A Homecoming: Art Fair Philippines Has Returned to The Link for Its 2023 Edition
In celebration of its 10 years of expanding the Philippine audience for contemporary art, Art Fair Philippines came home to The Link for its 2023 edition which happened on February 17 to 19. After three years, artists, collectors, and enthusiasts have gathered at the carpark in Makati City for a multi-level art exhibition.
Designed by Andy Locsin of Leandro V. Locsin Partners, this year’s edition will feature a new biophilic design to give fairgoers a refreshed experience of the fair in an organically designed setting, enhancing the spirit of discovery and surprise while exploring the fair.
Art Fair Philippines 2023 was participated by 63 exhibitors from the Philippines and abroad.
The participating exhibitors from the Philippines are: 1335/Mabini, Anakbanwa Creative Residency Project, Art Cube, Art Elaan, Art for Space, Art Lounge Manila, Art Underground, Art Verité, Artery Art Space, Boston Art Gallery, CANVAS, Early Light, FIFTH WALL FEST, FotomotoPH, GALERIA PALOMA, Galerie Stephanie, Gravity Art Space, isTorya Studios, J Studio, Jes Aznar, Kaida Contemporary, KalawakanSpacetime, KANTINA, Kapitan Kulam, León Gallery, Lunang Mentoring Program, Mark Lewis Higgins, METRO Gallery, MONO8, Mugna Gallery + Foundation University DAFA, no space, Orange Project, Paint Bukog, Paseo Art Gallery, Pintô Art Museum, Qube Gallery, Secret Fresh Gallery, SILVERLENS, Sitting Room Studios, Sulyap Gallery by Tahanan Pottery, Super Duper Gallery, TARZEER PICTURES, The Crucible, Tom Epperson, TRIANGULUM, Tin-aw Art Projects, Village Art Gallery, White Walls Gallery, and Ysobel Art Gallery.
Joining the country’s leading galleries was a roster of foreign galleries, such as Art Agenda (Singapore and Jakarta), Artemis Art (Malaysia), Gallery Kogure (Japan), Kobayashi Gallery (Japan), Cayón (Spain), GALLERY SCENA (Japan), La Lanta Fine Art (Thailand), Nunu Fine Art (Taiwan), Gajah Gallery (Singapore), Vin Gallery (Vietnam), Yavuz Gallery (Singapore and Australia), and YOD Gallery (Japan).
The art fair also had a section that provided regional focus which was joined by several art groups from the three main island clusters of the Philippines. These exhibitors include no Space (Luzon), Orange Project (Visayas) and Panit Bukog (Mindanao).
This year’s art fair had a new section which focused on digital media, work that incorporates and engages with computer technology, animation, virtual or augmented reality, the metaverse, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
In this section, fairgoers witnessed the works of Filipino digital artists making waves in the global digital art sphere. These artists were New York-based Skye Nicolas who presented Frequencies of Nostalgia and Mark Inducil with his work called Homecoming. The special exhibits were curated by CryptoArtPH artists Bjorn Calleja and Jopet Arias.
Another highlight of the art event was ARTFAIRPH/PROJECTS which showcased work commissioned especially for the fair from artists who have made an impact both critically and commercially. Art Fair Philippines worked again with art consultant Norman Crisologo.
At the Link’s roof deck, special exhibits of Faye Abantao, Kiko Escora, Mark Andy Garcia, Raymond Guevarra, Pow Martinez, Yeo Kaa, and Peter Zimmerman were on display. Photographer Wawi Navarroza’s series of striking self-portraits, which also feature in a current survey of Southeast Asian photography at the National Gallery of Singapore, come together for As Wild As We Come for this year’s ArtFairPH/Photo section.
Other special projects for the fair were a special exhibition by Indonesian artist Yunizar, with YUNIZAR: New Perspectives, and works by German painter, sculptor and object artist Peter Zimmerman.
Pioneering female abstractionist, Rosario Bitanga, who, in her 80s still practices her art, also showcased both old and new work in a show Rosario Bitanga: Past, Present, Participant curated by art consultant Miguel Rosales.
Moreover, the fair paid tribute to two world personalities, Norma Liongoren (Liongoren Gallery) and Alberts Avellana (Avellana ArtGallery) who have recently passed. Both of them left their mark on the local art scene with the ground-breaking work of their galleries.
Artists who have completed artist residencies in different part of the countries also showcased their works.These include IC Jaucian for Manila Observatory, Nicolei Gupit for Linangan Art Residency, Aaron Kaiser Garcia for Emerging Islands, ESL Chen and Jonathan Baldonado for Orange Project, and James Clar for Butanding Barrio.
Apart from the displays of various art works, visitors of the event also had the chance to learn through a series of talks. ArtFairPH/Talks, created in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery and Museum Foundation of the Philippines, continued to offer learning opportunities for Art Fair Philippines visitors with a variety of lectures, panel discussions, and artists talks.
ArtFair/Film also continued on to the 2023 edition of the art fair. The Ateneo Art Gallery curated this year’s program with two evenings of compelling selections.
In Alternative Cinema : History, Theory and Practice, renowned filmmaker and film historian Nick Deocampo presented an overview of the development of alternative cinema in the Philippines. The second night of screenings featured a selection of lumbung films, featured for DOCUMENTA 15 in Kassel, Germany. The lineup for the second film evening was co-organized with Resbak and Lost Frames.
The fair is complemented with the 10 Days of Art initiative, running from February 10 to 19. This series of events around the Makati Central Business District with participation by galleries, museums, bars, restaurants, and retail establishments celebrated art beyond the venue of the fair.
Photos by Ed Simon ok Kliq and Dianne Nicole Fernando of BluPrint