In its first ever virtual iteration, Art Fair Philippines 2021 takes the public through the expanse of the digital art world.
By Mara Fabella
Art Fair Philippines 2021 promises to be an especially memorable one. For the first time in the event’s eight-year run, Art Fair will be going virtual, taking place online at www.artfairphilippines.com. This move is just one of many the local art scene has had to make to keep up with the current climate created by the coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, the team behind the fair remain committed to living up to its precedent of providing a fresh experience for the art-going public.
This year, Art Fair Philippines presents the Metaverse, the vast digital landscape that many Filipinos have been living in since the start of 2020. This marks the first time the fair will be shining a major spotlight on digital art.
The fair will be taking full advantage of its virtual platform with a wide array of daily events – from artist talks, studio visits, workshops, and a combination of online and on-site exhibits. Headlining the event is Welcome to the Metaverse, a showcase on the latest trend captivating the global art world: NFTs. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are data files that represent the authenticity of a digital asset. Listed under the fair’s Projects section, this NFT 101 showcase is presented by the Bank of the Philippine Islands in conjunction with Tropical Futures Institute and Narra Art Gallery. The showcase will feature various talks by crypto artists on their practices and their implications on the digital art world, as well as a tour of Narra Gallery, a virtual gallery that features crypto art and other NFT projects.
The Film section will highlight a series of digital works specially commissioned by the fair that viewers can download and stream on their devices. The roster of new media artists features Jeremy Couillard, Petra Cortright, and the artist collective Keiken. This section was developed in collaboration with Daata, an innovative platform for digital artworks founded in 2015 by David Gryn. Daata has partnered with numerous prestigious art institutions around the world, including the Gagosian, Tate Britain, and Art Basel. A specially curated playlist by Daata will be available along with the new media works.
The fair will also have a special series of photography exhibits co-presented by the Julius Baer Group that includes Filipino photographer Ding Panganiban and his ambrotype-developed photographs. In addition, the winners of the prestigious Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize will be announced. Submissions were gathered over four months from digital artists all across Southeast Asia. The top winners will be chosen among two categories: Still and Moving Image. Up for grabs are cash prizes totaling up to $60,000.
Art Fair 2021 also has plenty to offer beyond art showcases. Workshops and virtual tours will be scheduled almost every day. Alfredo Esquillo will be taking audiences on a tour of the Eskinita Art Farm in Batangas, the venue for Eskinita Art Gallery’s Tuklas residency program. The online workshops allow participants to learn different techniques from prominent artists in their respective fields, right from their own studios. Among the featured workshops are watercolor by Claude Tayag, pop-up collage by Jel Suarez, and relief printmaking by Mars Bugaoan. This year also marks the first time the fair will be launching artist residencies. The Residencies section is developed in cooperation with the Bleeding Heart Rum Corporation. Five selected artists will get the chance to join residency programs with different artist spaces across the country, including Linangan Art Residency in Cavite, The Orange Project in Bacolod, and Barrio Butanding in Palawan.
The exhibitors comprise a total of 43 local and international galleries that will be launching their exhibits both online through the fair’s viewing rooms and on-site at select spaces. This year’s exhibitors are 1335Mabini, A3 Arndt Art Agency, Altro Mondo Gallery, Archivo 1984, Art Agenda S.E.A. (Singapore), Art Cube, Art Elaan, Art Porters Gallery (Singapore), Art Underground, Art Verite Gallery, art/n23, Artery Art Space, Avellana Art Gallery, bio|trans|forms, CANVAS, District Gallery, Gajah Gallery (Singapore), Galeria Mayoral (Spain), Galerie Roberto, Galerie Stephanie, Gallery Kogure (Japan), J Studio, J StudioHQ, Kaida Contemporary, Kobayashi Gallery (Japan), La Lanta Gallery (Thailand), León Gallery, Lotus Asian Art, Metro Gallery, Mono8 Gallery, Orange Project, Pinaglabanan Gallery, Primo Marella Gallery (Italy), Qube Gallery, Salcedo Private View, Secret Fresh, Shutterspace Studios, Silverlens, Tarzeer Pictures, The Crucible Gallery, Thomas Epperson Photographs, Yavuz Gallery (Singapore and Australia), and Ysobel Art Gallery. The fair will also be partnering with different establishments as part of its 10 Days of Art program, which includes an on-site installation for film viewings at Ayala Tower One’s fountain area.
Within the realm of new media art, the boundaries of the digital art world are constantly expanding. This move to the virtual event space is a daring one for the Art Fair, but is nevertheless in keeping with the institution’s goals of advancing the scope and reach of Philippine contemporary art. Art Fair Philippines 2021 will take place from May 6 to 15 on the fair’s official website in a week-long affair that signals a unique but still equally exciting moment in the event’s history.
View this post on Instagram