Digital exhibits, art talks and satellite sites aim to push the event even in the midst of a pandemic.
I n a time when a lot of events are being postponed or cancelled, ManilART—one of the largest art fairs in the country—will not only be occurring; it will also be expanding.
This is partly because of what happened last year. Due to the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19,) event organizers from all over the country were forced to either do away with their plans (at least for the year) or adapt to heed health concerns. The minds behind the art fair chose the latter. They set up strict safety protocols and limited the foot traffic in their exhibits. Furthermore, they developed an interactive online platform that allowed people to view featured works from the safety of remote locations. The organizers of the event plan to do the same again this year and with these in place, they believe that can they can realistically pursue various endeavors that are in line with their 2021 theme: “Continuing Legacies.”
“This year, ManilART shall take place from October 13 to 17 at the SMX Convention Center,” the press release of the event said. There, they intend to commemorate the fair’s 13th year by once again featuring some of the most relevant artists and galleries in the country today. Simultaneously, they will also be holding art talks that will be available online. Tickets for these will be available through TicketBooth.ph and all information needed for the event may be found on their website.
“Through holding both online and onsite events henceforth, both safety and accessibility are addressed,” the release said. “The website will continue to provide full virtual walkthroughs, as well as asynchronous online activities for art education.”
Aside from this, however, the event will also do more this year. In the same release given to this publication, the organizers unveiled their plans to set up satellite sites outside Metro Manila.
“In its ten years as the national art fair, ManilART has spearheaded efforts not just to bring together different regions to the capital, but also to help these regions gain traction in the bigger art scene,” the groups. Their plans this year aim to further that goal.
In Rizal for example, ManilART is planning to put up “Likhang Silangan: The Art EASTory of Rizal.” Running from October 10 to 23 at Angkla Art Gallery, this will attempt to prove why Rizal is known as “the Cradle of Philippine Art.” It will showcase visual artists including Rizaleños like Juan “Tandang Juancho” Senson, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, and Vicente Manansala.
ManilART will also be involved further up north through Tarlac Art. To be held from October 1 to 22 at Diwa ng Tarlac, this endeavor by the city’s Provincial Government will be the first visual arts exhibit exclusively featuring artists from the province.
And then there’s Balai Kalipay, a museum gallery in the Malagos mountains co-founded by visual artist Kublai Millan. “Its particular advocacy is to showcase the indigenous art of contemporary Mindanawon artists in situ,” the release said. The ManilART affiliated showcase here will be done in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs Cultural Diplomacy Unit.
In solidarity with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, ManilART will also join in the quincentennial commemorations by featuring activities and exhibits of the National Quincentennial Committee. It will also be hosting the NQC-ManilART Lounge.
“ManilART remains steadfast in its dedication to its purpose,” the release said adding that it does this while constantly expanding partnerships and innovating with the times. Proof of that, of course is the fact that the event will push through—even in a time when events of its kind are being postponed or cancelled altogether.