8 must-see art exhibits to visit this rainy season

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Aze Ong and Ged Merino ateneo art gallery
Aze Ong and Ged Merino's outdoor installation "Portals" at the Ateneo Art Gallery. Photo by Clefvan Pornela

From unconventional textile canopies to classic work by National Artists, here is a diverse array of art exhibitions to see this month


As the rainy season sets in, art enthusiasts in Manila have a diverse array of exhibitions to explore this July. From unconventional textile canopies to classic works by National Artists, the local art scene is buzzing with creativity. 

Whether you’re seeking shelter from daily showers or simply looking to immerse yourself in culture, these must-see art exhibits offer something for everyone. 


1. Aze Ong and Ged Merino at the Ateneo Art Gallery

Since its opening, the Ateneo Art Gallery has kept things interesting with rotating outdoor installations. Currently on view is “Portals” by artists Ged Merino and Aze Ong, which challenges notions of textile use in art. 

Hung on poles is a connecting fabric canopy created through the collaboration of both artists’ techniques: crochet, sewing, embroidery, knitting, and knotting.

The installation features many holes and openings that invite viewers to focus their energies on the light and look up at the sky. Its outdoor location also makes it vulnerable to environmental changes, emphasizing the installation’s ephemerality.

Merino, a Filipino-American mixed media artist based in New York, uses discarded items to represent the movement of the inanimate and the practice of recycling. He reflects, “The idea of portals for us is upward mobility. Looking up, we came from the time of the pandemic when we were separated from our friends and family… I had words embroidered, ‘reawaken,’ ‘revive’—it serves as telling us to awaken the evolution of the self.”

Meanwhile, Ong, a Manila-based visual and performance artist whose practice celebrates intuition and spontaneity, says, “It’s a process of letting go. In spirituality, it’s detachment. This is truly a portal for all of these—for new beginnings, for a motherhood that wasn’t, or to childhood, with hanging squeaky toys you can squeeze. It’s interactive. You can go in and out, put your face in the holes… And there’s also wind and rain, so it’s pushing the boundaries for us.”

The two artists make up the GedAze Project, which has made significant leaps in contemporary Filipino artists’ expansion of textile art. Merino and Ong share common ground in their materials, processes, and desire for viewer interaction with the tactile experiences. 

Ged Merino and Aze Ong’s outdoor installation “Portals” opened on June 29, 2024 at the Ateneo Art Gallery located at Ateneo de Manila University Arts Wing, Katipunan Ave, Diliman, Quezon City


2. Cameron Castrillo at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Gallery

Cameron Castrillo art exhibit
Cameron Castrillo, “Stronghold”, brass relief in portrait or landscape orientation, 111 x 96 cm. 2023

“Stronghold,” “Fortitude,” and “Treasure Trove”—these are the titles of Cameron Castrillo’s work for his first solo exhibition, “Beyond Brass: Life and Imagination through Sculpture.” The Rizal-based contemporary artist specializes in welding arts, exploring the versatility of brass as a medium for abstract sculpture. 

Castrillo’s work aims to embody the values and aspirations of humanity through his brass reliefs that have been cut, shaped, welded, and finished into both wall-mounted and free-standing pieces.

Cameron Castrillo’s “Beyond Brass: Life and Imagination through Sculpture” will run from July 5 to 31, 2024 at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Gallery located at 633 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila


3. Retrospective of Arturo Luz at Renaissance Art Gallery

Arturo Luz, painting
Arturo Luz, “Boxes and Shells,” Acrylic, 24 x 36 in. 1996

Arturo Luz is a household name in the Philippines, so to have an exhibit of the national artist’s work is a significant event in the local art scene. 

Curated by art critic and painter Cid Reyes, the exhibition, entitled “Streamlined” features the artist’s renowned visual themes from his temples and cities of Borobudur to acrobats and jugglers, cyclists and dancers as well as still life figures. Of course, also on exhibition, are the renowned artist’s simple yet striking geometric sculptures. 

The Arturo Luz retrospective “Streamlined” will run from July 2 to 13, 2024 at the Art Center, 4/F SM Megamall Bldg. A. EDSA, corner Doña Julia Vargas Ave, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City

READ: Visual artist and gallerist Soler Santos on celebrating West Gallery’s 35th Anniversary with his biggest show yet


4. Nicole Tee at Blanc Gallery


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A post shared by Nicole Tee (@nutflavoredcola)

For her solo exhibition “A Short Visit: The Flowers Along the Way” at Blanc Gallery, Nicole Tee presents work in mixed mediums, including thread and acrylic transfer on linen, many on a large scale. 

Carina Santos writes in the exhibition notes, “Faithful to her ethos as an artist, Tee embraces the deliberate act of slowing down and savoring the process of discovery and reflection. Taking a break from painting, her process here required stepping out into nature, engaging in new activities, and opening herself up to new experiences. Tee gathered snapshots of quiet scenery, from nature, in contrast to the world in turmoil and the incessant exposure to the ails of the world from doom-scrolling.“

Nicole Tee’s “A Short Visit: The Flowers Along the Way” will run from July 6 to 27, 2024 at Blanc Gallery located at 145 Katipunan Ave, Quezon City


5. Enzo Peralta and Benjo Guingona at The Grey Space


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In the two-man show by Enzo Peralta and Benjo Guingona, the artists express their truths and identities through their respective work that aims to represent raw emotions and vulnerability.

Peralta presents a range of paintings with spontaneous brushstrokes and blurry figures, colors that translate to meditations on epiphanies and musings. He shares, “Nothing is ever perfect because, in the first place, my eyesight has made it this way. Without my glasses, I will always see places in the same figures and bursts of color that I will encounter in real life and in my dreams. But, I think there’s true beauty in what is unconventional and in what we can’t see perfectly… Creating can seem so daunting because of how much of yourself can be put into the work. But the process can be so enlightening and wonderful.”

Meanwhile, Guingona presents wall-mounted paintings as well as painted chairs. As a licensed architect, he shares, “I’ve always found painting to be my catharsis; within the confines of a canvas, I find a sense of peace. I use this medium to express the internal truths that stem from the world around us—how we are all connected and influenced by both the bad and the good, and how we create our own sense of meaning and purpose within that… We don’t need to conform to standard ideas of self-expression, nor do we need to limit ourselves to a piece of canvas to show how we really feel.”

Enzo Peralta and Benjo Guingona’s “Stop Waiting for Everything to be F*xcking Perfect” will run from July 6 to 27, 2024 at The Grey Space located at 331 P. Guevarra St, San Juan, 1500 Metro Manila

READ: Ever heard of watercolor abstraction? Artist Micat Po explores this unique angle in art


6. Todd B. Richmond at The Drawing Room Manila


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“Les Voyages De Bougainvilliers” takes its inspiration from a ubiquitous sight in the Philippines: the bougainvillea. (Not known to many, the bougainvillea is actually not a flower but colored leaves. The flower of the plant is hidden in its axil). 

The New York-based artist, known for creating vibrant large-scale paintings, draws inspiration for this show from a bougainvillea arbor on a mango farm in Pampanga, which he encountered on his first visit to the Philippines in the 1990s. 

Richmond delves into the story of the plant, tracing its origins from South America and its naming after Louis Antoine de Bougainville, the French admiral who led the voyage of discovery in the 1760s. 

The artist delves into the plant’s global dispersion, from its South American roots to its widespread presence in Southeast Asia. Richmond’s work also features depictions of mangoes, alluding to the fruit’s own transcontinental journey in the opposite direction—from Asia to South America. 

Todd B. Richmond’s “Les Voyage de Bougainvilliers” will run until July 13, 2024 at The Drawing Room Manila located at The Alley at Karrivin, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City 


7. Jayson Oliveria at Artinformal Gallery

Jayson Olivieria art exhibit
Photo from Artinformal Gallery

For Jayson Oliveria’s latest solo exhibition, the catalog simply writes, “If you know, you know.”

The exhibition name seems to make a statement that indicates an inside joke or reference to something only a few people know. The artist, a CCP Thirteen Artist awardee, is known for his paintings that feature distinct figures with an internal logic privy to only the artist. 

For this show, Oliveria presents several smaller-scale works with a range of images, from a man in a pirate ensemble to hands opening a bud light to a comic strip of a wolf and a lamb with the words “When your girlfriend is feeling depressed—If you feel sad I can eat you.”

Jayson Oliveria’s “IYKYK” will run from July 4 to Aug. 1, 2024 at Artinformal Gallery located at The Alley at Karrivin, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City.


8. Anna Bautista at León Gallery International

Anna Bautista art exhibit
Anna Bautista, “Actual/Artificial” (diptych), 4 x 8 ft.

Where do nature and technology meet? In our rapidly evolving world, as technology becomes increasingly integrated into our daily lives, the line between the natural and the artificial seems to blur.

Bautista continues to use traditional painting techniques with a contemporary vision, as she explores this convergence of the organic and the technological, transposing familiar images of nature like fruits, flowers, birds, and bees, with the ubiquitous image in our contemporary reality—the electronic charger cable.

“The inspiration for this specific show is my feelings and questions towards technology and artificial intelligence, especially in today’s landscape. The use of these two seems so intertwined with our lives already that it almost feels like it’s so innate to us. Like it’s part of nature almost. It sparks both excitement and anxiety in me… Where lines are getting so blurred, that it’s hard to decipher what is actual from artificial,” says Bautista.

Anna Bautista’s “Actual/Artificial” will run from July 18 to 30, 2024 at León Gallery International located at Corinthian Plaza, Ground Floor Paseo de Roxas, Legazpi Village,  Makati City

READ: The yin and yang design dynamic of Rita Nazareno and Gabby Lichauco

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