Art Fair Philippines 2024 is here. Explore five must-see highlights.

Art Fair Philippines 2024 is here. This year’s iteration of the sprawling contemporary art platform is set to include a variety of exhibiting galleries, talks, film screenings, tours, and plenty more.

The fair includes 55 exhibitors from the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and Spain. Not sure where to begin? Here are five must-see highlights from the fair. 

Andreea Medar, ‘Leftovers from the Future’

Romanian visual artist Andreea Medar’s piece pays tribute to her family’s enduring gardening legacy, which spans 150 years in the village of Racoti. While her previous work showcased the garden in its flourishing state under her grandfather’s care, this rendition portrays its condition one year after abandonment, with resilient crop vegetables sprouting amidst untamed vegetation.

Medar deploys a meticulous technique of hand-stitching clear plastic sheets, which are then illuminated under UV light to immortalize the essence of the garden. This choice of material holds symbolic significance for Medar, as it is traditionally utilized in rural areas to safeguard hand-stitched heirloom tablecloths. The use of plastic reflects the delicate balance between efforts to preserve and the inevitable acceptance of loss. “It was interesting to see how the garden survived alone without a gardener. And in my imagination, those plants will survive and will travel through time and space to a post apocalyptic future in which they will connect the viewers and my family members from the past,” Medar said.

Pambabae: Exploring Abstraction by Women Artists 1969-1989

Curated by Miguel Rosales, this exhibition aims to shed light on a diverse selection of female artists whose remarkable contributions have often been overshadowed by their male counterparts. Featuring a curated mix of established names and hidden gems, these artists are ripe for rediscovery and reappraisal. Beyond painting, the exhibit also highlights intriguing experiments in printmaking and ceramics. 

Set against the backdrop of two decades teeming with creative fervor, from the inception of the Cultural Center of The Philippines to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of the World Wide Web, this exhibit pays tribute to the work of visionary artists including Phyllis Zaballero, Ileana Lee, Lilian Hwang, Jeannie Javellosa, Impy Pilapil, Pacita Abad, Nelfa Querubin, Nena Saguil, and more. 

Rediscovering Rod. Paras-Perez

Step into the world of multi-hyphenate Rod Paras-Perez (1934-2011). In this exclusive exhibition, you’re invited to uncover the many facets of a renowned figure in Philippine art: beyond being celebrated as an author, art critic, and historian, Paras-Perez was also a gifted artist in his own right.

In the first part of the exhibit, Paras-Perez’s renowned printmaking takes center stage alongside a fascinating array of his works in other mediums, from ceramics to traditional painting. Through carefully curated vignettes, you’ll glimpse into the artist’s creative process, accompanied by personal items that offer intimate insights into his life and artistic journey.

The second part of the exhibition offers a tantalizing glimpse into Paras-Perez’s more provocative and sensual works. Some of these pieces, never before displayed, explore the artist’s fascination with the female form, blending mystic symbols with his signature colors and printmaking techniques.

Gean Brix Garcia, ‘Ceremonials’

The most recent artist to be chosen as part of the Karen H. Montinola Selection, painter Gean Brix Garcia utilizes acrylics and fine brushes to create tantalizing and whimsical landscapes. His series titled, Ceremonials, presents a selection of social scenarios, from the lofty to the quotidian. The works’ imposing scale draws its audience in, inviting us to peer in closer to observe Garcia’s imagined world. 

“As Garcia’s pieces showcase his unique vision, he highlights themes of transformation, growth, patience, and gratitude,” reads the artist bio. “By blending the eccentric, hypnagogic, and outlandish, he builds beauty out of the grotesque, intriguing us to no end as we discover new elements with each fresh viewing.” These evocatively rendered acrylic paintings invite us to dwell in their topsy-turvy logic and crooked experience of time. 

Izumi Akiyama’s still lifes

Exhibiting under Kobayashi Gallery, the Japanese visual artist renders delicate still lifes through pencil on paper. These drawings, which deploy pencils of various degrees of hardness, express a lightness tinged with nostalgia as though on the verge of evaporating into the air. Akiyama’s focus in these pieces is the mystery of living and the empty spaces surrounding it. 

“I think the subject and background are one,” the artist says. “The subject is of course important, but it is only when the background is completed that the picture begins to get more solid. Every time this happens, I take a moment to fully realize that the background is equally as important as the subject. It is essential that the subject and background exist as one within the drawing.”

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