Arts & Leisure

By Susan Claire Agbayani

Art Fair Philippines: Going Global

Posted on January 27, 2016

ART FAIR Philippines 2016 will enthrall again on its fourth year.

NONA GARCIA’s oil on canvas work, Before the Sea
The fair is one of the most awaited art events of the year. Founded in 2013, it has regularly transformed a parking space in the country’s financial hub into a showcase of the best that galleries of Metro Manila and the “vibrant” contemporary Philippine art scene can offer, attracting “a lot of students, young professionals, families, and even young couples,” said Trickie Lopa, a member of the organizing committee of the art fair, during the press launch on Jan. 19 at the roofdeck of The Link, the Makati parking lot where the fair has been held for the past three years. It will again be held at The Link, Ayala Center in Makati, this time from Feb. 18 to 21.

“There’s so much talent out there,” notes Ms. Lopa, who said that she and her fellow organizers (Dindin Araneta and Lisa Ongpin Periquet) conceptualized the art fair to expose Filipinos to the country’s contemporary art scene and make it “accessible.” This after having organized the very successful Art in the Park fair at Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati. The event, which focuses on affordable art, is now on its tenth year.

Some years back, the organizers noticed that there was a growing global trend towards art fairs. After having gone to Hong Kong and the Frieze Art Fair (London/ New York), they thought of doing something like it in the Philippines, and holding it in an unusual venue.

It was gratifying for them that more and more art institutions were willing to work with them in organizing not just the fair but other activities to go with it, such as talks, tours and exhibit openings in the fair and other venues, said Ms. Periquet.

“We brought a new audience to the visual art scene. Galleries are getting busier, collectors are getting younger...,” Ms. Lopa said. But more important than this, she believes, is that “Art has a place in our national psyche.”

After initially targeting bringing art to a wider local audience, they now intend to “bring (it) out into the Southeast Asian/world spotlight,” Ms. Lopa said.

The fair attracts “the international community: auction houses, galleries, and enthusiasts alike. As the premier, globally recognized platform for exhibiting and selling the best in modern and contemporary Philippine visual art, Art Fair Philippines puts our country on the map alongside international counterparts,” states a press release from the organizers.

Highlighting this is the fact that the four-day exhibition will feature the participation of a number of galleries from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

Art Fair Philippines 2016 “promises an expanded and exciting lineup for its fourth edition as it recognizes its role as the world’s window to one of Asia’s fastest growing contemporary art scenes,” says the press release.

Statistics show how the fair has grown in the last three years:

From 6,000 visitors in its first year, this number grow to 10,000 in its second edition, and 16,000 last year. From 24 participating galleries in its first year, the number has steadily to 40 this year. The fair has also literally expanded: from occupying less than 2,800 square meters of the car park the first year, this expanded to around 3,500 sq.m. the second year, around 4,400 sq.m. in the third year, to around 6,400 sq.m. this year, noted Ms. Lopa.

The 40 galleries participating in this eyar’s art fair are: 1335Mabini, Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea, Archivo 1984 Gallery, Arndt, Art Cube, Artesan Gallery + Studio, ArtInformal, Art Verite Gallery, and Avellana Art Gallery;

Blanc, Boston Art Gallery, CANVAS, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Equator Art Projects, Finale Art File, Gajah Gallery, Galeria Cayon, Galleria Duemila, Galerie Michael Janssen, Galerie Stephanie, Galerie Anna, Gallery Kogure, and Gallery Orange;

J Studio, MO_Space, Nunu Fine Art, PABLO, Paseo Art Gallery, Pinto Art Gallery, Salcedo Private View, Secret Fresh, Silverlens, TAKSU Gallery, The Crucible, The Drawing Room, Tin-Aw Art Gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl, West Gallery, Yavuz Gallery, and YOD Gallery.

To complement the gallery lineup, a special section will be devoted to solo presentations by critically acclaimed and commercially successful artists. These will be mounted in two levels of the main fair. Globally renowned Brisbane-based Filipino artist couple Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan are headlining the Special Exhibits of the fair. Also included in the lineup of participating artists are Pamela Yan Santos, Mac Valdezco, Raffy Napay, At Maculangan, Nona Garcia, Martha Atienza, and Mark Justiniani.

“There are so many things going,” noted Ms. Lopa. There will be daily talks on current practices on contemporary art, the art market, art history and art insurance for ArtFairPh/Talks, thanks to the Ateneo Art Gallery.

She also mentioned that “since the fair is like a magnet, there are parallel events happening” in museums and by various organizations.

These include the Ayala Museum, the Yuchengco Museum, the Purita Kalaw Ledesma Archives, Ballet Philippines, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Museum of Contemporary Art & Design (MCAD), the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, the Lopez Museum and Library, the Jorge B. Vargas Museum and Christie’s Art Forum.

The fair will be held from Feb. 18 to 21, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., at the 5th to 7th floors of The Link, Ayala Center, Makati City. Regular tickets are at P150 (“cheaper than a movie,” noted Ms. Lopa). Students with valid IDs can get in for P50, and Makati City students with IDs get in for free.

For more details, visit, www.facebook/artfairph, @artfairph on Instagram and Twitter, or contact

At the sidelines of the fair

ART FAIR PHILIPPINES 2016 expands beyond the walls of the carpark. Join guided tours organized by Art Fair Philippines and the Museum Foundation of the Philippines for a more in-depth look at museum offerings, take in a ballet and a lecture, or sign up for Christie’s Art Forum as it takes afficionados on a contemporary art gallery hop. (For more details visit Events actually start before the Art Fair proper opens on Feb. 18.

FEB. 16
• There will be a lecture, “Notes from Purita: Philippine Art in a Wider Field,” given by Dr. Patrick D. Flores at the Purita Kalaw-Ledesma Center, KL Tower, 117 Gamboa St., Legaspi Village, Makati City from 4 to 6 p.m.. (For inquiries:

• The opening of the exhibit The World We Live In: Through the Lens of Contemporary Photography will be held at 6 p.m. at the Ayala Museum. Presented by the Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Collective 88 in partnership with Ayala Museum, it focuses on the works of: Sebastião Salgado, Steve McCurry, Robert Polidori, Edward Burtynsky and Annie Leibovitz.

• The 8 p.m. gala opening of Ballet Philippines’ OPERA at the Main Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The ballet was inspired by artist Gabriel Barredo’s exhibit of kinetic art which was presented during last year’s Art Fair. (For tickets and inquiries:

FEB. 18
• Guided tour of The World We Live In: Through the Lens of Contemporary Photography, 3 p.m. (exclusive for VIP Cardholders) at the Ayala Museum (reservations and inquiries:

• Christie’s Art Forum at Toby’s Estate will hold a Galley hop (RSVP:

FEB. 19
There will be several tours conducted by Art Fair Philippines and the Museum Foundation of the Philippines. All the tours must be booked in advance. For details and inquiries e-mail Assembly is at the 6F Reception Area of the art fair.

• Guided tour of the National Art Gallery, National Museum of the Philippines from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The tour will cover early 19th-century religious art expressions to the contemporary abstract works from the 1960s to the ’80s.

• Guided tour of the UP Vargas Museum, Ateneo Art Gallery, and the Lopez Museum and Library, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Vargas Museum’s permanent exhibit features artworks by Juan Luna, Felix Hidalgo, Fernando Amorsolo, Vicente Manansala, and Victorio Edades, among others. The Ateneo Art Gallery, widely recognized today as the first museum of Philippine modern art. On view at the Lopez Museum is Drawing The Lines, focusing on editorial or political cartoons.

• Guided tour of the Ayala Museum featuring the exhibits by visual artist Plet Bolipata, Collectors Series: A Taste of Gutai, the Lito and Kim Camacho Collection, and The World We Live In: Through the Lens of Contemporary Photography, 3-4:30 p.m.

FEB. 20
• Guided tour of the National Art Gallery, National Museum of the Philippines, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Guided tour of the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. MCAD presents Michael Lin: Local Motion. The Met has a retrospective exhibit celebrating the 50 creative years of National Artist Benedicto “BenCab” Cabrera.

• Guided tour of the Ayala Museum, 3-4:30 p.m.

FEB. 21
• Guided tour of the National Art Gallery, National Museum of the Philippines, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Guided tour of Pinto Art Museum and Silangan Gardens in Antipolo, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Guided tour of the Ayala Museum, 3-4:30 p.m.

• Christie’s Art Forum at J Studio, which is the closing event for Art Fair Philippines. RSVP and further details at