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Art in the Mall: Ortigas Art Fest celebrates 5th year with art, films, music, and fashion

FOR its fifth year, the Ortigas Art Festival (OAF) expands beyond visual arts and highlights artist-led galleries. The festival runs until Aug. 7 at Estancia Malls, Pasig City.

The Ortigas Art Festival was launched in 2018 with the goal of making art accessible to everyone. It featured over 60 Filipino artists during its first run. Since then, more than 200 artists — including international artists from Southeast Asia, America, and Europe — have participated. Despite the restrictions brought about by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the OAF continued holding both physical and online activities in its 2020 and 2021 editions.

“This year’s festival paints a broader stroke of Philippine art where we encompass more art forms, from visual art, film, dance, and even pottery,” artist and OAF head curator Renato “Mang Ato” R. Habulan said in a statement. “We want to show the diversity of talents across many disciplines Filipino artists have and we are honored to present all of those through this year’s exhibit and festivities.”

“We believe that art has the power to connect people and uplift their spirits especially at trying times,” noted Renee Bacani, Vice-President of Ortigas Malls, in a statement. “We’ve proven that when we ran the festival during the two years under a pandemic. Now that we’re slowly recovering and embracing the new normal, we believe that there is no better time to show that Philippine art is alive and well and is for everyone to enjoy.”

This year’s festival includes workshops and exhibitions in painting, sculpture, photography, and fashion, a film competition, and musical performances.

For this year’s roster of exhibitors, Mr. Habulan proposed to showcase artist-run spaces.

“In making a festival that is centered on artist-run spaces, we support the artist initiatives, and in the process, we also support artists,” Mr. Habulan told BusinessWorld shortly after the launch on July 7.

Mr. Habulan — who is the founder of gallery Agos Studios which is participating in the festival — said, “In artist-run spaces, what is important to us is that the art is good and relevant, and should reflect the condition of our time.”

At the second and third floor of the Estancia East Wing are found the participating artist-run galleries: Agos Studios, Bastedor Art Project, Vmeme Contemporary Art Gallery, Linangan Art Residency, Red Lab Gallery, Thombayan Art Space, and Makiling Art Studio. The festival also features works by visual artists Rita Bustamante and Rico Lascano.

Meanwhile, the Fashion Designers Association of the Philippines has mounted designs at the mall’s exhibition spaces. National Artist for Music Ramon Santos also has a special exhibit on folk music.

The various art workshops offered are Design-It-Yourself 3D Art on July 23; Paper Sculpture, Sketching from Life, and Wood Carving on July 30; and Oil Pastel Drawing for Beginners and Live Portraiture Sketching on July 31.

For film and photography, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and film organization Born in Film will be hosting retrospectives and late-night screenings of restored Philippine films and films by National Artists.

The FDCP will also be holding its second Vertical Cinema Contest during the festival. Film entries (in any genre) are to fit the theme: “Kamusta Ka?” (How are you?). They must be shot on a smartphone with an aspect ratio of 9:16. The film should not be more than two minutes long. They can be in English or Filipino, and subtitles are required for other languages. The deadline of submission of entries is on July 31. Ten Finalists will be chosen with the Top 3 receiving P15,000 (first prize); P10,000 (second prize); and P5,000 (third prize). The Top 7 will receive P2,000 each. For competition mechanics, visit www.facebook.com/ortigasartfestival/photos/1008100676550288.

Born in Film will be hosting workshops on Creative Visual Storyline and Mobile Photography on July 16; while the FDCP will conduct workshops on Storytelling on July 24 and Screen Writing on July 30.

The Ortigas Art Festival runs until Aug. 7 at the Estancia East Wing, Capitol Commons, Pasig City. Admission is free. For the full festival schedule, follow Ortigas Art Festival on Facebook and visit ortigasmalls.com. To participate in the activities, register for the Ortigas Community Card through the Ortigas Malls App. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman