SM Aura Blooms with Art in Aura, an Initiative with Local Artists

One of my favorite malls is SM Aura. It’s less crowded, the food choices are unique, and the shopping choices are elevated. There’s always something to check out at Aura, and it’s such a nice break from the rest of Bonifacio Global City. I love how walkable BGC is, but at the end of the day, I just want to be in a relaxing and airconditioned place. Now, there’s one more reason for me to visit Aura because they just launched Art in Aura!

Art in Aura is an initiative to promote local art, in partnership with KAPWA Studio. For its initial run, SM Aura invited artists Anina Rubio, Mercedes Olondriz, Archie Oclos, and Dee Jae Pa’este to create murals at the Grand Staircase. The mall also invited Philipp Badon to exhibit his works at the Atrium, greeting mallgoers as they enter Aura.

This isn’t the first time Aura has promoted local art. In the past, Jefre Manuel had a public art installation of four animals unique to the Philippines, followed by Olivia d’Aboville’s haunting Giant Dandelions, made of recycled water bottles and lit by LED lights. There was also Leeroy New‘s Astreopora, a light and sound show featuring otherworldly installations. In Aura Tower, there’s a piece by noted sculptor Eduardo Castrillo called Colossal Growth.

SM Aura continues its advocacy of making art more accessible by taking it out of the gallery and bringing it in urban spaces. Their lineup for Art in Aura’s first initiative is quite interesting:

Anina Rubio’s works are called Through the Cracks, and showcases common household weeds to represent Filipino traits like resiliency and adaptability. Her works show that even the most mundane things can be beautiful when viewed through the lens of an artist. Her works are my favorite.

Archie Onclos pays homage to our National Treasures, the last mambabatok (tattoo artist) Whang-od and T’boli weaving master Lang Dulay. Here’s a little trivia: Whang-od was painted one floor higher than Dulay because the former is from the northern province of Kalinga while the latter is from the southern province of South Cotabato. According to the artist, locals from the regions approached him during his live art session to thank him for recognizing their own.

Lastly, Mercedes Olondriz celebrated flowers and plants in Flaura, an attempt to bring something organic into the urban landscape. I love her work because apart from adding color to the Grand Staircase, she breathes life into the space.

At the Atrium, Badon’s exhibit stands proudly near the mall’s entrance to showcase the talent of Filipino artists. His works are a collection of striking images culled from his experience as an art student, art teacher, advertising artist, gallery curator, and manager.

The works of Rubio, Onclos, and Olondriz are at the Grand Staircase on a somewhat permanent basis, while Badon’s exhibit is at the Atrium until May 31. Pa’este’s mural is located at the Courtyard.

Parallel to Art in Aura is Weekends at the Courtyard, a weekend fair with live music featuring indie performers and unique small and medium enterprises. I had a great time there!

Follow @smaurapremier and @artinaura on Instagram for more updates on the latest collaborations, featured artists, and events.


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