This New Art Gallery Near Manila Is Built in a Farm
You can find it in Tanauan, Batangas.
(SPOT.ph) Almost all types of businesses struggled through months of closure amid the pandemic. Art galleries in Metro Manila are no different. Some of them innovated and came up with virtual exhibits, while others took extra measures to still adhere to minimum health protocols by implementing by-appointment visits. For Eskinita Art Gallery in Makati City, it was their chance to finally achieve the dream of opening an art hub outside the Metro: Eskinita Art Farm in Barangay Janopol Occidental, Tanauan, Batangas. On September 27, the art hub opened with its inaugural exhibit Cherished Implications by Jose Tence Ruiz and Dengcoy Miel.
Eskinita Art Farm was conceived two years after owner and artist Alfredo Esquillo opened Eskinita Art Gallery in 2017 at Makati Central Square. "I thought that having a rented space wouldn't be enough if we wanted to survive for a long time. And a small space inside a mall wouldn't be enough for our growing programs," he said in an online exchange with SPOT.ph.
It was also practical to look for a property outside Metro Manila, "where real estate is much more affordable." In 2019, Esquillo acquired a farm lot, which already had three structures. "One of these structures happened to be an ancestral house, which we ideally renovated to be the centerpiece of the overall gallery compound within an actual farm. The other is an unfinished house, which I converted to be my own studio. And the last is a three-storey house, which will be the main gallery. It will have a good view of the Taal Lake," he explained.
With all the space, Eskinita Art Farm can accommodate up to four shows every six weeks: two at the ancestral-house gallery and two more at the main gallery as soon as it's finished. It can also be the venue of their Tuklas Program, an art residency program that was created in collaboration with Esquillo's mentor Renato Habulan. Other things in the pipeline are art workshops facilitated by artist residents for the students in Tanauan, farming programs integrated in Eskinita Art Farm's activities, livelihood programs, and a local art festival—of course, when we don't have to worry anymore about the coronavirus.
"All of these, I thought, are things we cannot do in a cube space in Metro Manila. I think it's high time that we develop the art scene in the peripheries. We hope we can help," Esquillo finally said. With all of these underway, there's no doubt that Eskinita Art Farm can help our local art scene to still thrive despite the major changes in how we consume art.
Eskinita Art Farm is in 353 and 355 Purok 5, Barangay Janopol Occidental, Tanauan, Batangas. The ongoing exhibition, Awakenings, runs until December 20. It is open from Sunday to Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Viewing is strictly by appointment through their Facebook page or 0917-8850730.
Eskinita Art Gallery has also relocated at 59C Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. The ongoing exhibition, Noventa, runs until January 5. It is open from Monday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.