10 Art Exhibits to See This May

From a shocking "dead whale" to a glimpse of the infamous Manila Carnival.

(SPOT.ph) We've all witnessed the shift that the local art scene has undergone in recent years, as it has consistently gathered momentum and attracted a more mainstream audience. The question now: How do you keep that momentum going? By continuing to go out there to appreciate art, for one thing. 

Here are the exhibits worth seeing this May:

The Cry of the Dead Whale

PHOTO BY Biboy Royong

An estimated 14 billion pounds of trash—most of it plastic—is dumped in the world's oceans every year, killing off 100,000 marine creatures and over a million sea birds. The Philippines ranks third on the list of countries responsible for this waste. In an effort to urge more people to talk about what can be done regarding plastic pollution, the Cultural Center of the Philippines invited Biboy Royong—famous for the 2017 art installation of a 50-foot "dead whale" along the shores of Naic—to do a repetition of the project along Roxas Boulevard. The Cry of the Dead Whale, as it is called, shows a "dead baby whale" inside the belly of a "dead whale" and hopes to start a conversation on how future generations can preserve our natural wonders. 

Runs until May 26 at Cultural Center of the Philippines' front lawn, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. For more information, visit CCP’s website. 

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Self-portrait as Mirror/Mirror as Self-portrait

The genre of self-portraiture brought forth a movement that asserted the need of artists to recognize their own personas and identities and understand the importance of such individuality. Guided by Andy Warhol’s words: "Self-images have more to do with the way they think than their objective-images do," the Self-Portrait as Mirror/Mirror as Self-Portrait exhibition gathers artists to examine the notion of the practice as they look in the mirrors (figurative or otherwise) that they use in the process.


Runs until June 15 at ArtInformal Greenhills, 277 Connecticut Street, Mandaluyong City. For more information, visit ArtInformal’s website. 

Remarkable Imperfections

Abstractionist Kenneth Montegrande sketches a picture that is impermanent and incomplete by letting acrylic paint drip on canvas rather than defining a subject in his works. The goal, he said in a press statement, is to find beauty in things that are flawed by appreciating the ingenuous integrity of natural imperfection. 


Runs until May 20 at Altro Mondo Creative Space, 1159 Don Chino Roces Avenue, San Antonio Village, Makati City. For more information, visit Altro Mondo’s website. 

A Mubble in Pebble

"Bound" (2008) by Yasmin Sison

Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists awardee Yasmin Sison turns to playfulness for inspiration in A Mubble in Pebble exhibition. Known for her suite of portrait works capturing the innocence, emotions, as well as the physical and psychological transitions that children go through, Sison paints a colorful tapestry that reminds us to cherish our childlike sense of wonder—one that’s free and imaginative. 


Runs until May 26 at MO_Space Gallery, 3/F MOs Design, B2 Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. For more information, follow MO_Space on Facebook. 

Familiar Semblance

Nostalgia is a complex emotion triggered by the simplest things: a familiar place, an old song that suddenly plays on the radio, or a particular scent. In Familiar Semblance, artists Aka Chan, Chalk Zaldivar, Ernest Concepcion, Francis Bejar, Jay Torres, Manuel Sintos, Nile Pobadora, and Toym Imao explore the familiarity of an image, questioning what triggers memory and why people pause to savor this momentary rush of emotion until it fades.


Runs until May 20 at Altro Mondo Creative Space, 1159 Don Chino Roces Avenue, San Antonio Village, Makati City. For more information, visit Altro Mondo’s website. 

The Probability: neither yes nor no 

Japan-based visual artist Kanade Yagi brings the spotlight to the spirituality of Filipinos in The Probability: neither yes nor no. Using traditional healing techniques as muse for the exhibition, such as the divination methods of pagtatawas and tadja, Yagi presents a mixed-media installation that aims to discuss the ways that we engage in life, with the duality of yes or no. 


Runs until July 14 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. For more information, visit CCP’s website.

Primary Drives

In the otherwise bare halls of Silverlens Gallery, objects designated as columns stand alongside pieces of art by Lou Lim, Issay Rodriguez, Gary-Ross Pastrana and Maria Taniguchi. More than contextualizing these artists' works, these columns show the possibility of an exhibition space as a discursive entity alongside its usual function as a gallery displaying artists’ works. 


Runs until May 25 at Silverlens, 2263 Don Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City. For more information, visit Silverlens’ website. 

The Imao Obra Typeface

Ayala Museum unveils a newly designed typeface inspired by the life and works of National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao, a patron of Muslim art and culture, and the first Moro to receive the recognition. The exhibit also features various fashion pieces and everyday objects inspired by the Imao letterforms crafted by local artists. 


Runs until May 30 at Ayala Museum, Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street, Makati City. For more information, visit Ayala Museum’s website. 

PRINT(ed): The AAG Print Collection Revisited

PRINT(ed), curated by Pandy Aviado, focuses on the history of printmaking and its power as a medium. The exhibit is divided into sections showing the different methods, from basic printmaking to experimental and hybrid techniques. It also features pieces from the Ateneo Art Gallery’s Print Collection, accumulated through the contribution of its founder Fernando Zobel and other leading printmakers. 


Runs until September 15 at Ateneo Art Gallery, Areté, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. For more information, visit Ateneo Art Gallery’s website. 

Fairest of the Fair

Helmed by no less than the renowned art critic and curator Inti Guerrero, Bellas Artes’s Fairest of the Fair looks back at widely circulated photographs of beauty pageants and Carnival Queens at the Manila Carnival. Organized by the American colonial administration from 1908 to 1939 to celebrate U.S. and Philippine commercial relations, it ultimately shaped developing consumerism influenced by capitalism in the country. On the other hand, the Queens of Carnival shows how Filipinos romanticize pageantry despite its potential in promoting class and gender struggles, as well as racial inequalities. In this exhibition, the participating artists find inspiration from events surrounding the competition.


Runs until July 27 at Bellas Artes Outpost, Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. For more information, visit Bellas Artes Outpost's website.

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