On its eleventh year, ManilART, the national art fair, focuses on “Showcasing the Global Filipino Artist”: from the nation’s storied past leading up to its future, there is much to be conveyed through the visual arts. This is in line with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)’s 2019 theme for Museums and Galleries Month, “Building a Nation, One Exhibit at a Time.”
This year’s theme has gone through a number of iterations, starting out as environmental and sustainability-oriented, but eventually taking a more encompassing stance, shares ManilART Fair Director Tess Rayos Del Sol: “Many of our homegrown artists are making a mark globally at competitions and major international fairs. They help tell the story of the Filipino struggle to define our national identity.”
For this, ManilART takes a step in the right direction. Art practitioners, exhibitors, and enthusiasts are enjoined to contribute to the cultural conversation.
Environmental commentary, OFW diaspora
There is much that can be conveyed through art–-not just in the discovery of what it means to be Filipino, but also as a protest against long-standing issues from conflict to corruption, poverty to patriarchy, that disrupt the peace of our people.
Master painter Romulo “Mulong” Galicano is slated to unveil a large-scale painting, tackling climate change in his signature style that merges classical and contemporary techniques.
“Self-portrait,” Oil on canvas, 2011, by Romulo Galicano
ManilART’s much-anticipated VIP Lounge will bring to light the issue of the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) diaspora: artists Susanito Sarnate and Anthony Palomo will collaborate for this installation. Sarnate is a clay and terracotta sculptor who hails from Negros Occidental, and Palomo is a Batangas-based painter who has mastered acrylic, oil, and watercolor media. Together, they will create art that explores the OFW’s experience: they will recreate their moments just before departure, as well as their gaze into the uncertain future.