 6th and 7th floors of The Link car park, and will run from Feb. 5 to 8, open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Regular admission is P150. Students with valid IDs get in for P50. Admission is free for students from Makati schools. For more information, visit http://artfairphilippines.com.

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