Art Fair Philippines’s fifth edition closed on 19 February 2017.
With an extended programme of talks and commissions for artist installations, the fifth edition of Art Fair Philippines (AFP) saw visitor numbers double in comparison with the previous year.
Trickie Lopa, Lisa Periquet and Dindin Araneta launched the Art Fair Philippines (AFP) in 2013. In 2017 AFP spilled into another floor of a carpark in Makati City, where the fair now occupies four floors. From the 40 galleries participating in 2016, AFP welcomed six new local participants, including 1335 Mabini, Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea and ArtInformal. Philippines’ leading galleries were joined by 12 international galleries from Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The four-day art fair saw a significant increase in the number of visitors from 22,000 people in 2016 to over 40,000 art fans in 2017. After the close of the event in February, Trickie Lopa commented in a statement:
Year on year, we strive to make the best of Philippine contemporary art accessible to more people, and continue to provide a massive venue for local artists to showcase their works with a spotlight that they deserve. And it’s apparent that with this year’s numbers we have met our goals.
A press conference held before the event suggested that the fifth edition of AFP would have a particular focus on the “political”. Jose Tence Ruiz, who represented the Philippines at the Venice Biennale in 2015, was commissioned to mount an installation on the sixth floor, which has been described as “a socio-realist commentary on the country’s current political issues”.
Other local artists Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani and Manny Garibay collaborated on a mural work, which also sought to comment on current tensions in contemporary politics. The three artists co-founded the artist collective Salingpusa, who were active as artists and activists during the political turbulence of the 1980s in the Philippines.
These installations were part of the section ART FAIR PH/PROJECTS, which also featured interactive and thought-provoking installations by acclaimed Filipino visual artists such as Agnes Arellano, Patricia Perez Eustaquio, Emmanuel Garibay, Dex Fernandez, Mark Valenzuela and Maria Jeona Zoleta as well as a sprawling sound and media art installation from sound art collective WSK.
Art Fair Philippines 2017 also presented ART FAIR PH/TALKS in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery and Museum Foundation of the Philippines. Co-founder Dindin Araneta explained in a press statement:
When we started in 2013, one of the things we talked about was the desire to build an audience for Filipino contemporary art. It’s very important to us, as part of our vision, to hold talks which we do in cooperation with the Ateneo Art Gallery for content and with the Museum Foundation of the Philippines as grant partner.
Featured in the three-day talks was Canadian writer and sociologist Dr Sarah Thornton, author of Seven Days in the Art World and 33 Artists in 3 Acts. Filipino historian, academic and journalist Ambeth Ocampo talked about the exhibition he curated at the Ateneo Art Gallery featuring works by national artist Arturo Luz. Professor Tony Godfrey – teacher, writer, and curator – discussed the meaning of a “masterpiece” in today’s contemporary art scene. Collector Ran Xu, who is also the founder of Shanghai-based XuArtspace, talked about her collecting philosophy.
A panel featureing Tobias Berger (Head of Art for Central Police Station Project in Hong Kong), Ute Meta Bauer (Director for the Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore) and Diana Campbell Betancourt (Artistic Director of Bellas Artes Projects Philippines and Samdani Art Foundation Dhaka) discussed current curating trends in the Asian region.
Art Fair Philippines also launched “10 Days of Art”, from 9 to 19 February, a series of events around Makati and Bonifacio Global City involving galleries, museum, bars, restaurants and retail establishments with the idea of bringing the commercially and non-commercially minded together in Manila to celebrate art.
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