BenCab and Dexter Sy
New art galleries joined the recent 7th Art Fair Philippines, such as District Gallery, founded in 2017 by Artist Playground under composer Jesse Lucas and actor Roeder Camañag with Atty. Edsel Velasco of St. Vincent School.
The art gallery featured Nasser Lubay’s “Cosmic Fermination.” Lubay won the 2009 Celeste International Art Prize in Germany for his work “Rebirth.” His painting “Glimpse to Transcendence” was exhibited at the Florence Biennale in 2017.
District Gallery also featured another Celeste winner, Luca Bray from Italy. His gestural abstracts in oil on paper and canvas consisted of black and muted blue, orange and gray interspersed with Tagalog calligraphic messages in charcoal and pencil.
Located at 112 West Avenue, Quezon City, District Gallery is currently exhibiting the works of Jessica Lopez, 2018 Maningning Miclat Art Award grand prize winner.
Lopez won the 8th biennial Maningning Award with her piece entitled “Motion of Life.” Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, head of the jury composed of Egai Talusan Fernandez and Dexter Sy, described Lopez’s work as having an “outstanding classic and contemporary qualities … made up of tiny fishbones. This element of decay is utilized in a practical economy of means where impeccable visual execution successfully surprises us.”
For her 1st solo exhibit at District Gallery titled “Thorn,” Lopez gathered fishbones from fish of different kinds and sizes to depict, she says, “the pain and sufferings of Jesus Christ.”
Not a stranger to hardships, college dropout Lopez thought of using for her artwork the tilapia fishbone while eating at the canteen of an art workshop she was attending in Ifugao province.
After winning the Maningning Award last September, she worked on the pieces for her current exhibit and did commissioned works using her fishbones as material not only for her paintings now, but also for her new ventures in sculpture.
Meanwhile, on the 10th anniversary of the BenCab Museum in Baguio City, Dexter Sy opened a solo exhibit yet again. This is his 15th solo exhibit since winning the 1st Maningning Miclat Art Award in 2004.
“Mark Time” at the BenCab Museum shows 26 pieces of intricate depictions of traditional and contemporary cultures of his Chinese lineage and Filipino heritage. Sy’s elaborate works blend folk art with familial, religious and common elements of his dual cultural backgrounds to create iconographic pieces.
Sold out were his paintings at the Vernissage of Art Fair Philippines last February showcased by 1335 Mabini Gallery.
After the Bencab Museum exhibit that will last until April 21, the prolific and much sought after artist will have his shows in Malaysia and Italy.
“Art Fair Philippines shows the vibrant state of our economy,” says retired UP professor Mario Miclat, as he toured his visitor from Australia, Dr. Peter Janssen. “We walk around not in a quiet and peaceful exhibit, but in a jubilant market place.” —CONTRIBUTED