Art Fair PH 2020: Going beyond visual arts to attract more goers

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FOR the 8th installment of Art Fair Philippines (AFP), the focus will be on the process of creating art.

“For this year, we have concentrated on processes on how art is made. We’re focusing on under-the-radar artists who we believe work differently, who look at how they make art, rather than the outcome,” AFP co-founder Trickie Lopa told BusinessWorld, shortly after fair’s press launch on Jan. 21 at Raffles Makati.

The Link carpark in Makati will again be transformed into an art space for the fair, which runs from Feb. 21 to 23.

This year, AFP — which will have 61 exhibitors — introduces a workshop and film section, and will hold a collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Manila.

In line with the focus on creation, one of the new activities is the ArtFairPH/Open Studios — a series of workshops and demonstrations facilitated by practitioners in the arts.

“The reason we are doing this is so that we can provide people with a peek into the artists’ creative processes — how he does it, and how he thinks about it,” AFP Co-founder Lisa Periquet said during the press launch.

The section will present a two-day workshop on photography with Paco Guerrero; lighting techniques for photographers with Neal Oshima and Mark Nicdao; making wooden furniture with Benji Reyes; a demo on watercolor painting techniques with Claude Tayag; a cyanotype workshop with Alexis Oshima and Angela Silva; rubber-cut workshop with members of the Association of Pinoyprintmakers; and a sculptural planter-making workshop with Rita Gudiño of Tahanan Pottery.

Meanwhile, as part of the celebration of Philippine cinema’s 100 years, the art fair is introducing the ArtFairPH/Film section. Its inaugural cinema program, curated by Erwin Romulo, Philbert Dy, and Teddy Co, explores the possibilities of the film for the next hundred years. A selection of the best feature-length and short films, narrative and experimental, documentary and animation will be screened to showcase the diversity of Philippine cinema.

This section will also feature a special exhibition titled Self-Portrait by Lyle Nemenzo Sacris which allows visitors to sit and be filmed to be a part of 7,107 portraits. The film program will also have a special outdoor cinema from Feb. 14 to 16, with films projected at the ceiling of the entrance of the former Philippine Stock Exchange building on Ayala Avenue.

Then there is ArtFairPH/Incubators which will focus on creative spaces outside the gallery format. In this section, art/n23 will showcase an beehive-designed virtual reality piece titled Doon (Over There) by Issay Rodriguez. Other exhibitors include Giatay, Limbo, Loadnadito projects, Project 20, and Signum.

The ArtFairPH/Projects section will again feature commissioned works — “interactive and/or thought-provoking installations by internationally established Filipino visual artists.” The special exhibits this year focus on Salvador Joel Alonday, Perry Argel, Jaime De Guzman, Roedil Joe Geraldo, Jellyfish Kisses, Gene Paul Martin, and Neil Pasilan. This section will also include an exhibit of works by Carlo Villafuerte, the 2020 recipient of the Karen H. Montinola Selection, a private grant created in homage to art patron Karen Montinola. Meanwhile, Hublot will present new works by Rodel Tapaya.

Also part of the ArtFairPH/Projects section is a special exhibition of drawings by the late artist Onib Olmedo, done in cooperation with the artist’s estate. A panel featuring artists Elmer Borlongan and Allan Cosio, and moderated by Carlomar Daona, will also discuss the works of the expressionist painter as part of the ArtFairPH/Talks.

Works of American artist Sol Lewitt, who is known for his conceptual art and minimalist style, will be shown during the fair, as curated by New York-based art historian Carina Evangelista.

This year, ArtFairPH/Photo will highlight the works of Filipino contemporary artist Poklong Anading.

Aside from the panel discussion on Onib Olmedo, the lecture series ArtFairPH/Talks — done in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery and Museum Foundation of the Philippines this year — will see Italian ambassador to the Philippines Giorgio Guglielmino discussing his book, The Originals, about 30 artists that made a difference in the art scene.

The local participating exhibitors are: 1335 Mabini/GMJ, Altro Mondo Gallery, ARCHIVO 1984, Art Cube, Art Underground, Art Verité, Artery Art Space, art/n23, Association of Pinoyprintmakers, Avellana Art Gallery, bio | trans | forms, Boston Art Gallery, CANVAS, Denise Weldon | Tom Epperson Photographs, District Gallery, Eskinita Art Gallery, Galerie Roberto, Gallery of Fine Arts, Galerie Stephanie, Giatay, J Studio, Kaida Contemporary, León Gallery, Limbo, Loadnadito projects, Luzviminda, Mariyah Gallery, METRO, Mono8, Orange Project, Paseo Art Gallery, Pintô Art Museum, Project 20, Salcedo Private View, Secret Fresh, Signum, Silverlens, Strange Fruit, Tarzeer Pictures, Tin-aw Art Gallery, Tropical Futures Institute, and Ysobel Art Gallery.

The foreign galleries that are taking part in this year’s art fair are Art Porters Gallery, Gajah Gallery, Mind Set Art Center, and Yavuz Gallery, all from Singapore; Artemis Art and G13 Gallery from Malaysia; ENERGY FIELD, Gallery Kogure, Hanada Gallery, Kobayashi Gallery, SHUKADO, and YOD Gallery + Asian Art Center from Japan; Nunu Fine Art and GALERIE OVO from Taiwan; La Lanta Fine Art and Number1 Gallery from Thailand, Cayón from Spain, and Vin Gallery from Vietnam. The Italian embassy is also bringing Galleria Tiziana di Caro, an art gallery from Naples, Italy.

This year the art will not be confined only to the various floors of the carpark but will also be found at various sites around the Makati Central Business District.

Now on its third year, the 10 Days of Art initiative — a series of events around the city held by galleries, museums, bars, restaurants, and retail establishments — will run from Feb. 14 to 23. For the schedule and updates, visit

“The energy is so dynamic. It’s so different, working with a lot of young artists pushing boundaries. And that’s what we hope the fair will feel like,” Ms. Lopa told BusinessWorld.

“We feel that we’ve managed to do that. And we hope to continue doing that,” she added.

In the past two years, Art Fair Philippines has welcomed 30,000 visitors to the carpark. The most number of visitors who visited the art fair was in 2017 when 40,000 people explored the various exhibits.

As for this year’s expected foot traffic, Ms. Lopa said: “We just hope we maintain the numbers.”

Fair tickets can be purchased in advance at Tickets will also be available at the reception area. For more information, visit the Art Fair Philippines website ( and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram (@artfairph) and Facebook ( — Michelle Anne P. Soliman