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Top 10 Most Successful Young Visual Artists in Manila
Good-bye starving artist? lists the country’s young big guns earning the big bucks in the international art scene.
By: Monica Barretto   |   Published on: Nov 26, 2010 - 8:00am

2. Geraldine Javier

Javier's oil-on-canvas, Ella Amo’ Apasionadamente y Fue Correspondida, set a record for the artist when it sold for HK$1,460,000

The artist: Film and photography make up this artist’s repertoire. Javier, who studied nursing before becoming a full-time artist, was trained under the influential Roberto Chabet at the University of the Philippines. Her pieces are oft described as enigmatic and sophisticated.

The big bucks: Ella Amo’ Apasionadamente y Fue Correspondida (For She Loved Fiercely, And She is Well Loved), a portrait of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo painted in oil-on-canvas, recently set a new auction record for the artist at HK$1,460,000--nearly 10 times more than the original estimate. The Absurdity of Being, which had a pre-sale estimate of $2,300 was sold 16 times more at $36,971 while her diptych Curating the Sky sold for $93,665.

The artist's portrait, photo by At Maculangan

Claim to fame: Sometimes described as dark, Javier’s work has captured the international audience with consistently sold-out shows. Since 2004, she has been exhibiting her work globally in Milan, Malaysia, Prague and Beijing.

Exhibits and awards: Javier has bagged top art awards including the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Award and the Ateneo Art Awards.


1. Ronald Ventura

Ventura's Mother's Mark, 2009

The artist: Striking and odd are two adjectives that come to mind when describing the work of this University of Santo Tomas fine arts graduate. Ventura’s masterpieces, often mistaken for the digital sort, make use of classic techniques done just by hand. The result? Strangely interesting artworks that can't help being original.

The big bucks: Venturas have been selling for five to six dollar digits. The painting Natural Lies recently fetched USD326,000--nine times its estimate–and set a new record for both the artist and the auction house. Uncalculated Flight, sold at SGD 24,000, while the acrylic and oil-on-canvas, Depth, raked in HKD137,500. Ventura is the top-selling Filipino artist of today.

Claim to fame: The international art world has embraced the art of Ronald Ventura as a fixture in top global auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s, where his works sell at skyrocketing prices. Ventura has also done exhibits worldwide, including Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, San Francisco and New York.

Exhibits and awards: The 37-year old artist has won more than 10 awards including the Ateneo Art Awards in 2005, The Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Award, Art Manila Newspaper’s Artist of the year in 2001, and Juror’s Choice Award for the Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards.


Photos by At Maculangan (Geraldine Javier), Lilen Uy (Annie Cabigting),,,,, and

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