Art in the Park Returns to Salcedo Park With a Fascinating Installation by Leeroy New

It was inspired by Philippine mythology.

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A rendering of Leeroy New's Mebuyan Vessel 
PHOTO BY GoFundMe/Mebuyan by Leeroy New @ Burning Man 2021

(SPOT.ph) After two online editions of Art in the Park—one in July 2020 and another in February 2021, the affordable art fair is finally returning to their homebase. Or at least part of it, as Leeroy New is set to install part of his large-scale art piece called Mebuyan Vessel in one corner of Jaime Velasquez Park in Makati City. You can see the Mebuyan Vessel Polyp for yourself during the run of Art in the Park 2021 Online: Special Edition from July 25 to August 1.

Also read: Another Art in the Park Is Happening in July

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Mebuyan Vessel is New's entry for this year's edition of Burning Man, which is an annual art festival at Black Rock Desert in Nevada U.S. But with quarantine restrictions in place, participating artists were allowed to set up their art installations in their respective countries. New decided to build his ambitious project both at Areté in Ateneo de Manila University and in La Union. It features large spheres with entryways and stairs, where visitors can actually go in and spend some time inside a pod. A fragment of it will be set up for Art in the Park, minus the interactive aspect for health and safety reasons, New clarified in a virtual press interview.

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Scale model of Leeroy New's Mebuyan Vessel for Burning Man 2021
PHOTO BY GoFundMe/Mebuyan by Leeroy New @ Burning Man 2021

The large-scale project reflects New's fascination towards Filipino mythology. Mebuyan Vessel, particularly, is his interpretation of Mebuyan—an underworld goddess from Bagobo mythology who is described as a beautiful pregnant woman with many breasts all over her body.

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"She's the goddess of death, but she also nourishes the dead spirits of children so they can continue their journey in the afterlife," New explained.

People can go inside the spheres, which references not only the goddesses' nurturing trait but also her physical appearance. "Each sphere will provide a different experience, they're [of] different sizes. Being inside the sphere is like being in an isolation pod, a womb if you will," the artist added.

Mebuyan Vessel Polyp is one of New's three works for Art in the Park. He's also presenting Iris, which is an online exhibit of mirror pieces available at the art event's website. The artist describes this as "a series of magic mirror sculptures conjured while in lockdown. Mirrors as portals, as windows to the soul and other worlds. Eyes with mascara melting the way reality dissolves."

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Finally, there's Art in the Park's first foray into augmented reality through an Instagram filter that takes after New's Aliens of Manila. You can virtually wear one of New's celebrated alien-like headpieces, originally made from colorful, upcycled plastic containers.

Art in the Park 2021 Online: Special Edition will also feature over 10,000 artworks from 62 galleries and four special exhibits. Aside from New, other featured artists include social realist Antipas Delotavo, who's presenting a series of paintings called Gridlock; Anna Bautista, who will tackle the concept of time, culture, and philosophy through Time Capsules; and Eugenia Alcaide’s brightly colored threadwork called Adrift. You can also visit Art in the Park's website at 8 p.m. through the duration of the fair to go behind the scenes of New's artistic practice and on July 31 at 10 a.m. for Robert Alejandro's special art workshop for kids.

Art in the Park 2021 Online: Special Edition runs from July 25 to August 1 at artinthpark.ph.

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