7 ways you can make the most out of your visit at Art Fair Philippines

Pace yourself so you won't get art-ed out

Now on its seventh year, Art Fair Philippines is reaching a wider audience with a more inclusive lineup of artworks, photographs and interactive exhibits that aim to offer a unique and enriching experience — for both art enthusiasts and the mildly curious.

We explored four floors of contemporary art before it opened to public at Makati City in Manila to help you make the most out of your visit:

1. Choose your top artists beforehand

Do you know which major rides you want to catch before entering a theme park? Apply the same strategy with the Art Fair. Check out their official hashtag #ArtFairPH on social media to see if there are crowd favorites that you may want to prioritize. Tick your must-see exhibits (artfairphilippines.com/afp-exhibitorsfirst before exploring the rest. Check out this year’s highlight: ARTFAIRPH/PROJECTS, works commissioned just for the fair: artfairphilippines.com/art-fair-ph-projects.

If it’s your first time to attend, we also recommend photographer Adriana Griner’s free guided tours daily from 11:00am to 12:00pm. Slots are limited, so come early!

Oscar Villamiel’s “Cheap Medicine”
Oscar Villamiel’s “Cheap Medicine”
Christina Quisumbing Ramilo’s “Forest for the Trees”
Christina Quisumbing Ramilo’s “Forest for the Trees”
Ian Fabro’s “Inferno Purgatorio Paradiso”
Ian Fabro’s “Inferno Purgatorio Paradiso”

2. Take the stairs, but also take breaks

Avoid the ridiculously long elevator queue by taking the stairs. The whole fair spans from the fourth to seventh floor. That stairmaster workout equivalent, coupled with exploring and artwork analyzing might make you feel exhausted — especially if your goal is to see all 52 exhibits. Pace yourself. Take a break after every floor so that you won’t get art-ed out. There are mini bars, pop-up restos, and coffee shops around the fair. Some are even decked out to look like they’re part of the exhibits.

Tsaa Laya Tea Salon and Artisinal Gelato
Tsaa Laya Tea Salon and Artisinal Gelato
Archipelago Botanical Gin has its own installation
Archipelago Botanical Gin has its own installation
Havana oo na na? It’s Don Papa Rum’s pop-up cocktail bar
Havana oo na na? It’s Don Papa Rum’s pop-up cocktail bar

3. Instagram with caution

Denis Bato’s “Consequence.” Be careful not to knock down the little figures!
Denis Bato’s “Consequence.” Be careful not to knock down the little figures!

With 36 local galleries and 16 international galleries in the fair, expect plenty of artworks to pop out, making you want to curate your own Instagram feed and stories. Just make sure you read the Art Fair Etiquette on the fourth floor, which requests that both children and adults take caution not to trample on, or damage any of the works while taking a selfie for the ‘gram. You break it, you bought it.

MM Yu’s “Subject/Object”
MM Yu’s “Subject/Object”
Yeo Kaa’s psychedellic, quirky installation "I don't know baby"
Yeo Kaa’s psychedellic, quirky installation “I don’t know baby”

4. Reach out and touch something…

…but not everything. There are several interactive installations, such as David Medalla’s “A Stitch In Time,” where you may sew a trace of yourself onto a huge swathe of canvas hanging at the center of the fourth floor; the late Ray Albano’s “Step on the Sand and Make Footprints,” which is exactly as it describes; Jim Oreno’s “Healing Grounds,” where you may step on the fallen leaves that cover the floor surrounding the painting; and the “Flipping Out” flipbooks at Mo_Space.

On the left is the entrance to Ray Albano’s “Step on the Sand and Make Footprints”
On the left is the entrance to Ray Albano’s “Step on the Sand and Make Footprints”
David Medalla’s new iteration of “A Stitch In Time,” which was first conceptualized in 1968
David Medalla’s new iteration of “A Stitch In Time,” which was first conceptualized in 1968
Jim Oreno’s “Healing Grounds”
Jim Oreno’s “Healing Grounds”

5. Support an advocacy

Some artists used their exhibits to bring awareness to their personal advocacies. Daniel Dela Cruz’s “Finding The Light” exhibit hidden in the seventh floor is hailed by mental health advocates as one of the standout multimedia exhibits of the fair. Also check out the anti-plastic, environmental messages of the artists at Underground (Exhibit #49), and Olivia D’Aboville’s “Everything, Everywhere, Everyone”, which is made entirely of single-use plastics.

Olivia D’Aboville’s “Everything, Everywhere, Everyone” is made entirely of single-use plastics
Plastic is fantastic in this case: Olivia D’Aboville’s “Everything, Everywhere, Everyone”
Daniel Dela Cruz’s “Finding The Light” tackles mental health awareness
Daniel Dela Cruz’s “Finding The Light” tackles mental health awareness

6. Attend the talks

A small auditorium in the 5/F is reserved for the daily art talks, in collaboration with the Ateneo Art Gallery and Museum Foundation of the Philippines. The two-hour talks from conversations with artists to learning about freelance tax, include speakers such as Dr. Kathryn Calley Galitz, author of The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings and Felipe Botero, grandson of the renowned Colombian artist: artfairphilippines.com/art-fair-ph-talks

7. Don’t miss the works of the late greats

Art Fair pays tribute to some of the greatest Filipino artists who are no longer with us, such as Jose “Joe” V. Ayala, Jr. (1932-2002), Ray Albano (1947-1985), and Mauro “Malang” Santos (1928-2017).

Mauro “Malang” Santos’ special exhibit called, “Malang’s Women”
Mauro “Malang” Santos’ special exhibit called, “Malang’s Women”
Joe Ayala’s paintings
Joe Ayala’s paintings

Art Fair Philippines runs from February 22-24, 2019, 10:00am to 9:00pm, 4/F-7/F of The Link Carpark, Ayala Mall Center, Makati. Online ticket reservation is closed, but you may still purchase tickets at 4/F for P350 (regular adult) or P250 (students, seniors, and PWD). artfairphilippines.comfb.com/artfairph

Written and Photographed

Kate Alvarez

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