NOW on its eighth year, ManilArt has arguably become the leading barometer of the growth and vibrancy of Philippine visual arts in the region.
When local art gallery owners came together to establish in 2009 with some assistance from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), it was to give the Philippines its own international art fair and perhaps in hindsight, to prove that the global acclaim Filipino artists had been getting at the time was warranted and that it was only the beginning of an art revolution.
As it celebrates its eighth edition this year, it’s beyond doubt that through its consistency in providing the best and latest Filipino artworks, ManilArt has, indeed, become the premiere art fair that collectors and art lovers look forward to the most.
With 30 local and international galleries participating this year, ManilArt once again seeks to elevate the standards of the dynamic Philippine art scene through various exhibitions featuring conceptualized artists’ collections while connecting artists and galleries with art communities and institutions here and abroad.
ManilArt 2016 will run Oct. 6-9 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura in Taguig. Participating are Galerie Francesca, Ysobel Gallery, Gallery Circa, Legacy Art Gallery, 371 Art Space, Gallery Quattrocento, Artes Orientes, Gallery Nine, Galerie Y, Galleria Nicolas, Arte Pintura, 1335 Mabini, Renaissance Gallery, Galerie Anna, Galerie Raphael, Secret Fresh, Galeria Lienzo, Art for Space, Art Galileia, Reflections Gallery, The Artologist, Vmeme, Gallery CMG and Galerie Artes.
Foreign outlets participating are Ist.Ikon Abstractions of South Korea, Bruno Art Group of Singapore and the Armenian Embassy.
ManilArt 2016 will have by-invitation-only gala on Oct. 6. Preceding it is a special press reception on the same day at 4:30 p.m. to be hosted by Daphne Oseña Paez and a walking art tour to be conducted by Lynn Yusi-Olazo.
VIP’s will also get to dine on a special “SONA Menu” at Digong’s Café by Via Mare.
From Oct. 7 onwards, the walking art tour will be catered specially for public high school students.
According to artist Danny Rayos del Sol, whose ostrich egg sculptures will feature prominently at the ManilArt Lounge, this year’s theme, “Ushering in a New Golden Age of Filipino Art,” is a reflection of the Filipinos’ diverse cultural influences and how they honed the visual arts of the country.
Highlight of the lounge, however, will be the Retablo de la Divina de Misericordia, which the artist says is his way to convince people to go back to the basics, to commune with nature, to enjoy the peace, to ponder on how life should be lived, and to give more time to oneself whilst within the jungle of the world.
This year’s edition will also be the ManilArt debut of Dante S. Silverio’s Legacy Art Gallery. In his current show, “The Art of Dante Silverio,” the artist showcases his broad range of styles from impressionist landscapes to dynamic self-portraits.
For its show this year, Galerie Francesca’s “Mark of Excellence” features National Artist J. Elizalde Navarro; Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee Juvenal Sansó; painter-printmaker Fil dela Cruz; and emerging artists Herbert Pajarito, Gericho Blanco, Jericho Vamenta and Gereco Iniel.
Artes Orientes, meanwhile, will once again showcase Justin “Tiny” Nuyda’s acclaimed “Mindscape Search” series.
The overflowing display of Filipino artistic talent might overwhelm first-time buyers, but Artes Orientes owner Rio Ambrosio, who’s also ManilArt exhibitor relations director, offers a simple solution to that: Buy the art because you like it. “Don’t look at it yet as an investment although that is also a part of it,” says Ambrosio.
Indeed, the country currently enjoys a very vibrant art scene and that can be credited to ManilArt, according to Tess Rayos del Sol, the fair’s program director.
Art & heritage showcase
NCCA Commissioner Fr. Harold Ll. Rentoria, OSA, who heads the NCCA Subcommission on Cultural Heritage, noted the contributions of ManilArt to promoting Philippine culture.
“It is important for us to acknowledge the role of the art sector in cultural heritage,” the Augustinian friar said.
“ManilArt as a flagship project of the National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG) under the Subcommission on Cultural Heritage, has been a vital tool for the promotion of local talent and has fostered goodwill with the participation of international galleries. Last year, ManilArt served as a window to the Philippine showcase at the Venice Biennale.”
NCCA-NCAG head Robert Bjorn Santos agreed.
“ManilArt’s annual promotion of a vast range of artistic disciplines, and the art of budding and established artists from different regions, is in sync with the NCCA’s undertaking of establishing culture as pillar for sustainable development, championing the advancement of creative and diverse artistic expression, bolstering Filipino pride and the promotion of a sense of nationhood through art and culture,” Santos explained.
“It is heartening that the immeasurable talent of Filipino artists is increasingly recognized in auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s and in other international art events like the Art Basel and Art Trek,” said Father Rentoria.
“NCCA is happy to be part of endeavors such as ManilArt in its thrust to support and promote Philippine art and culture.”