The walls lead you through the curved hallways, which feel like a forest system. Along the way you arrive at cavities full of artistic treasure.
MAKATI CITY, Philippines ꟷ The Art Fair Philippines, founded in 2013, remains the premier platform for exhibiting and selling the very best in Filipino modern and contemporary art. The fair itself mirrors the vibrant and exciting landscape of one of Southeast Asia’s best art scenes, and does it in a very unique setting.
The Link at the Ayala Center in Makati City creates a stunning setting for the fair. This car park building located beside the Landmark Department Store and Glorietta Ayala Mall contains an area converted to a series of art capsules. The capsules take up part of the fourth and seventh floors and includes a roof deck for dialogues, lectures, events, and social gatherings.
Arriving in the first area of the exhibit, you notice bamboo walls created by Rizome Philiippines – which makes eco-friendly bamboo building materials on the island of Mindanao. The walls lead you through a curved hallway which feels like a biological system. At the end you enter a series of capsules or cavities containing each art installation. As you make your way through the maze, it gives you a sense of journeying through a forest, discovering treasure at the end of each path. These treasures please your senses and activate your curiosity.
A sense of familiarity ensues as you see well known exhibitors like the Pintô Art Museum, Silverlens, and the Paseo Art Gallery. As you explore further, diverse works spring up. You see art from different parts of Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States of America. You can find an epoxy painting by the famous Peter Zimmerman, delivering a rich density of colors you must see to believe.
Moving to the further and higher floors, visual and performing arts emerge. Soon you encounter art made from non-fungible tokens or NFTs. They are similar to bitcoin, but cannot be replicated. Some of the NFT pieces sell at a very high value digitally in the form of virtual art. Photography is also on display. Fotomoto, a group of photographers, exhibit their impressive images from everyday life throughout the Philippines.
In addition to the physical artworks, performance art appears throughout the fair. On the seventh floor, experienced dancers and non-dancers performed on behalf of the Fifth Wall Fest wearing clothing by well-known fashion designer Carl Jan Cruz. After the COVID-19 Pandemic, when online and hybrid fairs took the place of in-person events, the art scene feels alive again. Co-founder of the fair Lisa Perquet said, “It offers something relatively familiar, but a little bit different and disconcerting… a journey of discovery where things simply unfold.”
All photographs courtesy of George Buid.
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