One of the things I look forward to each year is Art Fair Philippines, the country’s largest gathering of artists and galleries in the unconventional space that is The Link carpark in Ayala Center, Makati City. I’ve been to all runs since it started in 2013 so it’s exciting to see how the fair has grown to become the cultural force that it is today. The organizers up the ante each year and 2018 is shaping up to be its biggest year yet.
Art Fair Philippines 2018 will be held from March 1 to 4. Here are 10 things to watch out for this year:
1. Art Fair Philippines will take on a bigger space!
Last year’s run of Art Fair Philippines was unusually cramped and it was because the fair broke its record with more than 40,000 guests! To accommodate the growing interest in art, the fair will convert all the available space of The Link carpark. To see how big it has grown: during its first run in 2013, Art Fair Philippines featured 24 galleries across a 2,780 sq. m. space and had 6,000 visitors. Last year, the fair featured 46 galleries across a 7,848.08 sq. m. space for 40,000 guests. This year, the fair will use 13,017.70 sq. m.
2. There will be 51 galleries this year
That’s twice as many galleries as its first year! You can expect some of the Philippines’ top galleries including Archivo 1984, Art Underground, Artinformal, Avellana Art Gallery, blanc, Finale Art File, Galleria Duemila, MO_Space, Pinto Art Museum, Secret Fresh, Silverlens, Vinyl on Vinyl, West Gallery, and many more. There will also be 15 foreign galleries. This is exciting because last year, there were works by Takashi Murakami, Nobuyoshi Araki, Yayoi Kusama, Man Ray, and Cecil Beaton.
3. There’s a timed entry
To avoid the long lines that snaked around The Link last year (it almost reached Shangri-La Hotel around dinnertime on Saturday), Art Fair will be implementing timed entries this year. The entry periods will be 10:30AM to 1:30PM, 2PM to 5PM, and 5:30PM to 9:00PM. Don’t worry because you can leave anytime you want!
To make the wait more comfortable, the entry will be at the building ramp and the third floor will be transformed into the designated waiting area.
4. You can now buy tickets online!
Everything is online these days and you can now buy tickets to Art Fair online as long as you do it up to 24 hours before the chosen date of entry.
5. There will be a focus on photography with ArtFairPH/Photo
Photography has always been a recurring feature in every run of Art Fair Philippines but its 2018 run will train its focus on the field, with a dedicated section presented by the Swiss private bank Julius Baer. Neal Oshima, one of the Philippines’ top photographers, will be presenting two exhibits and they are not to be missed. For Kin, he will be showing new works featuring local tribes and indigenous traditions. He will also work with curator Angel Velasco Shaw for Provocations, which will showcase the works of emerging and established documentary photographers.
1335 Mabini will collaborate with Art Fair to exhibit the photography of Eduardo Masferre, a Filipino-Catalan photographer who took photos of the indigenous people of the Cordillera Mountains from 1934 to 1956. Julius Baer will also show works by contemporary Swiss artists.
6. The commissioned works for ArtFairPH/Projects will be well-curated
Each year, Art Fair Philippines commissions works from emerging and established artists. This year, the fair will feature pieces from filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik, Cordillera-based artist Leonard Aguinaldo, conceptual artists Nilo Ilarde, Lyra Garcellano, and Alvin Zafra, and a group of social-realist artists: Pablo Baen Santos, Antipas Delovato, and Renato Habulan.
7. There will be talks featuring artists, curators, and collectors
For this year’s ArtFairPH/Talks, there will be panels featuring well-known personalities in art, such as curators from the TATE Modern in London, the Mori Art Museum in Japan, and the National Gallery of Art in Singapore, visual artist Yee I-Lann, and collectors Kim Atienza, Prof. Ambeth Ocampo, and more.
To see the complete list of talks, check out the schedule here.
8. There are tours to partner museums!
To enhance your experience with Philippine art, you can go on a guided tour of Art Fair Philippines or to partner museums like the National Museum, the Jorge B. Vargas Museum, the Lopez Memorial Museum, Ayala Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and more.
9. There will be public art around Makati
To make art less intimidating, Art Fair Philippines is continuing its tradition of setting up public art around the city. This year, the fair commissioned Martha Atienza to create a stunning hour-long video called Our Islands 11°16’58.4_N 123°45’07.0_E, which will feature an underwater scene. This will be screened at the Tower One and Exchange Plaza.
Leeroy New will return with a bamboo and rattan installation called Oroborus, which will be exhibited at the Ayala Center Walkway. Lastly, Reg Yuson will showcase Conditions of Space, a steel sculpture with a rust patina at the Greenbelt 5 Fashion Walk.
10. Respect the art!
Because of the expanding number of visitors, Art Fair Philippines will launch ArtFairPH/Etiquette, which will be posted in designated areas in The Link. Etiquette will feature tips on food, photography, bags, and general behavior to maximize the fair experience.
Photos from Art Fair Philippines