Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The best of Manila art


Tonight I had two equally interesting events. At 6 pm I donned a terno and headed over to the NBC tent for the gala opening of Manilart, the Philippines' largest annual art event and a must-visit on the calendar of most art lovers in this city. Manilart opens to the public tomorrow and heads on through the weekend, but tonight there was a sneak preview with many of the gallery owners and artists around.

The evening began with a short program that included an a capella rendition of the beautiful love song "Ikaw," which is one of my favorite Tagalog songs. I was looking around the still darkened galleries when they began singing this song, and I just had to stop and listen. Afterwards, I began my rounds again, appreciating everything and looking for nothing in particular, although I'm sure I can find space on my already crowded walls for something, if a painting catches my eye.


CHILDHOOD FRIENDS

It's interesting for me that two people I've known since way back are now really big names in the Philippine art scene. One of them is the painter Elmer Borlongan, whose works are now the toast of the local art society and who is in such hot demand that people are lining up for works that have not even been finished yet. We attended painting classes as children together and for years we sat side by side patiently drawing still life and portraits. I think we even graduated from charcoal to pastel, pen and ink and then oils and acrylics together.

Well today I saw him again after a very long time, with wealthy collectors gathered around and everyone wanting a photo with him. But when he saw me, it was like not much time had passed and for a few moments we reminisced about the good old days.

The other artist I've known for years is the sculptor Daniel de la Cruz, who I've known since high school. Again, he's become a very big name in the art scene and his works are seriously collected by many people.


I also saw my doctor, Dr. Joven Cuanan of St. Luke's, who is also a top collector and advocate of arts and culture. He has a beautiful property up in Ilocos called Sitio Remedios and an art gallery in Antipolo. Dr. Cuanan's gallery is displaying works by Elmer Borlongan and his wife Plet Bolipata at this year's Manilart.


Some interesting paintings at Manilart


TRAVELIFE SRI LANKA NIGHT
A FREE PUBLIC SERVICE PERFORMANCE ON SEP 24

I would have loved to stay longer and linger over the art, but at 730 pm sharp I left Manilart to head over to Dasmarinas Village and join a dinner at the residence of the Sri Lankan ambassador. The Sri Lankan government is flying over to Manila some top classical dancers and one of Sri Lanka's best-known singers this September, and Travelife Magazine will be hosting a free entry Travelife Sri Lanka Night on September 24 as a public service, to continue its advocacy of bringing world-class cultural performances to as many people as possible.


If you want to join us for Travelife Sri Lanka Night, please stay tuned to this blog. Or better yet, contact Bernice at Travelife Magazine and tell her you want to attend Sri Lanka Night. Tel 8138400/ 8922620 or email travelife@travelife.biz.

GREAT WORKS AT MANILART

Back to Manilart. This year's Manilart is smaller than last year in terms of venue, and there are also fewer galleries exhibiting; but each gallery now has a larger space. There was a very varied selection of works on display and here are some that caught my eye.








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1 comment:

  1. A couple of friends of mine were also at the gala night and said it was worth checking out. Am definitely excited about ManilArt! Have been looking forward to it for weeks. Thanks for the coverage!

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