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Starweek Magazine

Illusion Island

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Somewhere behind Bellini’s, the famous Italian restaurant owned by ex-paparazzo Roberto Bellini, which is tucked in an avant garde cul-de-sac in Cubao, one can “walk” barefoot on the cream-colored scorching hot sand dunes of the desert, “pull” a camel or “ride” one; “fly high” with Santa’s reindeer, “jump into” the belly of the rain forest, “ride” the biggest waves or “spread” one’s wings like an angel.

Indeed, anything and everything is possible here at Art in Island, an interactive art museum along 15th Avenue, Barangay Socorro in Cubao, which formally opened last December. The easiest landmark is Bellini’s in Cubao-X, that small district inside the Araneta Center that is home to a wide array of curio shops, antique stores, shoe sellers and a pub named Fred’s.

The museum features a huge collection of illusion art, which is probably the largest collection in the country.

What is illusion art?

“Illusions are images that are deceptive and misleading. Combining it with art creates the impression of a 3D object in a flat surface. It allows spectators to interact with the art piece and save these memories by taking pictures. Illusion Art is completed with the painting’s shadow and the performance of the audience. By posing in front of it, the audience allows the art to achieve its purpose,” Art in Island says in its museum guide.

As such, visitors can create their own story, pose in whatever way they want to and, most importantly, capture the experience in photographs.

“Anyone can decide what story they want to see in the picture,” it also says.

While there is a guide on most of the art pieces that states the vantage point from which it is best to take a photograph, the museum really provides a “free for all” experience.

The result is that the whole experience comes alive, creating an illusion that everything is for real and not just an art piece.

“Spectators become the directors, producers, performers and photographers; thus completing the illusion. With the people’s acting, the framed pictures seem to escape from the walls and create the pretense that they are real,” Art in Island says.

The people behind the museum, a group of Korean and Filipino artists, decided to set up the museum in the Philippines to give Filipinos – art enthusiasts and the plain curious alike – an experience wherein they can actually enjoy visiting a museum.

“Here in Art in Island, we allow visitors to interact and have fun with the art pieces. You can take as many pictures and videos as you want. Here, we want you to be part of Art,” Art in Island also says.

The proponents are also aware that in the Philippines – the selfie capital of the world – Filipinos love to take photographs.

“They decided to bring 3D art museum here in the Philippines because they know that Filipinos are joyous people in the world who love taking pictures and are very artistic. And who will really appreciate art pieces inside the museum,” Margarette Mamauag, one of the Filipino artists who is part of the group and who serves as the museum’s marketing manager, tells STARweek.

This is also the reason behind the name.

“(Art) because Filipinos are naturally creative and very resourceful in the Philippines, which consists of many (islands),” Mamauag said.

She said the museum was founded by South Korean native Yun Jae-kyoung and his fellow Korean partners, Park Eun-ok and Kim Kwang-hyun with 18 Korean painters and four Filipino artists who worked on all the paintings for four months.

The museum is open daily (no holidays) 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. but the selling of tickets is only until 8 p.m. The entrance fee is P500 for adults and P400 for students.

Birthday celebrants, meanwhile, get in for free on their birthdays, Mamauag said.

The two-floor museum is divided into different zones: Fantasy Zone, Animal Zone, Religion Zone, Masterpiece Zone, a Central Hall and a Love and Christmas section.

To make the most of the experience, visitors should never forget to bring their own cameras, own pair of socks because shoes are not allowed and plan one’s outfit to suit the photographic journey. Visitors should also experiment with both portrait and landscape shots and to find the perfect vantage point.

There are vantage point guides available for most of the art pieces and museum staff members are available to guide visitors and even take their photographs.

Indeed, with its huge collection of illusion art, Art in Island gives visitors the chance to marvel and behold great art pieces and, more importantly, to be part of the whole picture. Literally.

ANIMAL ZONE

ARANETA CENTER

ART

BARANGAY SOCORRO

BELLINI

CENTRAL HALL

CUBAO

FANTASY ZONE

ILLUSION ART

MUSEUM

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