What made ManilArt something to look forward to, at least in its first two years, was the promise of bringing everyone—meaning, serious art collectors and mere art lookers—together in one venue so they can all appreciate quality art in a fun, festive atmosphere reminiscent of the barrio fiesta feel is familiar to the Filipino psyche.
This year will remain more or less the same but without the live-sketching session, which drew a mass of curious onlookers last year as artists drew a ballerina frozen in time.
For those wanting to get their live-sketching fix, they can visit Mercato Centrale at Bonifacio Global City, where the ManilArt 2011 satellite sessions are held every Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Certainly a first this year will be the conceptualized art exhibit the 24 participating galleries will present. Robillos, during a media briefing at Midas Hotel and Casino in Pasay, said the gala would be like attending 24 different openings in one night.
Robillos promised quality over quantity would be the focus this year with 24 of the country’s more influential galleries participating: Art Circle, Art Informal, Art Verite, Artes Orientes, Blanc Art Space, Blue Line Gallery, Boston Gallery, Finale Art File, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Joaquin, Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill, Galleria Duemila, Galleria Quattrocento, Gallery Big, Leon Gallery, Gallery Nine, Looking for Juan, Manila Contemporary, Pablo Gallery, Paseo Gallery, Renaissance Art Gallery, Silverlens, Village Art Gallery, West Gallery.
One such themed exhibition will be Gallery Big’s “Rumors,” which, gallery manager Sarah Evangelista says, will revolve on the theme of rumors and rumor-mongering. An exclusive look at the artworks included by Gallery Big owner Jonathan Sy, ManilArt’s director for 2009 and 2010, shows portraits of Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Osama bin Laden, Presidents Noynoy and Cory Aquino, and Manila-bound Paris Hilton.
“We are still making several preparations and are eagerly awaiting additional submissions from our artists… judging by what we have right now, we are confident that all the artworks will be of world-class standard and will contribute immensely to the look and feel of the kind of high-caliber art exhibit we want to achieve,” says Evangelista.
Also worth looking forward to is a performance by world-renowned choral champion UST Singers, which has been invited through the Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, in celebration of the university’s quadricentenary. A program highlighting outstanding Thomasian visual artists is tentatively set for Aug. 27.
The next generation of National Artists will also get to enjoy ManilArt during the storybook-reading hour at the lecture room, with RepubLikha executive director and former preschool teacher Carisse Escueta reading “The Rocking Horse,” illustrated by Elmer Borlongan.
Radio and TV personalities Gang Badoy of Rock Ed Philippines and Ramon Bautista have also been invited to read “Message in the Sand” and “Sol: A Legend about the Sun,” illustrated by Roel Obemio and Farley Del Rosario, respectively.
A basic-drawing lecture for kids is also scheduled to be given by Artists in Residence, Inc. (AIR) founders architect Jojo Ballo, Cathy Lasam and Jill Arwen Posadas.
While ManilArt 2011 may take a relatively more serious tone this year, the excitement of seeing and learning something new during the art fair will always be there. Attending ManilArt is much like entering a well-conceived maze, where every turn leads to the discovery of new artworks, realizations, and, more importantly, friendships.
ManilArt 2011 is presented by the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, with the support of Allied Bank, Contemporary Art Philippines, La Creperie, Mercato Centrale, Midas Hotel, Ronac Arc Center, Secret Fresh, Sustain Pro Complex, Uno Magazine and Uratex Premium.