Two years of Art Fair

We have been to Art Fair Philippines for the first time in 2014. What they did to that ordinary parking building was nothing short of impressive – as were the high-profile attendees from the business, fashion, and entertainment worlds – and in spite of having a spirited 2-year old in tow, the experience was enthralling and memorable.

Don’t pay my rebel hair any mind, I wore my faux leather leggings for this. Also, art makes the baby constantly hungry. 

The following years though, it was only my husband who has gone back, and usually to lend his support to friends who were directly involved in the event either as artists or curators. It became more and more difficult to appreciate the artwork, he said, when it was becoming more and more of an Instagram spectacle, with the works nothing more than a collection of weird and pretty things to pose with, or the event a surefire alternative to Starbucks ABS-CBN for that chance star encounter.

The husband explains away, while the little one runs away from the black and white photographs. Art can be such a hard sell. 

Back then, or this time around, I personally have not encountered any rowdy or crass bunch, or even the pretentious hipsters now infamously tied to these events. It’s an unfortunate drawback, I agree, but I have nothing to complain about. This time, the only one complaining is our 4-year old, wanting to get away from the ‘ugly paintings’. Can’t please everyone, for sure.

The Tans, back at Art Fair. The kid clearly loved the ‘Transformers’ inspired work as well as Nilo Ilarde’s installation, which she quickly connected to traffic. 

This year I wanted to linger more, stare at the work longer, examine every spot and corner. While it proved daunting – I didn’t count on Art Fair being much larger this year, occupying all six floors of The Link – purposely keeping the phone away for much of the visit helped tremendously.

My favourite was the addition of photography this year. Jake Verzosa’s The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga is incredible to behold, but I found myself gutted with Jose Enrique Soriano’s photographs taken inside a mental hospital (if you can call it that). Gripping stuff.

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I feel bad for having missed the exhibit on extrajudicial killings, but am happy for weaving through all six floors of the venue before calling it a day. I have my husband and brother’s photos of the day to look back on, and I was able to stare, linger, and ponder on the works before me to my heart’s content.

In fact, consider these my best tips in enjoying an exhibit like Art Fair with a toddler in tow: have somebody who can sub taking care of the kid with you, and bring someone handy with a camera phone. Everyone will end up happy.

Many thanks, J and N.


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