Editor’s note: This press release is sponsored by Robinsons Malls and was handled by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the publishing of this piece.
The people behind Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) believe in the ingenuity and artistry of Filipino artists. RLC decided to provide a platform for artists from all walks of life, allocating space at the third floor of Robinsons Galleria in Ortigas to hold exhibitions for art practitioners who deserve to showcase their artistic vision and talent.
Since 2020, Robinsons Land’s ARTablado (a portmanteau of “art” and “entablado”) has hosted 29 exhibitions and over 150 Filipino painters and sculptors. ARTablado hopes to expand its art portfolio in the future to include photography, architecture, film, cultural artifacts, literature, music and performance art.
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, ARTablado launched its first national art competition with the theme “Create” to help Filipino artists during the long periods of lockdown and inspire them to soldier on despite the global health crisis. The response was overwhelming: 94 entries were submitted from Metro Manila, Luzon and Visayas, with Ambrocio Mallari and Romer Kagayutan emerging as grand prize winners in the Representational and Non-Representational categories, respectively.
In February 2021, ARTablado mounted a show titled “New Hope” to help artists who were greatly affected by recent typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. On view were works by Vicson Apostol, Salvador “Buddy” Ching, David De Vera, Rigor Esguerra, France Landicho, Rudy Lunod, Mary Jane Palma, Thomas Papa, Myleen Velasquez, and Gabriel Villalobos.
Also in 2021, Robinsons Land ARTablado partnered with Roman Scholarship Fund Inc. (RSFI), a program involved in giving scholarships to deserving indigent students and artists. A special art competition -exhibit showcasing the artistry of senior citizens was presented titled “Light, Color and Joy in Time of Pandemic.” Daisy Carlos won first prize for her artwork titled “Stop and Smell the Flowers,” while “Flowers in My Window” by Joey Rodulfo and “Gumamela” by Al Perez placed second and third place, respectively.
Toward the end of the year, Robinsons Land ARTablado sought to turn Christmas 2021 into a more optimistic affair by holding a card making contest titled “ChristmaSAYA sa Robinsons Malls.” The competition was divided into two divisions: Division 1 was open to Filipino children aged 6 to 8 years old while Division 2 was open to their 9- to 12-year-old counterparts. With this ARTablado initiative, kids all over the Philippines were able to encapsulate wonderful memories and immortalize them in art form. The first prize winners were Franzel Eunice Yaneza with “Season of Joy and Sharing” and Ayanna Emry Manuel with “Glee and Grace in Robinsons.”
Last July, Robinsons Land’s ARTablado collaborated with ARTipolo and PARC Foundation in presenting “ARTiPARC: Shades, Shapes, and Stories.” Using art as its platform, ARTipolo has been raising funds for various charitable and professional organizations – with youths and children as beneficiaries of these exhibits and auctions. With a roster of 75 artists, this is by far the biggest show Robinsons Land ARTablado has ever hosted since its establishment in 2020.
In the same month, ARTablado hosted “Create” painting competition winner Ambrocio “Boy” Mallari’s solo show (the first-ever for this 65-year-old artist). Billed as “Nostalgia: Ode to Art Journey,” the exhibit is Mallari’s grand statement about “remembering the past, celebrating the present, and looking forward to a better future.” One can consider it a throwback to those glorious days of hand-painted movie posters and billboards in the late Seventies that reminded Mang Ambrocio of bittersweet memories – the hardships in life cushioned by a daily dalliance with paint, canvas and inspiration.
Notable artists have also mounted solo shows at ARTablado. Carlos “Totong” Francisco II, the grandson of Botong, was the artist in ARTablado’s inaugural show titled “Revival” in February 2020. Mylene Quito was the first female artist to mount an exhibition at ARTabaldo with her “Portraits and Patterns of Unconditional Love.” Migs Salazar – the first Filipino visual artist to win the Bust of Pablo Picasso International Art Prize for 2019 in Lecce, Italy – presented “To The Moon and Back” last June. After Salazar, Valerie Teng (an ARTablado discovery) mounted “Secret Garden,” which celebrates her journey in art via renderings of nature.
Art groups have also benefited from the platform provided by RLC. Artists from Batangas collectively known as Vice Versa Artist Group presented over 100 artworks (the most number of pieces displayed in ARTablado) in a show titled “Figment Beyond Pigments.” Artists from Quezon Province exhibited their works from February 16 to 28 this year at Galleria. “From My Roots” featured Avie Abadilla, Frank Hari, Glenmore Lawig, Jake Alano, Joel Reglos, Melo Valencia, Nelle Amador, Raffa Dala, Tres Roman and Tristan Bamba.
In May 2022, RLC opened its second ARTablado at the Upper Ground Floor, North Wing of Robinsons Place Antipolo. Sining Rizal presented the inaugural show of ARTablado in Robinsons Place Antipolo from May 28 to June 15. “Sangkutsa” featured the works of the artist group founded in 2009, whose members hail from the towns around Laguna Lake and the luscious mountain ranges.
Mindoro’s landscapes and seascapes were depicted by 10 Mindoreños (including Wilfredo Rufon, Rodel Cruzado, Lulu Lladones, Chressa Yee Rufon, Ralph John Fatallo, Anna Lumpas, Vanessa Tria, Windsor Magnaye, Angelo Provido, and Nilo Evangelista) in a show titled “Unlimited Grace,” which opened last May 16.
ARTablado’s impact has been instantaneous for members of the art community that have been pining for a platform where commerce is not of utmost consideration. ARTablado does not charge artists for the exhibition space or take a cut from the sale of artworks; it even generously hosts the cocktail reception on opening night.
Wilfredo “Jun” Rufon shares, “Maraming group exhibition na akong nasalihan at naka-tatlong one-man shows na ako, pero in terms of opening, preparation, promotion, manpower – naku – kakaiba ang ARTablado… parang fiesta! (I have joined many group exhibitions and mounted three one-man shows, but in terms of opening, preparation, promotion, manpower – oh, boy – ARTablado is different. It’s like a fiesta!)””
According to Rico Aunzo a.k.a. Pedrong Masipag: “Malaking bagay po para sa akin at sa career ko na maibahagi ang aking talento sa pamamagitan ng Robinsons Land ARTablado. Pagdating po sa pag-aasikaso nila sa artist ay hindi ito matatawaran (It’s a big deal for me and my career to share my talent through Robinsons Land ARTablado. When it comes to taking care of artists, they pull out all the stops).”
“Damang-dama ko ang kanilang tulong upang makilala ang isang artist na kagaya ko. Kaya naman maraming artists ang nangangarap na makapag-exhibit sa ARTablado dahil umaangat ang level nila kapag nakapag-exhibit na sila dito (I really feel their help in pushing artists like me to be recognized. That’s why a lot of artists dream of exhibiting at ARTablado because it raises their level when they do),” shares Ramil Tumampos.
Valerie Teng says, “ARTablado is a significant venue for emerging artists to showcase their art. It nurtures and encourages up-and-coming artists to come out of their shell and share their ideas through their artworks. I am truly honored to be part of this family.”
“(ARTablado is) one of the best platforms for showcasing talent, creativity, artistry in the field of visual arts,” enthuses Rafael “Popoy” Cusi.
“Kung ilalarawan ko sa isang salita ang experience ko sa ARTablado bilang artist, ito ay ang salitang ‘blessing.’ Para sa akin, ang ARTablado ay isang malaking blessing at oportunidad para sa mga artists na kagaya ko na gustong i-showcase ang kanilang passion. Dahil din sa ARTablado nagkaroon ako ng karagdagang market at clients-collectors. Lubos ang aking pasasalamat sa ARTablado (If I were to describe my experience with ARTablado as an artist, it would be ‘blessing.’ For me, ARTablado is one big blessing and opportunity for artists like me who want to showcase their passion. It was because of ARTablado that my market expanded and I got more client-collectors. I am extremely grateful to ARTablado),” explains Marpolo Cabrera.
To further promote Filipino artistry, RLC has put up ARTablado artworks in its properties: “Taal Volcano Scenery Pattern Series” by Mylene Quito at Café Summit and pieces by the ARTfinity Group at the lobby of Summit Ridge Tagaytay; Totong Francisco’s “Full Bloom” is at Xin Tian Di, Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila; “Stay Gold, Naga” by Melli Villavicencio and Kim Mamaril welcomes guests at Summit Hotel Naga; Jake Alano’s “Girl with Fruit Basket” is installed at the 25th Floor of Robinsons Cyberscape Alpha, just to name a few.
Now with ARTablado, Filipino artists from all walks of life have a stage, a platform, a space to share their vision, capture the imagery that obsesses their hearts, and realize that inescapable visual poetry just dying to be born. – Rappler.com