Art fairs in Asia: 9 gallerists review Art Fair Philippines 2017 held in Makati City, Manila
ART REPUBLIK looks back at Art Fair Philippines 2017, held at The Link Carpark, Ayala Centre, Makati City from February 16 to 19
Situated in an unlikely place for an art fair, Art Fair Philippines has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 2013. This year, from February 16 to 19, galleries, mostly from Manila, set up shop in a multi-story car park at The Link Carpark, Ayala Centre, Makati City. The energy of the art fair was palpable, and the fair was praised all round. Art Republik spoke to participating gallerists about the fair, and here is what they had to say:
“I think the great thing about the Art Fair is that it provides so many opportunities for artists and audiences alike. There’s always so much variety in the works featured; it’s a huge mixture of art spanning across different styles and genres, by artists of past, present, and future, and it’s a kind of exposure you don’t get to experience very often. This year was arguably the biggest yet, and the number of men, women, and children of all ages that braved the snaking lines and packed booths for the sake of art shows considerable promise for its future in this country.”
— Danielle Ongsiako Isabela, Communications Associate, Salcedo Auctions
“Amidst all the frenzy of the fair, the highlight of my art fair experience was when I encountered a buyer who was deeply touched by an artwork we presented. For that moment, all the noise of the art fair disappears and you find yourself with the artwork, the artist, and the collector deeply connected with each other in a quiet conversation.”
— Mark L. Bugante, Graphic Designer, Artinformal
“Art Fair Philippines 2017 was a huge success! Although it was a gruelling 5-day event, the smiles and the awe on the people’s faces after seeing such incredible, sometimes indescribable art was all worth the exhaustion. The contemporary art in the Philippines is now as alive as ever. I do hope it will inspire the next generation to create and create and create. From this creation, we may be able to find the next Picasso or Van Gogh and it might just come from the Philippines.”
— Johanna Labitoria, Assistant Art Director, Galleria Duemila
“Art Fair Philippines continues to grow every year. It has an underground vibe, making it raw and real, and adding to the excitement. We also see a support group of art buyers, artists, and arts community here. It’s both diverse and fun. An emerging trend in both local and international buyers are coming to visit the art fair each year. TAKSU will continue to participate and represent our Filipino artists in both Singapore and Malaysia with shows in year 2017!”
— Suherwan, Director, Taksu Gallery
“Manila is a city always trying to negotiate with itself: not everything works, but things kind of work. At The Link, where Art Fair Philippines is held, the ceilings are low, the lighting is inconsistent at best, and the air conditioners blow hot air for the last two days of the fair. But everyone shows up: all our clients and collectors, all the artists and curators, and thousands of people from all walks of life. This year we saw record numbers of visitors who all flew in to plug into the energy of the art world in Manila. This energy is amazing. We talk to hundreds of people about our artists, and we introduce the program for the rest of the year.”
— Isa Lorenzo, Founder, Silverlens
“We exhibited National Artist Jose Joya with the Asian Cultural Council. The art fair was very well attended! It went way beyond capacity! I’ve never participated in an art fair that had lines meandering around the block. I have to congratulate the organizers.”
— Jaime Ponce de Leon, Founder, Leon Gallery
Art Fair Philippines 2017 has contributed greatly to the awareness of contemporary art. Its informal venue, accessibility and affordability, especially to students, encourage people to make it a destination of choice. Of course, much still has to be improved, like educating the audience on how to look at the art. But that will come in time.
— Dawn Atienza, Gallery Director, Tin-Aw
I have been visiting or working at the Art Fair Philippines for the past three years, and I see a very strong progression at this year’s edition. It is getting bigger every year, and the visitors are better informed and increasingly enthusiastic. I detect a new readiness for approaching and discovering contemporary art in the art buyers, and the interest in non-Filipino art. I was overwhelmed by the reception of the Southeast Asian artists, and I’m thrilled to see the increased curiosity of mixing Filipino art with other South-east Asian artists. I hope Art Fair Philippines will continue to become a relevant platform for the contemporary art in the region.
— Nikolai Kleist Burkal, Gallery Manager, Galerie Michael Janssen
“It’s definitely becoming more popular and more international. The visiting crowd is bigger this year and there is a surge of young people wanting to buy affordable artworks.”
— Abby Teotico, Gallery Director, Galerie Stephanie
This article published in Art Republik 14.