These Filipino artists are exhibiting in Venice

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Filipino artists Venice Biennial
Marrie Saplad, Isko Andrade, Pongbayog, Dino Gabito, and Anna Bautista | Photo by JT Fernandez

At a special exhibit in the Palazzo Mora, this diverse roster of Filipino artists are presenting their works on the global stage in Venice



Derek Flores, managing director and founder of DF Art Agency, is known as one of the few private artist managers in the country responsible for empowering multiple artists in the local and international art scene. He has worked with the likes of Mark Nicdao and Andres Barrioquinto as well as emerging artists Ian Anderson, Jill Arteche, and Anna Bautista

When Flores was invited to the “Personal Structures” exhibit in Venice, Italy, he was initially hesitant. The logistical challenges loomed over his head. But after recognizing it as a rare opportunity to share the work of Filipino artists with a global audience, Flores reconsidered, and the planning ensued. 

Venice Biennial ECC Italy
Derek Flores with Rachelle De Stefano of the ECC

The “Personal Structures” exhibit is headed by the European Cultural Centre (ECC) Italy and will delve into “the challenges of global migration and the intricate web of national identities,” said Sara Danieli, head of art at ECC Italy. This special exhibit, now in its seventh edition, will coincide with the renowned La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Art Biennale), where the official Philippine pavilion will be participating.

Independent from the Venice Biennale but running concurrently, the special showcase of Filipino artistic talent will be presented at the Palazzo Mora.

Filipino artists Venice Biennial
Filipino artists in “Textures and Interstices”

Delving into the nuances of migration and identity, the exhibiting artists examine their place in the world that has “emerged from contentious social conditions, experimentation of artistic medium, and exploring the shifts of local and global artistic tendencies. No singular aesthetic definition and valuation are gleaned from Filipino artistic movements,” writes award-winning writer and arts educator Portia Placino in the exhibition notes.

The roster includes the diverse work of 12 artists spanning ages, styles, and mediums. Established social realists Alfredo Esquillo and Manny Garibay present work that continues to dissect and comment on the sociopolitical undertones in the everyday lives of Filipinos. Emerging artist Cedrick Dela Paz also exhibits work within the sociorealist vein albeit with heavier tones. Pongbayog showcases a monochromatic portrait in his distinct style that faces away from the viewer while Demi Padua shows forms overflowing with colors and textures in its composition. 

Filipino artists Venice Biennial
Work by Anna Bautista, Dino Gabito, Pongbayog, Marrie Saplad, and Isko Andrade. Photo from Derek Flores

Other artists depict inanimate subjects that expand and transcend everyday life. Dino Gabito debuts a new direction of his ‘Shroud Series’ in Venice, now opting to capture only the bottom part of the cloth as opposed to his full, ghost-like figures. Meanwhile Marrie Saplad continues her ‘teabag’ series, now showing the possibilities and hope that can reside in a simple sachet. Isko Andrade also shows an in-detail depiction of red thread or a bandage that reflects deeper memories of his childhood and upbringing. Anna Bautista, known for her appealing, light paintings, presents images of the traditional fan that explore the significance of Filipiniana. 

READ MORE: At a special exhibit in Venice, Isko Andrade bares his own life experiences

Delving into landscape and the environment, Raffy Napay, renowned for his grand creations in thread, depicts the splendor of the natural world through woven canvas while Mark Andy Garcia creates bright, painterly landscapes and Max Balatbat straddles the borders between figuration and abstraction. 

Filipino artists Venice Biennial
Represented artists of DF Art Agency. Photo by JT Fernandez

Underneath the antique wooden beams of the Venetian Palazzo, the variety of work by both established and emerging artists aptly captures the theme of “Textures and Interstices” through a collection of work that creates a curated mosaic of the talents of Filipino artists. 

The vernissage will take place on Apr. 18 and 19, 2024 at Salon 219 in the Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy. Public opening will start on Apr. 20, 2024 and will run until Nov. 24, 2024.


Special thanks to Derek Flores and Portia Placino.

Photography by JT Fernandez

Video by Mikey Yabut and Claire Salonga

Production assistance by Martin Agustin

Produced by Ria Prieto

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