One of the things I look forward to each year is Art Fair Philippines. It’s a great distillation of the local art scene and I enjoy seeing what my favorite galleries and artists have been up to. It’s always an eye-opening experience because I get to expand my thinking and discover new trends, artists, and movements. I’m also not going to lie: another highlight of Art Fair is the intimate vernissage or private viewing, where I get to meet the artists, see friends, and take advantage of the free booze (lol).
This year’s Art Fair is going fully digital for the first time at the Metaverse, a collective virtual shared space and alternate reality. How do you access it? Easy. Just go to www.artfairphilippines.com from May 6 to 15, 2021. Entrance is absolutely free for everyone.
So what can you expect at the first-ever digital Art Fair Philippines? Here are things to look out for (no need to dress up, bring your own booze):
1. There will be 43 exhibitors this year
This year’s exhibitors will be from the Philippines and abroad. You can check out their online viewing rooms, which will include videos produced in collaboration with Globe Studios.
This year’s exhibitors include 1335Mabini, A3 Arndt Art Agency, Altro Mondo Gallery, Archivo 1984, Art Agenda S.E.A. (Singapore), Art Cube, Art Elaan, Art Porters Gallery (Singapore), Art Underground, Art Verite Gallery, art/n23, Artery Art Space, Avellana Art Gallery, bio|trans|forms, CANVAS, District Gallery, Gajah Gallery (Singapore), Galeria Mayoral (Spain), Galerie Roberto, Galerie Stephanie, Gallery Kogure (Japan), J Studio, J StudioHQ, Kaida Contemporary, Kobayashi Gallery (Japan), La Lanta Gallery (Thailand), León Gallery, Lotus Asian Art, Metro Gallery, Mono8 Gallery, Orange Project, Pinaglabanan Gallery, Primo Marella Gallery (Italy), Qube Gallery, Salcedo Private View, Secret Fresh, Shutterspace Studios, Silverlens, Tarzeer Pictures, The Crucible Gallery, Thomas Epperson Photographs, Yavuz Gallery (Singapore and Australia), and Ysobel Art Gallery.
2. Digital art and NFTs
For its first online edition, Art Fair Philippines 2021 will shine the spotlight on digital art.
Recently, Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs have been making headlines all over the world. Art Fair Philippines 2021 will take you from understanding the crypto basics to buying an NFT and meeting artists and gallerists that are embedded within the crypto art community.
Welcome to the Metaverse, The NFT 101 Showcase, presented by the Bank of the Philippine Islands, for the ArtFairPH/Projects section of the fair is co-curated with Tropical Futures Institute, a multi-disciplinary think tank and studio based in Cebu, Philippines, and Narra Art Gallery, a Filipino digital art gallery.
Art Fair Philippines will also debut digital artworks specially commissioned for ArtFairPH/Film. This section of the fair is developed in partnership with Daata, a digital platform that commissions original digital artworks by established and emerging artists, allowing viewers to stream or download high-quality digital artworks on any device. The ArtFairPH/Film section is presented by Globe Platinum.
Art Fair Philippines and Daata will showcase digital artworks by new media and contemporary artists Jeremy Couillard and Petra Cortright, and Keiken, a collaborative practice co-founded by artists Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori, and Isabel Ramos.
Rounding up this year’s digital art focus is a special presentation of the six winners of the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize.
As a strong supporter of the arts, Julius Baer recently launched this inaugural competition for Southeast Asian artists, with a focus on the digital image, recognizing it as a medium of the future.
Open to Southeast Asian artists from 18 to 40 years old, submissions were from November 5, 2020 to February 28, 2021. The prize rewards the top three winners in two categories: Still Image (e.g. digital photography) and Moving Image (e.g. video art), with a total of $60,000 in cash prizes.
This year, Art Fair Philippines also launches a new section, ArtFairPH/Residencies, an artist residency program project in partnership with Bleeding Heart Rum Corporation, the makers of Don Papa Rum.
This program is open to all Filipino artists across all disciplines. Five artists selected based on their submitted portfolios will be paired with art spaces and galleries from different parts of the Philippines including Manila Observatory in Quezon City, Linangan Art Residency in Alfonzo, Cavite, Emerging Islands in San Juan, La Union, The Orange Project in Bacolod, Negros Occidental, and Barrio Butanding in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
The resulting artists’ projects will be presented at Art Fair Philippines 2022.
4. Special exhibit for photography
Co-presented by the Swiss private bank Julius Baer, ArtFairPH/Photo has proved to be one of the more popular sections of the art fair.
For 2021, Paris-based Filipino photographer Ding Panganiban will bring to the fair his ambrotype collodion process of developing photographs taken with a vintage camera and printed on glass.
5. Learning at Art Fair Philippines with ArtFairPH/Talks, Open Studios, and online tours
In keeping with the fair’s thrust to widen the audience for the visuals arts and to continue to expand the appreciation of fair visitors for contemporary art, ArtFairPH/Talks features daily discussions presented in partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery, Museum Foundation of the Philippines, and the international publication Art Review.
Launched last year, the series of workshops dubbed Open Studios goes online with a selection of live demonstrations and recorded instructionals aimed to give fair visitors hands-on experiences in art-making.
Also in the pipeline are two virtual tours: a look at the singular collection of filmmaker and current Baguio resident Moira Lang, and a studio visit with acclaimed artist Alfredo Equillo.
6. 10 Days of Art
The 10 Days of Art initiative started in 2018 to create buzz for the art fair beyond the physical confines of its venue. Even as the fair pivots to a digital platform, an installation is planned for Ayala Tower One’s fountain area with live screenings of the selections of ArtFairPH/Film digital artwork.
This Art Fair 2021 story is in partnership with Art Fair Philippines. For more information, visit the website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. For more of my coverage, check out 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2013.