Quantcast
Latest Stories

50 intimate dinners as Albert Avellana turns 50

Designers, artists, relatives and art cognoscenti fete the well-loved, imaginative gallery owner

By

ALBERT Avellana in his office with Ivi Cosio’s ethnic-inspired work as the focal point. PHOTO BY NELSON MATAWARAN

Trust art broker Albert Avellana to always think out of the box, especially when celebrating his 50th birthday.

Every day from midnight of June 11 to July 31, friends and relatives have been and will be hosting lunches, tea parties, cocktails and dinners to add up to 50 intimate celebrations.

Every June 12—Avellana’s birthday—he always holds a big party at the Avellana Arts Gallery which also coincides with the opening of an exhibit and Independence Day.

“I’m guilty. People have been telling me they don’t want to attend the party because there are too many guests, and I don’t talk to them. After a minute of small talk, I disappear. I said to myself, what if I do 50 birthday parties?”

Last June 11, Avellana’s longtime friend and patron Marivic Vasquez organized a dinner for 12 at Café Adriatico. Everybody was asked to wear red, Avellana’s signature color.

Since then, parties have been lined up by designers, artists, relatives, art cognoscenti—interior designers Tina Bonoan, Darla Villalon, Opat Hermano, Penny Zaide, Becca Kaisip, George Martinez of Don Bosco, architect Dan Lichauco, photographer Philip Escudero, Tuchi Imperial, nephews and nieces, fashion designer Jojie Lloren, the Printmakers Association of the Philippines, Deanna Ongpin, former Penguin buddies, Leo Aldana, designer Ricky David.

EUGENE Jarque plays with special effects on hismedium. PHOTO BY NELSON MATAWARAN

In Bacolod, he will be feted by scion Adrian Lizares, furniture designer Bernie Sason, Lisa Montero, Bong Zubiri, to name a few.

Bubot Caluya culminates the 50-day celebration of 50 years. These are small groups, so Avellana can spend quality time with them.

Friendship-based

“Those 50 birthday celebrations are friendship-based. That is also how I run the gallery. Everything is relationship-based. I don’t bind the artist in a contract.”

His roster now includes nearly 50 artists.

Avellana’s recent birthday bash not only marked the 10th anniversary of his gallery in Pasay City but also his longtime association with artist Eugene Jarque, his first protégé. He discovered Jarque when the latter was a student at the Technological University of the Philippines. Jarque’s exhibit presents his penchant for unusual shapes and colors rendered in acrylic, fabric and layers of stripped woods.

WITH Drs. Gemand and Linda Milan, designer Jojie Lloren, hotelier Danny Jacinto. PHOTO BY NELSON MATAWARAN

No pretty pictures, social realism or angsty pieces have ever been displayed on those walls.

“I’m too happy,” Avellana says with a chuckle. “Angsty pieces don’t work here. I’m always looking for something original—yung natataranta ako (something that bewilders).”

Artistic genes

Avellana comes from a family of artists. His father, Angel Avellana, was a prominent sound engineer in the film industry, elevated to the Famas Hall of Fame after winning for six consecutive years. He worked on such films as “Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa,” “Mga Anghel sa Lupa,” “Asedillo” and other Fernando Poe Jr. classics.

His uncle is National Artist for Film Lamberto Avellana. During the wake of his aunt Daisy Avellana, National Artist for Theater, he styled the chapel with white flowers and tall grass, Daisy’s urn and portrait floating above them. The viewing area was arranged as a quiet space while the rest of the visitors talked outside.

WITH Isabelle and Isaak Shair, artists Allan Cosio and Pidge Reyes. PHOTO BY NELSON MATAWARAN

Avellana cultivated his aesthetics from his fine arts training at the Philippine Women’s University. Although his first job was selling carpets and etched glass, he discovered his talent in finding tasteful artworks and selling them. He also had a stint in theater, joining the chorus of Gantimpala Theater’s “Magsimula Ka” and Repertory Philippines’ “Fiddler on the Roof.”

He then helped out the late artist Sid Hildawa in his gallery, curated the exhibits at Alliance Française and helped in the cultural affairs of the then newly established Instituto Cervantes.

In 1997, Avellana opened his first gallery at San Juan Apartments. Meanwhile, he also mounted exhibits for the Hotel InterContinental and Peninsula Manila. When interior designer Josephine Labrador Hermano took over Design and Architecture magazine (now defunct), Avellana was tasked to be the pictorial director.

Caring friend

Our friendship with Avellana dates back to 1989. In a party at Hermano’s house, the owner showed the photos of her abode and was displeased by the photographer’s lack of perspective. I was still working for another newspaper.

When we asked permission to photograph her house, she asked Avellana to guide the photographer, Teddy Pelaez.

Avellana taught photographers about mood for interiors using available lighting, depth of space and background and foreground. Through the years, Albert also helped me by directing the fashion shoots. The clothes were also set against striking architecture, whether it was vintage Chanel and Azzedine Alaia clothes set against the Philamlife Building, or Joe Salazar’s gowns in front of Ruby Roa’s Asian-inspired getaway in Cavite.

Albert is also a caring friend. When we were photographing the penthouse of an interior designer, I accidentally ran into glass panel door. The designer-owner didn’t even apologize or offer to give me first aid. Albert brought me to the emergency room of the nearest hospital to stop my nosebleed.

Bright ideas

One of Avellana’s bright ideas was to organize a fashion show for the Inquirer inside the MRT just before its launch in 1999. We asked the Metro Rail Transit Corp. to provide us the train ride, which was set on the eve of its inaugural trip with President Joseph Estrada.

Albert Almedralejo helped to produce the event, while Joey Espino directed the six designer-collections. Guests entered the North Avenue station. At every stop, a new batch of models from a different designer entered the carriages. The ride ended at the Shaw Boulevard station with a Bench fashion show. That was arguably the only time Manila’s social set ever rode the MRT.

Avellana’s fertile imagination keeps on running. From his birthday to June 11, 2014, he will curate 50 exhibits—some at Café Escudero in Quezon City, others in Bacolod, and at Plaza del Norte in Laoag.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Albert Avellana , birthdays , dinners , Food , Lifestyle , People



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  2. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  7. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  8. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  9. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  10. Finalists announced for best translated books
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

News

  • Luzon grid power reserve ‘enough’ for Holy Week
  • Pimentel proposes incentives for companies that will hire ex-convicts
  • State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  • SBMA execs, 2 others face graft raps
  • Pangasinan beachgoers warned vs jellyfish
  • Sports

  • My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  • Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
  • New-look Azkals tie Qatari side
  • San Miguel Beermen eye No. 2 slot, battle Air21 Express
  • Filipinos yield to Iraqis anew Asian club volley
  • Lifestyle

  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  • Entertainment

  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Gary Valenciano just keeps moving
  • Noisy celeb spews venom, backs off when confronted
  • Business

  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • BOC sues steel importers
  • BIR continues to miss collection target
  • Technology

  • Tech company: change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • No travel restrictions to Middle East amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Measures set against entry of MERS-CoV
  • Japan backs PH in case before UN
  • Las Vegas union starts pickets over wages, benefits
  • Fil-Am Daly City councilor has eye on Superior Court seat
    Marketplace