The consistency of the Filipino artist in the past decade—both in the local and global scene—has been a key factor in re-establishing the Philippines as a cultural powerhouse in the region.
Whether at art shows, auctions, or even in social media, Filipino artists have featured prominently. And it is this achievement that this year’s ManilArt is looking to highlight when it kicks off on October 12 at the SMX Convention Center of SM Aura Premier in BGC Taguig.
Established in 2009 by the National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as a response to the growing modern-day Philippine art revolution, ManilArt as an international art fair remains the most anticipated of its kind in the country.
Drawing on the Philippines’ rich history as shaped by its tumultuous past of diverse foreign influences, the unique cultures and distinct artistic flavors of Philippine art contribute significantly to expand the artistic frontiers of the region.
However, there is no one dominant or homogenous voice to speak of. Philippine art is at once Asian and European, Catholic and Muslim, avant-garde and traditional, contemporary and folk, local and global. It is therefore necessarily a spread of the different expressions and voices from all over the islands.
ManilArt’17 team members Delan Robillos (NCAG Head), Danny Rayos del Sol and Rio Ambrosio (Execom members), with Amy Loste of the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization, and Tess Rayos del Sol, Art Fair Director, envision a showcase of the different aspects of Philippine art that will not only visually entice but also mentally stimulate.
This year, ManilArt zooms in on the Mindanao region—giving the spotlight to Mindanaoan artists, as well as works about Mindanao.
“In the span of eight long years of exhibiting the Philippines’ best, this year we will stage an exhibition that shows how powerful is our cultural heritage, having been under several influences in history. This year is the first time we will highlight the forgotten southern art style that is not known or understood by the rest of the Philippines. The ManilArt Lounge will showcase a narrative of community, culture, spirituality and way of life, of a Southern son, a blur to those living in the city,” Danny Rayos del Sol told The Manila Times.
One such distinct voice is Kublai Millan, a Mindanaoan artist whose life passion is to show to Filipinos their culture, so they would in turn have something else to be proud of in the world stage outside of boxing, beauty pageants and broadway, among others.
“An island that is so far from the center of power, a culture separated by distance, Mindanao’s culture and its history is expressed in Kublai’s expression artworks, awaiting engagement to be understood for happiness and peace,” del Sol shared.
“Understanding one’s culture connects or bridges people. This is what makes this exhibition different—an art that connects, an art that bridges understanding for peace. Highlighted piece is interfaith and peace of pie,” he added.
According to the Execom member, another highlight for this year is the public and private partnership in support of the arts. This partnership with the City of Taguig in promoting culture and the arts in their city is a big boost for the human development of its citizenry. The city will showcase their homegrown talents as it highlights its mission to upgrade the level of the city into an art hub of the Philippines because it believes that the art and culture is the soul of the community.
To date, there will be 35 art galleries joining this year’s ManilArt. Notable galleries present are Gallery Big showcasing Orlina, ArtesOrientes with the back-to-back exhibition on Lebajo and Nuyda; Gallery Nine which will showcase for the first time movie director Louie Ignacio together with Boysie Villavicencio, Gallery Francesco to showcase Ombok Villamor.
Moreover, the city of Taguig, will showcase del Sol and Roberto Lolong. Finally, Manilart Foundation Inc will present the main highlight of the festival, Kublai Millan.
The fair has helped the art galleries who in turn help the artists promote their creations.
For del Sol, helping the accredited NCCA galleries through this annual exhibition had made the art industry more professional.
“The professionalism had made the gallery association like a collegial body especially in the ethical issues of art management thereby protecting the artists and the art collectors,” del Sol shared.
“We believe that we were able to increase the awareness of the people especially the Filipino youth in appreciating art and in appreciation and discovery of cultural identity. We also believe had so far been successful since it started advocating the promotion of galleries to help the artists in 2009.
“Now there are big art fairs and auction houses that sprung, contributing to the further increase in awareness of people of what they have as a Filipino. The art scene is very upbeat and vibrant that we have been taken noticed of other foreign countries,” del Sol finally noted.
ManilArt 2017 will be running from October 13 to 15 with fair hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura in Taguig.