Discover the breadth of Filipino artistic talent in both local, international, and virtual spaces.
Though October is drawing to a close, the month is wrapping up with quite a number of milestones for Filipino artists, locally and internationally.
National Artist and filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik debuted a recreation of his acclaimed Madrid installation at the Palacio de Cristal del Retiro at the National Museum of the Philippines. In the same week, the Metropolitan Theater, which was under extensive renovation starting in 2016, finally reopened with an archival display of never-before-seen pieces by Salvacion Lim Higgins as its maiden exhibit.
In the same week, miles away from home, Filipino artists like Mark Nicdao and Anton Belardo headed under the Parisian spotlight as they debuted their work for the 8th edition of ASIA NOW. The event also coincided with the celebration of the 75th year of diplomatic relations between France and The Philippines.
As November rolls in, we’ve put together a roundup of all the must-see exhibitions. See our list below:
The National Museum
Kidlat Tahimik, one of the most prominent names in Philippine cinema and recipient of the National Artist award, is now gracing the halls of the National Museum with his mammoth installation. The same installation was mounted at the Palacio de Cristal in Retiro Park, Madrid exactly a year ago, under a different name.
What was originally titled Magellan, Marilyn, Mickey, and Padre Damaso: 500 Years of Conquistador Rock Stars is now adorning the halls of the museum under the name INDIO-GENIUS: 500 Taon ng Labanang Kultural (1521-2021). His work, coinciding with his signature Third Cinema style, explores the genius of our ancestors before colonizers arrived in the country. The installation, which opened on October 22, will be on view for six months. The public can also access the display through a 360-degree Google Maps.
Metropolitan Theater Gallery
The Metropolitan Theater remains to be one of the hallmark examples of Art Deco architecture in the Philippines. Its structure was designed by Juan M. Arellano in 1931, 30 years after the construction of the National Museum, during the height of the American Colonial era. The theater fell out of use during World War II and never regained its prestige despite numerous attempts throughout the rest of the 20th century. In 2015, its ownership was finally transferred to the NCCA, which jumpstarted rehabilitation processes.
After extensive renovation, the theater is finally reopening to the public. It’s debut exhibition is a retrospective collection of archival pieces by National Artist Salvacion Lim Higgins, curated by her son Mark Higgins. The exhibit is called Imagining/Imaging: Salvacion Lim Higgins and the Filipino Identity In Fashion, and will run until January 8, 2023.
The first week of November holds quite a number of activities for international gallery Silverlens. Their space in New York is launching their second-ever show, an intergenerational and mixed-gender group exhibition called External Entrails. This features Southeast Asian artists Nicole Coson, Corinne de San Jose, Bernardo Pacquing, and Arin Sunaryo. The four artists abstractly depict the uncertain state of “bracing for impact,” while examining the reactive violence of nature and technology as a result of trauma and strain.
Meanwhile, Silverlens’ Manila space is launching two solo exhibitions; Clunker by Pow Martinez and Heads by Luis Lorenzana. The former depicts graphic yet isolated shapes; characters that have reappeared in Martinez’s work. As the artist describes, the figures are contorted and lonely, either “channel surfing” or “doom-scrolling.”
Heads, on the other hand, depicts Lorenzana’s quest to understand artistic expression. The abstract heads convey meaning, yet are detached from external narrative and emotion. Both Martinez and Lorenzana’s exhibits will run from November 3 to December 3, 2022.
The Drawing Room
Kawayan De Guia and Louie Cordero are collaborating on a display that tackles socio-political and historical paradigms at The Drawing Room at Karrivin. The interactive exhibition, called Free Phenomenon, runs until November 12. Square canvasses of even size line the length of the gallery, forming a narrative on cultural and colonial references.
Across the world, The Drawing Room in partnership with Maleza Proyectos, Gravity Art Space, and Prologo Libros, an exhibit between Ged Marino and Troy Ignacio called Between A Rock And A Soft Place was launched at Marino’s newly opened art space in Bogota, Colombia. Both artists’ work reflects “the interdependent existence of life forms” while rendering geographic boundaries immaterial.
Vinyl on Vinyl
At the 8th edition of ASIA NOW in Paris, Vinyl on Vinyl was the only Manila gallery to show. They represented seven artists and their work: Jellyfish Kisses (Anton Belardo), Iyan de Jesus, TRNZ, Ciane Xavier Calma, Is Jumalon, Martin Honasan, and Teo Esguerra. The exhibit included paintings, sculptures, and a live installation.
Their gallery space in Makati currently showcases Reen Barrera’s exhibit called All Our Might. The artist, born in France, describes growing up as a “toy-deprived kid.” His work, which spans paintings, sculptures, and vinyl collectibles, often feature doll-like figures that tackle socio-economic issues and wear their emotions and narratives on their faces.