10 Artists to Watch at Art Fair Philippines 2017
Keep these names in mind.
(SPOT.ph) When we were told that Art Fair Philippines 2017 would be "bigger, better, and bolder," we knew they weren't kidding. The lineup of artists, all respected in their field, have either amped up their game and explored new possibilities in their craft or delved into an entirely different medium for thought-provoking pieces.
We round up the personalities that you should watch for during your visit.
Sculptor Agnes Arellano is best known for her surrealist and expressionist creations in plaster, bronze, and cold-cast marbles. She often explores the voluptuous female form in her artworks and infuses them with themes of spirituality and mythology. For her featured work for Art Fair Philippines 2017, she reincarnates a sculpture from a past exhibit—the Flying Dakini, which takes after the Bogobo goddess Mebuyan.
Thirty-two-year-old Dex Fernandez is the artist behind Garapata Man, a round and multi-legged creature that's reminiscent of the small arachnid also known as a tick. Creatively executed as stickers, graffiti, and murals, this character has become a well-known urban character, conquering the streets of Metro Manila, the U.S., Taiwan, and other countries he has visited for residency grants and solo exhibits. Fresh from Singapore Biennale, he presents for Art Fair Philippines 2017 a video project exploring the curious interaction of strangers and artists that come together during art events.
Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, Mark Justiniani
At the height of chaos and social turmoil post-People Power Revolution, then young artists Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, and Mark Justiniani found themselves often collaborating on politically-charged artworks. They started as members of Artista ng Bayan (a.k.a. ABAY), then as part of the 16-artist collective Salingpusa which is known for creating large murals, and then as members of their own group Sanggawa along with Federico Sievert and Joy Mallari. For this year's Art Fair Philippines, they reunite after two decades in a mural project initiated by Center for Arts, New Venture, and Sustainable Development.
Jose Tence Ruiz (a.k.a. Bogie) represented the Philippines in the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2015, our country's comeback since we last joined more than five decades ago. His most impressive piece, which of course went all the way to Italy, is a large-scale installation titled Shoal, inspired by the Sierra Madre vessel parked at the West Philippine Sea.
Maria Jeona Zoleta
During the press launch of Art Fair Philippines on January 18, co-founder Lisa Ongpin-Periquet described Maria Jeona Zoleta's works as fun, interesting, and colorful. Colorful, however, may be an understatement because this interdisciplinary artist designs her installation pieces with glitter, neon colors, and even toys. But don't be fooled by the rainbows and unicorns because her provocative works make serious commentaries on information overload, sexuality, and post-feminism.
Mark Valenzuala, a recipient of CCP's Thirteen Artists Award in 2015, often combines ceramic installations and paintings. Recurring in his works are themes of displacement and confinement, inspired by his rather nomadic life. In his college years, he left his hometown in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur to attend Silliman University in Dumaguete. He now lives in Adelaide, Australia, but always shuffles to and from the Philippines for exhibits.
Patricia Perez Eustaquio
Patricia Perez Eustaquio, another artist whose works are featured in the ongoing Singapore Biennale, makes sculptures from everyday materials like lace, felt, cardboard, silk, and yarn. Her works often explore the ideas of memory, decay, and perception housed in these common objects. For Art Fair Philippines 2017, she focuses on textile arts and the history of tapestry in trade.
When the name WSK (pronounced "wasak") came up onscreen during the presentation of Art Fair Philippines' featured artists, Ongpin-Periquet quipped, "I'm not sure what they're going to do." But this pioneering sound art group will definitely surprise and amaze us come February 16.
All photos courtesy of Art Fair Philippines.
Art Fair Philippines 2017 is from February 16 to 19, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at The Link, Parkway Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City. Tickets are at P250. For more information, visit Art Fair Philippines' website.