MANILA’S FAIR QUARTET
by DR. JAIME LAYA
Fair ladies—Lisa Periquet, Trickie Lopa, Dindin Araneta, Vita Sarenas, Silvana Diaz—and outnumbered males like Soler Santos are busy rocking Manila’s cultural boat. The talented are enthusiastically creating while everybody else, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, senior card bearers, eagerly await the results in our Art Fair Quartet.
Valentine’s Day romps could have begun at BGC last Thursday evening at “ALT Philippines” 2020’s Vernissage (that’s ribbon-cutting, imbibing, and pica-pica) where 10 of Manila’s top art galleries tempted collectors who already possess what ordinary mortals covet.
Starting Thursday, parking will be tight at Ayala Commercial Center when “Art Fair Philippines” takes over much of “The Link” between Makati Shangri-La and Landmark and an estimated 25,000 art lovers—beginners and seasoned, students, parents with young children, artists, the curious, begin arriving to see what’s up.
More than works that hang on walls, are suspended from ceilings, stand on floors and pedestals, there could be objects that move or talk or smell, structures that one enters, installations that one steps on or avoids, performances, lectures, and lots of contemporary art surprises.
Dindin Araneta says 4,000 or so fairgoers already own something, while the remaining 21,000 come to look, learn, and/or enjoy and occasionally buy. Word has spread far and wide, attracting collectors from places like Singapore and curators from institutions like London’s Tate Modern.
WEAVING ART David Medalla’s interactive piece A Stitch in Time at the 2019 Art Fair Philippines
“Art in the Park” will be on Sunday, March 15, at Velasquez Park in Makati’s Salcedo Village. Begun in 2005, it’s perfect for young people still on the lower rungs of their career ladders. Ground rule No. 1, everything must pass screening and No. 2, price should be ₱50,000 max. It’s nice to know that anything one likes is okay by someone presumably with taste. The name-droppable Rodel Tapaya, Mark Justiniani, Ral Arrogante, Jigger Cruz, Ronald Ventura, and Geraldine Javier were regulars before their masterpieces became, alas, fairly unreachable.
“ManilaArt” is on its 12th year. Held in October, galleries from all over fill up huge spaces like Mall of Asia’s SMX. Exhibitors generally show what they think will sell and there’s something for every taste and pocket. Early on, the notion of fair play came up, a feeling that screening (“curating” is more polite) was needed to protect the innocent from themselves. The final decision was laissez faire. “Quality” and “elitist” tend to be considered synonymous so ManilaArt continues to be all embracing while the “reactionary” Art Fair Philippines is more selective. History has repeated itself and Art Fair Philippines has a half- sister in ALT Philippines.
Having a Fair Quartet is great. The orig has something for every taste and budget. The second is for young people with champagne taste and (for now) beer budgets, noting that only the young can survive the heat of a March afternoon outdoors. The third presents a panoramic view of Philippine contemporary art in all its forms where one can browse, learn and buy. ALT showed treasures I can’t afford but seeing is the next best thing.
Enjoy all four Fairs!
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Tags: ALT Philippines, art fair, Art Fair Philippines, Art in the Park, Dr. Jaime Laya, ManilaArt, ManilArt, Wala lang