The Philippines is slowly becoming one of the most famous travel destinations in Southeast Asia. Beyond the pristine beaches and the sweet smiles of its resilient people, the country is nest for the amazing art hub – Quezon City. If you are an art enthusiast always longing for contemporary art, this city is the place to be.
A mirror of what Filipino artists live for – imagination, romanticism, struggle, resilience, and passion.
The city has been named after a former President and it has also served as the country’s capital for 28 years. Being the largest and most populous city around Metro Manila, Quezon has indeed impacted the history and progress of the region. In addition, it is one of the most popular cities for its vibrant art scene. It is home for various commercial and contemporary galleries. The galleries offer platforms for local artists from the various cities, provinces, and islands of the country. They too are avenues for collaborations.
Right now, Quezon City takes pride in being the womb of the following galleries:
Blanc Gallery is a fearless and innovative space that have showcased local and international talents. It has been the breeding ground for the greatest Filipino artists. Founded in 2006, it has definitely gone a long way.
Founded in 2000 by Norberto Roldan and Donna Miranda, Green Papaya has witnessed hearts aflame. It is an independent project which has been centered in contemporary arts, exchange, and intellectual discussions.
Emitting an abundance of energy, their enthusiasm for contemporary artistic practice and experimentation is infectious. The gallery collaborates with other creative establishments to explore the cross section between art, theatre and film, and expands on dialogues between social, cultural and artistic backgrounds.
This art gallery started because Carina Guevarra began collecting art. Her house number is 19B. From her own home, she was able to display various artworks and even sell them. As the gallery grew, she had to move to a bigger space in Cubao. Art 19B is a great place to experience art and to begin your art collector steps. Initially the gallery owner just wanted an extension of her deep fondness for art. Today, it has been a place of many sorts of awe and inspiration.
An art space known for diversity in art form through the various exhibitions, its curatorial skill is commendable. It has moved so many artists and appreciators alike.
With these numerous galleries catering to various art forms and styles, there is so much to experience. The number of art galleries present in the city only shows how the arts has been an important component of the city’s culture, development, and evolution.
And, of course these galleries will never continue to thrive and progress without the amazing Filipino artists who are making waves not just in Quezon City but the whole global village.
Contemporary reality and folk narratives in big scale paintings… Tapaya is indeed one of the most popular artists in the Philippines right now. Known for his work, Cane of Kabunian, Numbered But Cannot Be Counted (2010) won him the 2011 edition of the Signature Art Prize.
More than the awards, Tapaya has shown the grandeur of the Philippine folklore – the timelessness of storytelling; the power of the modern man in challenging the limits of his creativity. To add, Tapaya’s other popular works inculcate values and reminders to mankind.
His works are always a reminder of that citadel where Filipino roots and openness collide.
Famous for an auctioned work worth 11 million US dollars at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, Ventura’s work depict the multi-layered Philippine culture. The country which was colonized by various countries for hundreds of years has inspired him to create the most honest and brilliant works. Ventura’s fearlessness in expressing his perspectives about issues that matter has been notable and admirable.
To date, Ventura is a huge inspiration to aspiring artists who believe in the impact of art in sending important messages across, and starting changes.
Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan
Artist couple that has been attracting international attention because of their massive installation, “Flight”. Their works reach the cores of those who experience their art for they are based on memory, community, displacement, and migration (to which so many Filipinos can relate to).
These two are truly a delight to know about. Their works are imaginative and playful but at the same time very comforting, emotional, nostalgic, and communal.
All objects are in fact, provisional …their identity, materiality, image, and usage, all depend on a mass consensus which in itself is a construct’, this is where Pastrana’s works revolve. He is known for deconstructing familiar objects into something conceptual. One of his most-known works is “Two Rings” which features a sword made of the melted rings of his Mother.
Pastrana inspires budding creators to just follow where your creativity and curiosity takes you. And, to always see beauty in the mundane.
Co-founder of 98B Collaboratory, Mark has been contributing tremendously in the art scene of Manila and the country. His work feature issues on urbanism and daily politics. This multidisciplinary artist’s works range from photography, drawing, video, installation, and other interactive projects.
Salvatus is being looked up to by artists who believe that the streets speak so much of a whole nation. His creativity knows no medium.
Multimedia works of Cordero are humorous and grotesque. He is inspired by the fusion of indigenous traditions, American pop culture, and Spanish Catholicism which are all influential in the Philippines. There is something very personal in his expression while those who experience his art will truly find him unforgettable. One of his most notable works is “My We” which was showcased at Singapore Biennale in 2011. It features various artworks about his own personal take on the recent killings of Filipinos singing Frank Sintara’s song in the karaoke (videoke).
Cordero stands for the bulletproof Filipino spirit. They always find humor even in the most trying times.
They are just five of the many talented artists who are enlivening the local art and international art scene. If you really think of it further, Filipino artists have so much to offer – the Quezon City art scene and Manila as a whole is overflowing with diversity, good kind of madness, and uniqueness.
It is truly connected to what the city is – a meeting of the old and the new, a witness to the ever-changing city full of jeepneys and busy people, a center for commerce, pursuits, and passions. Whether you are travelling around Manila, Quezon City deserves your time and energy.
Let your feet meander and let your spirit be touched, challenged, tickled, and fuelled.