A decade marker: Art Fair Philippines features memory and immersion


THE VOYAGE of remembering is already an art on its own. Once put into art, the synapses of a person’s horrors and triumphs may reinforce and influence advocacies, awareness and ideologies.

The notion is what this year’s Art Fair Philippines conveyed, especially as it returned in-person to its home at The Link in Makati.

Attendees were treated with more than 60 exhibitors who displayed their respective artworks that connect everyone to the inner core and natural world. The keen composition of tranquility and burning passions oddly restructured a sense of peace to anyone who stared at the artworks.

Celebrating its 10th year of unveiling Philippine contemporary art, the exhibit, from its past year’s hybrid experience, further embraced the immersive and the interactive after years of pandemic restrictions.

The Flame highlights five contemporary artists with their empowering works, stirred with a touch of nostalgia.

Yeo Kaa

Untitled piece by Yeo Kaa (Photo by Samantha Z. Argonza/ THE FLAME)

Among this year’s featured artists was multimedia-maven Yeo Kaa, whose works are known for incorporating the paradox of her surging pains with her candy-colored palette caricatures.

She dedicated her exhibition to empowering the people to hone and keep their strength amid psychological trudges. Completed in 2021, these two untitled sculptures—made from fiberglass reinforced resin—communicated the need of conscious actions in the current generations.

The “metaphorical bombs” hanging on the necks of the dolls symbolized the destructive behaviors of today’s people that could be inflicted on future generations. It also evoked this keen sense of self-awareness before moving forward on a certain societal growth.

The Maiden by AR Manalo

“The Maiden” by AR Manalo (Photo by Samantha Z. Argonza/ THE FLAME)

Self-taught artist AR Manalo braved the journey of confidence in his exhibition, “Wear Who You Are.”

The artwork titled “The Maiden,” harnessed the usage of charcoal and print scenarios on acid-free paper. A careful and detailed look on the artwork would show an image of a lady patched with scenes of her probable experiences in a solid transparent dress, mounted on a custom-made wood ironing board.

It suggested that amid the creases that individuals go through, ironing them will not be the best option, as one must wear them with pride. Progress in one’s individuality is always possible no matter what fabrics of past are woven in their identity.

To Carry Life, To Carry Rights by Anna Bautista 

“To Carry Life, To Carry Rights” by Anna Bautista (Photo by Samantha Z. Argonza/ THE FLAME)

If one wants to redefine his armor suits without stripping the meaning of strength, he can follow visual artist Anna Bautista’s take by highlighting the Philippine national dress terno through her acrylic on canvas painting titled “To Carry Life, To Carry Rights” (2022).

Her exhibition called “Flaws in our Flowers” expressed the struggles with misinformation and manipulation. It highly embossed reproductive health rights.

The pollination was equated with the rights that women are fighting for. These rights are not exempted from the threats of deception, like sexual exploitation that stem from the abuse of power or position. Because of abuses and lack of access to their rights, they have become more susceptible to states of vulnerability.

The Tenants by Kirby Roxas 

“The Tenants” by Kirby Roxas (Photo by Samantha Z. Argonza/ THE FLAME)

The saying “when a window closes, another one opens” seems to be a right description for Kirby Roxas’ acrylic and wood on canvas artwork “The Tenants.” It unlocked challenging perceptions just by glancing at the paneled blinds of people’s lives in the art piece.

The stories it encapsulated are still based on one’s chosen perspective. From solitary melancholies to crowded strifes, a streak of hope and life can be shown in the background of greens and blues.

Lupang Hinirang by Carlo Tanseco

“Lupang Hinirang” by Carlo Tanseco (Photo by Samantha Z. Argonza/ THE FLAME)

The Philippines’ rich history drew interest recently because of the Spanish colonial period series “Maria Clara at Ibarra.”

Carlo Tanseco’s art work “Lupang Hinirang” could be a good addition in going back to the past.

Tanseco’s Rizal Matchbook series, which was created last year with acrylic on box canvas, successfully justified the essence of national pride. It also illuminated the blaze of choosing now as the time to ignite the love for the Philippines. Each matchbox stored a significant historic event, engraved with lyrics from the national anthem.

Being able to remember is indeed a strength. The COVID-19 pandemic may have placed us in various restraints and changes but being able to remember the past and learn from it is a blessing none could take away.

Founded in 2013, Art Fair Philippines has been featuring contemporary artworks  from various artists across the globe. Since 2021, Art Fair Philippines is being introduced through various platforms like crypto art through non-fungible tokens, wherein artists have the chance to sell their artworks through cryptocurrencies.

This year’s Art Fair Philippines opened to public from Feb. 17 to 19. F

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