Art Fair Philippines is the country’s platform for exhibiting and selling the best in modern and contemporary Philippine visual art. It started in 2013 and just finished its third run last February 5th-8th. It takes place at The Link car park in Makati, which gives it the urban vibe.
The fair was organized by Philippines Art Events Inc. and ran from 10AM to 9P. My friends and I visited last Saturday. With an entrance fee of P150 each, you are given access to the 6th and 7th floors. You will also be given a floor plan to guide you as you might get a bit overwhelmed (not sure where to start) when you enter. Students with valid IDs pay P50 and students from Makati schools are allowed for free.
On this entry, let me share with you some of my favorite pieces. There’s actually a lot and choosing a few feels like cheating on another. But just for the sake of writing this entry and being true to my title, I will trim the list down to ten. This is in no particular order.
1. Let’s Talk About Art by Geraldine Javier
This required the participation of the audience. It featured embroidered dolls of the gallery owners with fabric thought bubbles about art and visitors were given a chance to respond to it or write their own definition of Art.
2. Art Cube featuring the NSFW works of Jose Legaspi.
Prior to entering this part of the venue, you will see this disclaimer.
And only because I cannot monitor who amongst my readers are old enough to see this, I won’t post the photos here. I bet the photos can be found from other sites, anyway.
I admire Legaspi’s courage to depict in his art images and concepts that are considered as taboos by most of us – issues less talked about, stories that are not discussed at the dinner table but are happening. His work has been described as obsessional and gruesome, draws on his interests in psychology and memory.
3. TAKSU: This wall assemblage by Norberto Roldan on his solo exhibit The Unbearable Whiteness of Beauty.
Norberto Roldan describes assemblage as not only a mixed-media but also cross-disciplinary. You can pick up anything and put them all together in a coherent form. I like it because it felt like staring at a wall with all these old photos and each of the characters whispers you a story.
4. Vinyl on Vinyl features the paintings of Iyan de Jesus
This self-taught artist captures the viewers with her clean lines, patterns, and images. As you stare longer, you see more and more images. It’s like letting you discover itself as you spend more time for it.
5. Lollipop by Kaloy Sanchez
If you have seen the other works of Kaloy Sanchez, you’d get more context about the honesty and nakedness that goes with this image. It is one of the few pieces in the art fair that had me glued to it. It was said that Sanchez used his tattoos to leaves his imprints on his works.
6. Aninag by Alfredo Esquillo
If you’re keen with the details, you’ll notice the text written on the side of each. This one says Ang iyong kamatayan ay aking paglaya. (Your death is my freedom.)
7. Secret Fresh’s Evening Dress by Iya Consorio
These ‘eye’-catching pieces were hidden inside a dark booth. Once you’re in, you’re captured!
8. An Ian Fabro masterpiece for ARNDT Berlin/Singapore
Beautifully made with intricate details and images yet very powerful and fearless message. You can spend your whole day pass for this but still not be able to wrap your head around it. Simply awesome!
9. Mark Aran Reyes‘ White
White examines the role of emptiness as an essential element of the whole. What seems like a lacking of detail in the picture is actually a piece of wholly in itself. My photos cannot give justice to it. You should see it for yourself.
10. I Am Seeing Things by Elmer Borlongan
Last year, after attending Art in the Park, I remember writing about comic artist Grant Snider’s How to Look at Art. One of the nine things he mentioned was Celebrate Deep Emotion. At that time, I thought that the emotion is just something that you make out of the art piece you are looking at. If you see betrayal or love in it, then you celebrate it. But I experienced another form of celebration when I saw this artwork of Borlongan. This time, the deep emotion came from me and not the work. The painting took it out of me. I was teary-eyed inside and I was trying to suppress the outside tears. I felt the deep emotion even minutes after seeing the painting and even now that am writing this.
The painting reminded me of my childhood when I did a lot of this – look up, stare at the clouds, see things. I came from a poor family and we can’t afford a lot of the material things kids of my age play. I remember borrowing a Barbie for a day just to experience it. Most of my play time (and my siblings’) are spent in my Lola’s garden playing, running, staring at the sky, imagining things. It was happiness beyond explanation. This painting brought me back to that moment. I felt so rich. There is nothing else I could ask for.
My next dream is to meet Mr. Borlongan in person. It would be an honor to shake his hand. You captured every bit of happiness my childhood gave me. Am sure am not the only one.
Like I said, ten is not enough. I have a lot more on my list but I will leave this as it is.
Let me end this entry by sharing with you the a favorite thought by Grant Snider.
Art is there to be experienced. It can inspire wonder, provoke strong emotions, and alter perception. It is meant to be loved, despised, or puzzled over, but never politely ignored.
It’s been a great fair this year, Art Fair Ph! You’ll see me again next year.