Art Fair Philippines Report

Continued support for local and regional artists
By Jaclyn Chong

Yeo Kaa, ‘I Don’t Know, Baby’, 2019, installation view. Image courtesy of Yeo Kaa.

Yeo Kaa, ‘I Don’t Know, Baby’, 2019, installation view. Image courtesy of Yeo Kaa.

Art Fair Philippines (AFP) ran at The Link, Makati Centre from 22 to 24 February 2019. Held in the carpark of the mall, the fair attracted close to 30,000 visitors over three days. A highlight was a performance art auction titled ‘Into the He(art) of the Art Market’, conceived by Judy Freya and Lyra Garcellano. This looked at the mechanics of the art market, exploring an auction of works with valuable intangibles such as “the right to breathe clean air” instead of monetary bids.

Local galleries did well at the fair. “The age range of our buyers vary greatly and we had some young and new collectors and some who have been collecting for some time, but overall many came and supported our booth,” says Tina Fernandez, Creative Director of Artinformal. “Despite challenges in logistics and location, Art Fair Philippines 2019 provided grounds for us to meet new clients and re-establish ties with our loyal clientele as well as to continually introduce our line-up of amazing artists to the local art.” Fair-goers were enthusiastic about the works on show. Art Cube presented ‘Finding the Light’, a work by metal sculptor Daniel dela Cruz, which invited numerous messages of support from visitors on post-it notes. Yeo Kaa was another favourite, with her strikingly coloured exhibition ‘I Don’t Know, Baby’ at the Secret Fresh booth.

Ibrahim, ‘Haru Biru’, 2017, acrylic paint, pencil, marker, pen on canvas, 200 x 200cm. Image courtesy of Gajah Gallery.

Ibrahim, ‘Haru Biru’, 2017, acrylic paint, pencil, marker, pen on canvas, 200 x 200cm. Image courtesy of Gajah Gallery.

Galleries from elsewhere in Southeast Asia had positive things to say about the fair as well. “La Lanta Fine Art’s first experience with Art Fair Philippines has been a very positive one,” says Sukontip Fon Prahanpap. “We find the local art market healthy with enthusiasm from young professionals to seasoned collectors.” Gajah Gallery, a repeat participant at the fair, says, “This year, we showcased the work of Indonesian abstract expressionist Ibrahim for the first time in Manila and it was very well received.” Similarly, first-time participant Vin Gallery, although disappointed with sales, was positive about the fair. “The organisers of the fair have been very welcoming and we hope to continue building a good relationship with collectors in the city,” says the gallery.

Jirapat Tasanasomboom, ‘Camouflage - Tosakan & Sita (After A. Warhol)’, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 63 x 63”. Image courtesy of La Lanta Fine Art.

Jirapat Tasanasomboom, ‘Camouflage - Tosakan & Sita (After A. Warhol)’, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 63 x 63”. Image courtesy of La Lanta Fine Art.

The organisers of Art Fair Phlippines also successfully ran the 10 Days of Art initiative, which promoted cross-disciplinary public art pieces, gallery shows and art talks outside of the fair’s main space at The Link. This allowed more opportunities for artists to showcase their works to a wider audience, and proved the positive impact that the fair has had on the art scene in Manila.