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Art Fair Philippines: 5 affecting artworks on view

Art Fair Philippines 2023 has commenced!

With so much to see, we listed some of the most Instagram-worthy art, as well as some of the most affecting piece on view at the fair.

1. Faye Abantao's super nakakaaliw lifesize door art installations

On the roof deck at The Link, where the ArtFairPH/Projects and ArtFairPH/Photo Special Exhibits are located, souls in search of wonder can look for artist Faye Abantao's lifesize door art installations.

There are six installations in all and turn the doorknob to any one of them and you'll find yourself facing the evocative photo-based art inside.

Each door leads to a different artwork, with the entire installation bound to leave you wonderstruck in a set piece titled, "Don't Forget to Remember."

According to Abantao, the general theme of her project is memory. "Each particular door has something that would remind me or the audiences of a particular memory," she said.

"The images here are faceless because it could also be your memory growing up or someone else’s memory so each door would remind you of a particular feeling or a particular memory," she shared.

For Faye, a photograph is "a form of a time capsule ’cause the thing with the photographs, you preserve those times, and you would also be able to revisit them any time. It’s a bit sad, you know, in this generation ’cause we have na our phones, we have na our cameras so it’s not printed na anymore. I think before, it was very essential."

For instance, her mom would send her dad photos of them growing up to mark the milestones since her dad was usually away, working as a seaman. It's also part of the reason why Faye had so many photographs in her possession.

Turning it into a family affair of sorts, another piece includes photos and letters of her grandparents. She said they would write each other letters because her lolo was based in the United States and her lola was here in the Philippines.

2. Yeo Kaa's empowering, inspirational, and fun interactive art 

Yeo Kaa, who was an artwork herself, dressed in an eye-catching outfit during Thursday's vernissage, calls her project, "This Exhibition is About Strength," also located at the roof deck of The Link.

But from Yeo's perspective, things didn't always looked so bright.

"Sa mahabang panahon, hindi talaga ako masaya sa buhay ko," she shared, saying that was partly because "wala ako na-achieve. Tapos walang nangyari sa buhay ko." There was also stress and frustration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Ngayon lang pandemic, umayos talaga ako so, nagpalit ako ng surroundings ko. Nagpalit ako ng environment ko. Tapos, umayos talaga ako," she said.

According to Yeo, part of what changed her mindset for the better was talking to her neighbor's kids. "Mag-i-iba 'yung perspective mo," she said.

In 2022, after the worst of the pandemic, she traveled to Japan and visited a botanical garden, where she noticed the gorgeous flowers.

"Maganda pala siya, maganda pala mga bulaklak kapag maayos pala 'yung pakiramdam mo at kapag okay ka pala. Sa mahabang panahon, nagtataka ako kung bakit 'yung mga tao nagagandahan sa mga bulaklak," she said, adding it used to annoy her how people saw the beauty in flowers.

"Nung naging maayos ako, nakita ko totoo nga pala, maganda pala siya. Tapos, sobrang natutuwa ako na buhay pa ako ngayon," Yeo Kaa said. 

Among her uplifting art pieces at the fair form a morse code that reads, "You are strong, really strong. I'm glad you are still here."

Her exhibit also includes two larger-than-life, Instagram-worthy art pieces on which fair-goers can spray paint.

She explained, "Ikaw bilang tao , parang 'yung limit mo at tsaka 'yung willing ka ibigay at minsan 'di ba kahit — pag sobra-sobra na, minsan nakaka-break na siya. 'Yun, ganun lang, kaya siya kinukulayan kasi 'di ba 'yung mga kinukuha natin sa bawat tao na kakasama natin, dumadagdag siya sa pagkatao natin. Minsan nasisira tayo or 'yung ganun."

For anyone going through a difficult time, she advised, "Lagi ko sinasabi sa sarili ko na, 'Lilipas 'to. Lilipas at lilipas din 'to. Kung hindi ngayon, kung hindi okay ngayon, baka bukas, iba nanaman,' so laging ganun. Tapos hanggang sa umabot ako ngayon na iba na masaya na oo nga noh, lilipas talaga siya. 'Di siya nawawala pero alam mo 'yun, kahit papano, namamanage mo na siya."

As part of ArtFairPH/Talks event, Yeo will also be speaking at a panel together with Kiko Escora and Pow Martinez, on Saturday, February 18, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Talks Tent on the roof deck at The Link.

If you're interested in attending the talks, they suggest to register on the website.

3. Fernando Zóbel's awe-inspring art

Makati-based León Gallery mounted the "Joya and Zobel: The Internationalists" exhibit, which showcases the works by the late National Artist for the Visual Arts Jose Joya and renowned artist Fernando Zóbel, who helped elevate modern art in the Philippines.


Photo: Kimberly Tsao/GMA Integrated News
Photo: Kimberly Tsao/GMA Integrated News

Meanwhile, Cayón Gallery has on view several artworks of Zóbel, which are minimalistic yet awe-inspiring.

Fans can find the impressive artworks at the 6/F at The Link.

4. Distort Monsters that's sure-to-be popular with the selfie-loving crowd

In an explosion of color and vibrancy, Filipino visual artist Distort Monsters transforms monsters "into caring creatures that become symbols of inclusivity and togetherness" in his eye-popping work at Art Fair Philippines.

In partnership with Globe Platinum, they "inspire everyone to let their innermost thoughts and emotions give birth to the most beautiful colors, characters, and creations that can shape a better world."

Photo: Kimberly Tsao/GMA Integrated News
Photo: Kimberly Tsao/GMA Integrated News

The artwork, situated on the 6/F at The Link, is perfect for picture-taking galore for an enviable Instagram feed.

5. Haunting and intricate, stop-in-your-tracks art by Dino Gabito and Pancho Francisco

METRO Gallery's "Of Shrouds and Clouds" features the works of the gallery's homegrown artists, Dino Gabito and Pancho Francisco, who both utilize unique visual styles and materials.

Gabito created the haunting yet striking monochromatic shrouded figures while Francisco fashioned intricate yet stop-in-your-tracks resin-cast art.

According to Metro Gallery's Instagram account, they explore themes, such as transformation and the passage of time, as well as the urgency of both internal and external change, how the environment can instigate that change, and the mythic search for one's self amid the maelstrom of the world.



This exhibit, located on the 6/F at The Link, is the gallery's fourth offering for Art Fair Philippines.

Art Fair Philippines runs until 9pm Sunday, February 19 at The Link in Makati City.

Regular tickets are P450 for a day pass. Tickets for students with valid IDs, senior citizens, and PWDs are P350 while tickets for Makati students with valid IDs are P200.

Art Fair attendees are also eligible for discounted tickets for the nearby Ayala Museum and Filipinas Heritage Library, should they choose to take in a whole day of art and culture.

For more information, you may visit the Art Fair Philippines website, and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram and Facebook.

 — LA, GMA Integrated News