Art/Style/Travel Diaries

‘Don’t miss the 7th floor’: Young artists, collectors give biggest Art Fair Philippines ‘a lot of energy’

The leading venue for PH modern and contemporary art will have special exhibits, including Pambabae, the works of Filipino women modernists

Jigger Cruz photo

Taloi Havini (Photo from Silverlens Galleries)

Filipino and international galleries, artists, curators, and educators gather together to stage the 2024 edition of Art Fair Philippines.

Art Fair Philippines 2024

Art Fair Philippines transforms The Link carpark into a multilevel exhibition of Filipino contemporary and modern art.

Art Fair Philippines, the leading venue for exhibiting and selling Filipino modern and contemporary art, will be held Feb. 16–18, 2024 at The Link, the car park in Makati City that will be transformed into a multi-level exhibition hub for Filipino modern and contemporary art.

This year, the event presents an expanded program that spotlights the Philippine visual arts, considered one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant creative landscapes, with participating foreign galleries from Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, and more exhibitors from the Metaverse.

Jonathan Ching (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

Jigger Cruz (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

Mr. StarCity

Taloi Havini photo from Silverlens Galleries

The fair this year has several components. In a contiguous space conceptualized by production designer and theater director Ed Lacson, ArtFairPH/Projects presents works by renowned Filipino artists, among them Jonathan Ching, Jigger Cruz, Gean Brix Garcia, and the late Rod. Paras-Perez; a selection of women modernists; and a group of muralist painters mentored by Alfredo Esquillo Jr. and Renato Habulan.

This section also features Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist Mr. StarCity; Romanian conceptual artist Andreea Medar; and a special performance piece by Spanish artist Eugenio Ampudia, presented in partnership with the Embassy of Spain in Manila.

“We don’t really work with a stated theme each year, but the section that we, as founders of the art fair, curate each year is the Projects section,” says Lisa Ongpin-Periquet, who founded the fair with Dindin Araneta and Trickie Lopa. “It’s always exciting because it gives the fair its unique character each year.  I will always remember the year the fair presented the ping-pong tables by Louie Cordero, or the time we presented Kidlat Tahimik Jr.’s installation just a couple of years before he was named National Artist. It’s also impossible to forget David Medalla’s presentation, A Stitch in Time, which was one of the most interactive artworks we have had.

“In 2024, ArtFairPH/Projects will be located on the seventh floor, along with the Incubators, Photography, and a few galleries. The layout will immediately feel different from the gallery floors, and will encourage  a sense of discovery. For the first time, we will be having quite a few foreign artists presenting for Projects, alongside carefully chosen modern and contemporary names.  It will be a free-flowing space with its own unconventional directional flow. One is forced to travel through spaces that lead into others, without the assistance of conventional walkways.  In other words, it will be a voyage of discovery for those who are willing to take the time and have the interest to explore.

“I won’t say too much more, but don’t miss the seventh floor!”

A special exhibit, Pambabae, aims to reappraise and highlight the contribution of Filipina women modernists who have largely been overshadowed by their male contemporaries. The exhibition will span the years 1969 to 1989, two decades that saw an explosion of creativity which was significant in the development of Philippine modern art. The women artists include Ivi Avellana Cosio, Ileana Lee, Nelfa Querubin, Evelyn Collantes, Phyllis Zaballero, and Lilian Hwang.

A special exhibit, ‘Pambabae,’ aims to reappraise and highlight the contribution of Filipina women modernists who have largely been overshadowed by their male contemporaries

“The quality of the women artists’ work of this period was outstanding,” says Periquet. “Phyllis Zaballero’s abstract works of this period, in particular, which will probably surprise those who are more familiar with her later, figurative oeuvre. We started last year on this path by showing Rosario Bitanga’s work, and I think a lot of visitors were amazed at the power and sophistication of her work.  We are opening people’s eyes to art that has remained under the radar.”

Periquet notes that 1969 was “the year the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) was born, and like it or not, it engendered an era of conceptual, sophisticated, and most importantly, global understanding of modern, abstract art. Social Realism was also present, as a response to martial law, and sometimes, in the CCP, the two threads would meet, which was very dynamic and exciting.”

Karen H. Montinola Selection marks 10th anniversary.

Gean Brix Garcia (Photo by Jojo Gloria)

Art Fair Philippines 2024 also celebrates the 10th anniversary and winding down of the Karen H. Montinola (KHM) Selection, a grant given by the Montinola family in memory of a collector who championed the works of emerging Filipino artists. The 2024 KHM Selection grant has been awarded to visual artist Gean Brix Garcia. To commemorate the milestone of the grant, Art Fair a  retrospective exhibit curated by art consultant Norman Crisologo, features recipients of the grant which began in 2014: Pio Abad (2014), Mike Adrao (2015), Mac Valdezco (2016), Mark Valenzuela (2017), Alvin Zafra (2018), Liv Vinluan (2019), Carlo Villafuerte (2021), Melvin Guirhem (2022), and Faye Abantao (2023).

Scenes from Art Fair Philippines 2023 photo 1

ArtFairPH includes the works of selected residency artists in 2023, awarded in collaboration with other agencies. These are Mark Salvatus for Manila Observatory in Quezon City, Manila; Anna Miguel Cervantes for Linangan Art Residency in Alfonso, Cavite; Jett Ilagan for Emerging Islands in San Juan, La Union; Julian Tapales for Butanding Barrio in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; and Renz Baluyot for Orange Projects in Bacolod, Negros Occidental. They are joined by two international artists who have joined the residency program in Orange Project this 2024, Iseult Perrault and Petr Hajdyla.

Art Fair Philippines continues its partnership with the Ateneo Art Gallery to present a series of talks that aims to provide insight into an artist’s work and life, art forms, artistic processes, collectors, and interests. Art Fair PH/Talks includes discussions on the intersections of art and science, photography as authorship, women in modern art, and reading images from a historical perspective, among others. With a special participation from the Lopez Museum, there will also be a demonstration on basic stretching, matting, and framing of canvas, and a discussion on the basics of artwork conservation.

Introduced last year, ArtFairPH/Digital focuses on digital media and work that incorporates and engages with computer technology, animation, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and the metaverse.

ArtFairPH/Digital focuses on work that incorporates and engages with computer technology, animation, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and the metaverse

Daata – The Best Dressed Chicken in Manila

For 2024, Art Fair Philippines flies in David Gryn, founder of Daata, the foremost proponent of digital art globally. Gryn presents Best Dressed Chicken (Manila Version), a selection of great digital video artworks that engage with notions of vanity and choice.  The title is after the brilliant classic 1970s reggae song by Jamaican singer and DJ Doctor Alimantado.

This playlist focuses on MIlo Creese, with his AI work A Complicated Dance, the George Roxby Smith series Just Breathe, and the video works of Jane Bustin, who will be present at the fair.

CryptoArt PH – The Second Verse by Jopet Arias, 2024

Another highlight of the Digital section is a special exhibit in collaboration with CryptoArt PH, a vibrant community dedicated to empowering Filipino creators in the dynamic web3 space, with a focus on showcasing the incredible talent and innovation of Filipino artists in the realm of NFTs and blockchain technology.

The ArtFairPH/Photo section, introduced in 2018, shines a spotlight on photography as part of the contemporary art landscape in the country.

This year, its sole exhibitor is FotomotoPH, a Manila-based organization of visionary photographers, curators, and writers dedicated to promoting Philippine photography through an annual cycle of exhibitions, public programs, and special projects with art spaces throughout the archipelago. The exhibition will be curated by Sandra Palomar, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

In the field of film, to be presented is NO SHOWING, a project curated by filmmaker Moira Lang.

This is a hangout/speakeasy/watering hole/listening party/dance floor/breathing space for filmmakers and filmgoers to weigh, diagnose, and compare notes and remedies on the state of movie making and moviegoing in the Philippines. It is an event as well as a concept, a festival not of screenings, but of conversations over beer, with music by selected filmmakers playing just loud enough to talk and to listen to one another. NO SHOWING is co-presented by Archivo Gallery in cooperation with Club Kino.

Further expanding the coverage is the 10 Days of Art initiative highlighting a series of events around the Makati Central Business District with participation by galleries, museums, and other establishments to celebrate the best of Philippine contemporary art beyond the fair’s venue.

Derek Tumala presents ‘A Warm Orange Coloured Liquid’ for Art Fair Philippines 2024

This much-anticipated public art will feature in two locations. Visible along Ayala Avenue, at the Tower One Fountain area, trans-disciplinary visual artist Derek Tumala presents A Warm Orange-Colored Liquid, his biggest and most ambitious work to date.

Isaiah Cacnio presents ‘Prismatic Embrace for Art Fair Philippines 2024 _ 10 Days of Art’

On the other side of the expanse, motion graphics artist and multimedia engineer Isaiah Cacnio presents Prismatic Embrace, a digital projection featuring a vibrant symphony of colors and dancing layers of hues. This will be seen on the Green Wall of Ayala Triangle Garden Tower 2.

This much-anticipated public art by Derek Tumala and Isaiah Cacnio will be visible along Ayala Avenue and the Green Wall of Ayala Triangle Garden Tower 2

To kick off 10 Days of Art, Art Fair Philippines presents the Gallery Weekend from February 9 to 11, where visitors are encouraged to see the gallery exhibitions at their respective locations throughout this three-day effort. For schedule and updates, visit

Periquet is pleased that this now iconic annual event is drawing younger Filipino artists to participate, as well as appreciate, contemporary art. “I think it’s a fantastic and very welcome development to have many young people, such as millennials and Gen Z, participate in all aspects of the fair. Those are the collectors of the future, and the present, too.  We never imagined when we started the Art Fair that youthful viewers would mark their participation and presence in it so strongly, and we welcome it. Their interest in what the fair has to offer gives it a lot of energy, and helps give us a perspective on things that we probably normally wouldn’t pay attention to.”

Yuklas Mentors (photo by Jojo Gloria)

Fair tickets can be purchased in advance at Tickets will also be available at the reception area of Art Fair Philippines from February 16 to 18. For more information, please visit the Art Fair Philippines website and follow Art Fair Philippines on Instagram (@artfairph) and Facebook (

Art Fair Philippines 2024 is co-presented by AyalaLand, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Globe, with a special project partner Don Papa Rum. Education partner is the Ateneo Art Gallery. Exhibition Partners include LG Electronics, the Embassy of Spain in Manila, The British Council Philippines, and Rhizome. Official hotel partners are Fairmont Raffles Makati and Holiday Inn and Suites.

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