There is no stopping The National Art Fair! Now on its 12th year, ManilART2020 leaps into the new and better normal of art exhibitions. Established in 2009 as a flagship project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the fair extends into the holiday season the year’s Museums and Galleries Month theme of “Engaging Exhibitions for Emerging Generations”, which serendipitously and unforeseenly takes on a deeper meaning with the events which unfolded this 2020. For the art fair, it means opening up to the world stage of digital exhibitions and engaging a new generation of audiences.
Onsite and Online
The onsite component will take place from December 9-13 at SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City. View the works of hundreds of the country’s top artists showcasing art done in the time of quarantine– which for many involve overcoming great obstacles and forging a collection both memorable and unparalleled.
Featured masters: glass sculpture, realist social commentary
Two of ManilART’s regular exhibitors, glassmaster Ramon Orlina and realist master Romulo Galicano, showcase major new works for this year’s run. Joining the fray is hyperrealist Ed Coronel, who has held solo exhibitions and garnered international awards for his works.
Ramon Orlina expected to go on a hiatus after celebrating a very busy milestone 75th year last year. However, unexpected challenges including the eruption of Taal volcano early this year which resulted in the suspension of operations of his eponymous Museo Orlina in Tagaytay City, followed by the pandemic and lockdown, only served to challenge the creative spirit of this master sculptor. Initially aiding community relief efforts and ultimately needing to revive the Museo and keep his artistic legacy strong, he has come back with a solid collection of quarantine-inspired works with themes of family, resilience and overcoming challenges.
Romulo “Mulong” Galicano, internationally-acclaimed realist painter, started a legacy project in 2011 chronicling historically-relevant contemporary events. The first piece “Siete de Agosto: Allegory of a Farce,” also known as “Death of the National Artist”, was a critique of the attack art was suffering in the hands of politicking forces and the ensuing societal chaos. 2014’s “Triumph of Life Over Death” was a tribute to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda and extolled the heroism of the Filipino in times of devastating tragedy. Meanwhile, 2017 saw “The Modern Holocaust”, his rendition of the “Maguindanao Massacre” which was a politically-motivated slaughter of journalists which shocked the world and headlined the Philippines as one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Last year, the artist presented Nostradamus Prophecies: Ominous (2019), an eerily-prophetic depiction of a ravaged earth brought about by nature’s destruction. These works seemingly culminate in “The Apocalypse 2020” presented as his only major piece depicting the events of this unprecedented year.
Showcase of artists and exhibitors
Many other significant works headline this unforgettable year’s edition. Participating exhibitors include 371 Art Space, AC888, Annual Sculpture Review, Art Anton, Art for Space, Arte Bettina, Artes Orientes, Artphile, Espacio Manila, Galerie Anna, Galerie Artes, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Raphael, Galleria Nicolas, Gallery Nine, Galerie Roberto, Primo Gallery, Renaissance Art Gallery, Rene Robles Museum, Galerie du Soleil, Village Art Gallery, and Ysobel Art Gallery.
Award-winning hyperrealist Ed Coronel is an artist and photographer who graduated as a physicist and taught at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Coronel will be showcasing “Diversity,” a 36”x48” oil painting that garnered him First Place at the 2020 American Art Awards Pop Art Category. Also on exhibit is his “Fruit Vendor 2 (Still Life with 725 fruits)” which won 6th place in the American Art Awards 2019 Best Landscape with Life Category.
Bestselling sculptor Marge Organo and respected painter Katrina Cuenca exhibit “The Divine Feminine,” depicting contemporary explorations of what it means to be a woman told through paint and sculpture media. Their exhibit will be held with Galerie Raphael.
Artistic father-and-son Aris and Dale Bagtas are set to have a joint exhibition under Galerie du Soleil. The two have different styles (with Aris being a figurative painter and Dale favoring abstractions), but each has had both local and international awards under their belts.
Mark Belicario, under Primo Gallery, exhibits classically-inspired works of a sobering subject matter: “Evacuees” calls to mind the recent disasters that ravaged the country, while “Frontliners” pays homage to essential workers who put their life on the line in the wake of 2020’s pandemic.
The Rene Robles Museum makes its maiden offsite exhibition at the ManilART Lounge.
How to visit ManilART
For those unable to make a physical visit, ManilART’s online events and exhibitions can be found through its official website www.manilartfair.com. Anyone may opt to visit freely the 360-virtual walkthrough to see the actual fair set up and access exhibitors’ portals to catalogs, viewing rooms and online resources.
Onsite, the safety of guests is ManilART’s top priority. There will be two days for invitational VIP previews and three days for general admission, all with pre-registration, contactless entry, timed entrances and capped capacity in strict observance of current public health protocols. The art fair is monitored by Safepass and compliant with safety protocols approved by Safecity Taguig. Visitors will be asked to obtain their tickets online through Ticketbooth.ph and get a Safepass QR in advance.
For a detailed guide on how to visit and the relevant links, check out their page at www.manilartfair.com/visit.
Stay safe with ManilART2020 at the SMX Convention Center, Taguig
Everyone onsite at ManilART2020 will need to comply with the following safety guidelines:
- Wear your face mask and face shield at all times
- Allow for contactless temperature scanning at the entrance
- Make use of the foot baths and alcohol stations
- Maintain social distancing of 1.5 meters per person
- Move along the indicated one-way paths
- Observe and follow the onsite marshals who are tasked to assist with foot traffic.
ManilART ensures the place of arts and culture in national life through evolving with the times. Art practitioners, exhibitors, and enthusiasts are enjoined to safely and responsibly contribute to the cultural conversation. ManilART is on Facebook and Instagram. Visit us at www.manilartfair.com.