A New Contemporary: Highlights of ManilArt 2023

ManilArt, the flagship art project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), is grandly celebrating its 15th edition. This annual event was a true testament to the rich and diverse Filipino art scene, where established artistic forefathers and emerging talents come together to create a dynamic artistic landscape.

While it had been successful for several years, the art fair faced challenges as well. In 2020, “2020 Vision for a Future Reimagined” which was ready to embrace the country’s evolving artistic landscape, took a sour turn as the pandemic closed doors to the world.

The theme for this year’s ManilArt is “A New Contemporary,” which is a fitting homage to the past while propelling the fair into an exciting future.

The NCCA created this flagship project to strengthen the Creative Economy and promote Philippine visual artistry by supporting art galleries, museums, and other art institutions.

Who are this year’s participating exhibitors?

This year’s national art fair invited several exhibitors, such as Portrait Artists’ Society of the Philippines, Inc., Ysobel Art Gallery, Renaissance Art Gallery, Gallery Nine, Art Circle Gallery, Galleria Nicolas, Rayos Del Sol Gallery, Art for Space Gallery PH, Daloy Likha Art Gallery, Espacio Manila, Drybrush Gallery, NAMI Art Gallery, Artalyer Art Gallery, The Artologist Gallery, AT Art Gallery, Visual Central Art Gallery, Artes Orientes, 371 Art Space, G9Online, M Gallery MNL, Village Art Gallery, OMVI Art Gallery, Annual Sculpture Review, Galerie Raphael, Galerie Artes, Historia Arts, Gallery du Soleil MNL, and Art/Space* Galeria Bañez.

When was the Manilart 2023 held?

From October 11 to 15, 2023, the ManilArt fair invited art enthusiasts to embark on a journey that transcends time and art forms at the SMX Aura Convention Center. It showcased a diverse range of exhibits and experiences.

Highlights of ManilArt 2023

Top 15 Picks from ManilART’23

As we celebrate Museum and Galleries Month in October, here are the top 15 art galleries during the ManilART’23:

Orlina Art Cars

Upon entering the venue, you’ll be greeted by a mesmerizing display of art cars created by the celebrated glass sculptor Ramon Orlina. These vintage cars have been transformed into canvases that channel the vibrant colors and psychedelic styles of the 1970s, offering a unique glimpse into the artist’s passion for vehicles and three-dimensional artistry. Located at the Pre-function Lobby/SMX Entrance, this exhibit sets the stage for a visual feast.

Champagne Fountain by Ramon Orlina at The Estate Lounge

The Ledesma Champagne Fountain, designed by Ramon Orlina, takes center stage in The Estate Makati Lounge, creating an enchanting ambiance in the Hall 1 Lounge. With its peridot hues that enhance the beauty of sparkling wine, this fountain provides a multisensorial experience, combining visual and gustatory appreciation. It’s a true work of art that marries aesthetics and indulgence.

Ali Alejandro Digital Art (AADA) Installation

As you venture further into the fair, you’ll discover the future of art on display. ManilArt’23 features new media, phygital art, and augmented reality experiences, including Ali Alejandro’s Installation Art showcased on an LED screen in the Hall 1 Lobby. This fusion of technology and art immerses viewers in a world where digital and physical realms intertwine, promising a unique and forward-looking artistic experience.

Ombok Villamor (OMVI) Art Gallery

Inside the main exhibit hall, the sculptures by Ombok Villamor, the owner-namesake artist, resemble tessellations of corals. These organic shapes evoke both surreal and contemporary elements, showcasing the artist’s distinctive style. Booth A1 is where you’ll find these mesmerizing sculptures, offering a fusion of nature and modernity.

Marge Organo and Raisa Luz at Galleria Nicolas

Galleria Nicolas presents a dynamic mother-and-daughter duo, Marge Organo and Raisa Luz, known for their glass sculpting prowess. Their contemporary abstract works are not only visually captivating but also evoke relatable and intimate scenes through the generous use of color. Visit Booth A2 to experience their artistic synergy.

Ombok Villamor OMVI Art Gallery

Romulo Galicano and Portrait Artists Society of the Philippines (PASPI)

Renowned figurative realist Romulo Galicano presents a thought-provoking piece in his ongoing Climate Change series, titled “The Messengers of Geoengineering.” This work provides social commentary on the dramatic environmental changes witnessed in the past two decades. You can view this masterpiece at Booth B2, where Galicano’s art invites reflection on pressing global issues.

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Artes Orientes highlights the vibrant abstractions of Macoy Coching

Macoy Coching, the grandson of National Artist for Visual Arts Francisco Coching, brings a fresh and vibrant perspective to the art world. His colorful abstractions, showcased at Booth C1, are a testament to his artistic lineage and his unique approach to painting. His work adds a burst of energy to ManilArt’23.

Junyee, Vinluan and Aviado

The Artologist presents a trio of distinguished senior artists: Luis “Junyee” Yee Jr, Nestor Vinluan, and Virgilio “Pandy” Aviado. Their combined expertise and artistic journeys are on display at Booth A7. These artists bring with them a wealth of experience, and their works reflect the depth and diversity of Filipino art.

Featured Artists at the Annual Sculpture Review (ASR)

The ASR, an annual gathering of Filipino sculptors, now in its 19th year, offers a platform to showcase the most innovative works in its collection. Booth B5 at ManilArt’23 is the place to be if you want to witness the creativity and craftsmanship of Filipino sculptors at its finest.

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Espacio Manila

Espacio Manila presents the works of Jerika See and Jean Govinda Marquesto alongside the artistry of Mayi Penaflorida and Roger San Miguel. These talented artists bring their distinctive styles to Booth B6, offering a diverse range of artistic expressions that reflect the multifaceted nature of Filipino art.

RDS Gallery

RDS Gallery, led by Danny Rayos del Sol, is a mainstay at ManilArt and a must-visit for art enthusiasts. The gallery, located at Booth D3, showcases a curated selection of art that highlights the depth and breadth of Filipino artistic talent. Del Sol’s dedication to promoting Filipino art is truly commendable.

Jose Tence Ruiz at Galerie Artes

Bogie Ruiz, as he is known, returns with his thought-provoking social commentary piece titled “Neo-Makapili in Blue Croc.” This artwork alludes to a historical icon of shame in Philippine history and can be found at Booth D6. Ruiz’s work invites viewers to reflect on the past and its implications for the present and future.

Entre Blanc: A Multisensory Exhibit

Entre Blanc makes a sophomore appearance at ManilArt, offering an interactive exhibit that engages viewers through multiple senses. Booth D7 is where you can experience a fusion of art and sensory exploration, promising a truly unique and immersive artistic encounter.

Adeste Deguilmo at Daloy Likha

Adeste Deguilmo, an international award-winning painter from Cebu, studied under the Cebuano master Martino Abellana. His figurative canvases, portraying traditional subjects in a contemporary style, are displayed under the banner of gallery and publisher Daloy Likha at Booth D8. Deguilmo’s art beautifully combines tradition and innovation.

Invitational Sketching by Masters

A special event at ManilArt’23 was the invitational sketching session that took place at the Estate Lounge on October 14. This event features top portraitists, including Raul Isidro, Hermes Alegre, Caloy Gabuco, Gig de Pio, Celso Pepito, Al Perez, Cee Cadid, Jun Impas, and more. The special sitter for this event was Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, wearing a Filipiniana dress. It was a unique opportunity to witness the live creation of art by masters in their field, offering a captivating and interactive experience.

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Art is everywhere around us. We celebrate it in different forms, and now in the post-pandemic world, we get to learn more everyday how to appreciate it even more.

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