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Conceptual art takes center stage in ManilArt 2011

Now on its third year, the Philippine International Art Fair may be smaller than previous years, but it will be bigger in the sense that visitors can look forward to a more diverse and vibrant art exposition. Each of the ManilArt 2011 exhibitors will be presenting a conceptualized art exhibit, in contrast to previous years when galleries would simply display works of artists they represent, according to the organizers.

This year's fair runs from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27 at the NBC Tent in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. It's a smaller space compared to the SMX Convention Center, where last year's exhibit was held. As a result, there will only be 24 exhibitors, less than half of last year's participants. ManilArt 2011 director Delan Lopez Robillos says viewers will witness a groundbreaking launch during gala night, with the simultaneous opening of exhibits from all the participating art galleries. "It's like attending 24 exhibit openings at once. ManilArt is the country's largest art fair, and continues to be the premiere venue for art galleries, showing the very best of Philippine visual arts," he said at the ManilArt 2011 press conference on Tuesday. This year's fair features more than 300 represented artists and hundreds of artworks on display. Participating galleries were required to propose unique concepts for their exhibitions. "Before, we would just let the exhibitors hang anything they wanted. For this year we decided to streamline it and we required them to have a concept per booth, says ManilArt 2011 project coordinator Heidi Franco. "So when you go to the opening, it's actually an opening of 24 art galleries in one night. I think this is very convenient and awesome. It's a rare moment where you get all the best galleries in Manila in one place," says Franco. "It would be more competitive and it can't just be a mirror representation of what your store is. Each gallery is supposed to curate their artworks in such a way that it tells a story," says Galerie Joaquin marketing manager Carla de Jesus. "One gallery's theme is chismis, so you'd be interested to see what kind of art revolves around that," de Jesus adds.
ManilArt2011 exhibitors
Art Circle Art Informal Art Verite Artes Orientes Blanc Art Space Blue Line Gallery Boston Gallery Fonale Art File Galerie Francesca Galerie Joaquin Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill Galleria Duemila Galleria Quattrocento Gallery Big Leon Gallery Gallery Nine Looking for Juan Manila Contemporary Pablo Gallery Paseo Gallery Renaissance Art Gallery Silverlens Village Art Gallery West Gallery
Live sessions Apart from the exhibits, ManilArt 2011 also features artists' talks, a lecture series, storybook reading activities, live sketching sessions, and special activities celebrating the University of Santo Tomas' Quadricentennial year, and National Hero Jose Rizal's 150th birth anniversary. On August 27, the University of Santo Tomas will host several Thomasian performances in celebration of its 400th anniversary. A ceremony will honor outstanding Thomasian visual artists. In commemoration of National Hero José Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary, award-winning poet, fictionist, playwright, and essayist Vim Nadera will give a talk entitled “Visuals on Rizal Today." The lecture series also features Critical Theory and Cultural Studies professor Oscar V. Campomanes on "Semiotics in Visual Art," and Atty. Gigo Alampay's "How We Turn Paintings into Bicycles: Lessons in Art, Law, and the Internet." Alampay is the executive director of the Philippine art, culture and environment organization CANVAS. ManilArt 2011 is also kid-friendly. In a storybook reading hour, former preschool teacher and now executive director of RepubLikha Carisse Escueta will read “The Rocking Horse," which features paintings by Elmer Borlongan. Radio and TV personalities Gang Badoy of Rock Ed Philippines and Ramon Bautista have also been invited to read stories for young readers. Budding artists can attend a lecture on basic drawing for kids, to be given by Artists in Residence, Inc. (AIR) founders Architect Jojo Ballo, Cathy Lasam, and Jill Arwen Posadas. Leading up to the fair, a series of live sketching sessions will run every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm at Mercato Centrale in Bonifacio Global City. Market-goers will see how different artists perceive the same subject as they create their work from scratch. Among the featured artists are NCCA-National Committee on Visual Arts Head Nemiranda and artists Al Perez, Jun Martinez, Cee Cadid, and Raul Isidro.
NCCA-National Committee on Visual Arts Head Nemiranda sketches at Mercato Centrale’s pre-ManilArt activity. Photo from ManilArt
Gala night In 2009, Onib Olmedo's jeepney painting was the banner piece for ManilArt's first run. Last year, it was Andres Barioquinto's "Crystal Gazer." This year's banner piece is Elmer Borlongan's "Batang EDSA," which will be interpreted into modern dance by contemporary-dance maven and Dance Forum founder Myra Beltran during the gala night. RJ Ledesma will host the program, which includes a fusion of indigenous and modern music by Banda Malaya, and numbers by the award-winning Fatima University Chorale. - YA, GMA News ManilArt 2011 is presented by the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization (Bago) and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA). For details, call 5316231 or 0917-8511333, or e-mail Visit