Discover ‘A New Contemporary’: 15 Must-See Highlights at ManilART’23

October 10, 2023 – Alike Editorial

From October 11 to 15, 2023, the national art fair celebrates its 15th year in grandeur with the theme "A New Contemporary," which pays homage to the past while propelling the fair into its exciting future. On its fifteenth edition, it bridges past, present, and future - fairgoers can marvel at the works of established artistic forefathers and interact with next-generation immersive exhibits under one roof. As a flagship project of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, ManilART’23 commemorates 15 years of Filipino creative brilliance during Museums and Galleries Month.

Our journey to explore this dynamic artistic landscape begins here. Moving from front to back, here are 15 picks from ManilART’23:

1. Orlina Art Cars. At the lobby, you will be greeted by Ramon Orlina's captivating art cars, creations by and collaborations with the celebrated glass sculptor. These painted vintage cars channel the vibrant colors and psychedelic styles of the 1970s, providing a sneak peek into Orlina's profound passion for vehicles and three-dimensional artistry — offering a preview of what's to come at the upcoming Orlina Art Car Museum. (Pre-function Lobby/SMX Entrance)

2. Champagne Fountain by Ramon Orlina at The Estate Lounge. Detour to Hall 1. The Ledesma Champagne Fountain graces The Estate Makati Lounge at ManilART'23, serving as the centerpiece of The Wine Room. With its peridot hues designed to enhance the allure of sparkling wine, it adds a multisensorial experience to visual and gustatory appreciation. Partner Novellino Wines, a proud Filipino brand, supplies the fountain with super-chilled, free-flowing Vivace Sparkling White Wine. The Estate Lounge, meantime, gives visitors a sneak peak of the luxury and opulence of their soon-to-stand prime Ayala Avenue address as designed by world-class builders and adorned with the art of Filipino masters. (Hall 1 Lounge)

The Estate Lounge

3. Ali Alejandro Digital Art (AADA) Installation. Stepping into the future, ManilART features new media, phygital art, and augmented reality, including Ali Alejandro's Installation Art presented on a large LED screen. Through this new media, digital artists like Alejandro have limitless possibilities to project illusions of reality, utilizing materials that span from projections to sculptural pieces. Alejandro specifically created his digital art installation to celebrate 15 years of ManilART. (Hall 1 Lobby, LED stage)

4. Ombok Villamor (OMVI) Art Gallery. Inside the main exhibit hall, sculptures by its owner-namesake artist Ombok Villamor resemble tessellations of corals, forming organic shapes that evoke both surreal and contemporary elements. His recent works convey the dynamic energy and beauty of aquatic life, inspired by his surroundings on the shores of Samar in the Philippines. (Booth A1)

5. Marge Organo and Raisa Luz at Galleria Nicolas. Galleria Nicolas showcases a mother-and-daughter duo of glass sculptors, Marge Organo and Raisa Luz. Organo, a collector favorite at ManilART, creates contemporary abstract works that evoke relatable and intimate

Sea Inside My Belly_ by Marge Organo

scenes, captivating viewers with her generous use of color. Luz specializes in kiln-formed glass art, producing opalescent and transparent glass pieces that highlight her commitment to the craft and artistic development. (Booth A2)

6. Romulo Galicano and Portrait Artists Society of the Philippines (PASPI). Galicano, the country’s top figurative realist, delivers another masterpiece in his ongoing Climate Change series that offers social commentary about the spate of catastrophic changes in the world just in the past two decades with his work “The Messengers of Geoengineering”. He leads PASPI, a group dedicated to realist/romantic realist style in painting and portraiture based out of Manila and Cebu. Many notable painters today emerged from the group. (Booth B2)

7. Artes Orientes highlights the vibrant abstractions of Macoy Coching. Grandson of National Artist for Visual Arts Francisco Coching, the scion, a graduate of the University of Sto. Tomas College of Fine Arts, has since made a name for himself with his distinctive colorist abstractions. In “La Luna Llena”, his signature waves set the stage for Moonscapes– depictions of full moons glowing above serene, iridescent waves. In high contrast are the steampunk works of sculptor Ram Mallari, Jr. Brute force and size grab the viewer’s attention with his statement pieces. Flawless execution of an 8-foot tall Spartan warrior makes Mallari’s mastery of the style and medium evident. (Booth C1)

8. Junyee, Vinluan and Aviado. The Artologist presents a triumvirate of the country’s most senior artists including Luis “Junyee” Yee Jr., Nestor Vinluan and Virgilio “Pandy” Aviado. Junyee is hailed as the “Father of Installation Art in the Philippines,” celebrated for his lifelong dedication to documenting Filipino life and creatively using indigenous materials. Dean Vinluan’s work, meanwhile, embodies his visual thinking style– works that bring abstraction to a higher, spiritual plane. Pandy Aviado is renowned as the top figure in Philippine printmaking, leaving an indelible legacy in the medium. (Booth A7)

9. Featured Artists at the Annual Sculpture Review (ASR). The ASR, an annual gathering of Filipino sculptors, which is now on its 19th year, showcases the most innovative works of its collection at the fair. Among the year’s highlights is Roen Capule, known for his surrealist subjects crafted from metal and molded resin. Wood master Agi Pagkatipunan is back with his highly-imaginative functional art that uses only the best local hardwoods. Meanwhile, Jinggoy Salcedo delivers a forest of trees in stainless steel and borosilicate glass. More glass of the highest artistic caliber is delivered from the House of Orlina led by the patriarch Ramon Orlina, with scions Anna Orlina and Michael Orlina, who themselves have created a following for their distinctive work in the medium. (Booth B5)

10. Espacio Manila has both young and veteran artists side by side. The works of Jerika See and Jean Govinda Marquesto stand side by side with those of Mayi Penaflorida and Roger San Miguel. Penaflorida’s doll-faced characters make intriguing wall mates with See’s top view slice-of-life scenes and contrast with San Miguel’s traditional figurism and Marquesto’s abstraction. (Booth B6)

11. RDS Gallery. Danny Rayos del Sol's eponymous RDS Gallery is a mainstay at ManilART and a must-visit. He is an artist known for his prolific ostrich egg art and has ventured into the canvas medium, incorporating fresh techniques that blend figurative painting with collage, interspersing traditional subjects with distinct Filipino weaves. (Booth D3) 

Danny Rayos del Sol

12. Jose Tence Ruiz at Galerie Artes. Bogie Ruiz is back with his acerbic social commentary with the work “Neo-Makapil in Blue Croc” alluding to an icon of shame in Philippine history. He is now clad in Birkins and Louboutins and the visual rant goes on. The multimedia painter, sculptor, illustrator, designer and performance artist never fails to deliver a punch with his strong composition and bold colors. (Booth D6)

13. Entre Blanc: A Multisensory Exhibit. Entre Blanc returns for its sophomore edition, offering an interactive exhibit that engages viewers through multiple senses. Thirteen visual artists collaborate with a music composer-producer, drawing inspiration from his music to create unique artworks. This immersive experience of sight and sound resonates on multiple levels, exploring inspiration through different senses. (Booth D7)

14. Adeste Deguilmo at Daloy Likha. Another pride of Cebu, who studied under the Cebuano master Martino Abellana, is international award-winning painter Deguilmo. He brings his figurative canvases portraying traditional subjects in more contemporary style under the banner of gallery and publisher Daloy Likha. (Booth D8)

15. Invitational Sketching by Masters. An event rather than a permanent booth is the on-the-spot invitational sketching which happens at the Estate Lounge on October 14, Saturday afternoon, with top portraitists including Raul Isidro, Hermes Alegre, Caloy Gabuco, Gig de Pio, Celso Pepito, Al Perez, Cee Cadid, Jun Impas and more. Special sitter will be Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano wearing a Filipiniana dress. (Hall 1 Lounge)


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The things that unite us are far stronger than the things that divide us.

And those stories are why we are alike.