IN PHOTOS: The classic, the quirky, and more at ManilArt 2017

Rhea Claire Madarang

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IN PHOTOS: The classic, the quirky, and more at ManilArt 2017
From idyllic oil on canvas scenes to moving sculptures and LED display art, there is something for all art lovers at ManilArt 2017

MANILA, Philippines – The traditional, the unusual, and the whimsical all found a stage at the ManilArt 2017 this weekend. Idyllic scenes on canvas, luminous paint, moving sculptures, giant marble eggs, carved ostrich eggs, LED display art, and more could be found at the exhibit of over 30 galleries around the Philippines, including a Singaporean gallery.

DIFFERENT GALLERIES. ManilArt this year brought together art from more than 30 participating galleries.

ManilArt Foundation, together with the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, brought together both new and established artists alike, including National Artist Benedict Cabrera, more popularly known as BenCab.

NATIONAL ARTIST’S CREATION. ManilArt displays art from both young and established artists. This is a sculpture series by National Artist BenCab. His subject here is Sabel, a recurring subject also in his paintings and who is based on a real person.

Now on its 9th year, ManilArt’s theme this year was “The Philippines as an ASEAN Cultural Powerhouse.” The event, held at SMX Convention Center in Taguig City, showcased Filipino artists’ contributions to the art scene in the region. 

Even from outside the convention center, pieces by ManilArt artists were already visible at the mall, as well as at the entrance of the event.

PEACE OF PIE. Upon entering SM Aura, the visitor can already see this artwork by Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” Ponce Millan, made of sculptures of the Maranao mythical bird sarimanok, and of the wealthy, the masses, the children, and the ancestors, standing guard over the “pieces of peace.”

 PEACE AND JOY. Kublai’s exhibit “Kalipayapaan,” a combination of the words kalipay (joy) and kapayapaan (peace), could already be enjoyed right outside the ManilArt venue. This painting here shows interfaith harmony among indigenous peoples, Muslims, and Christians.

The galleries inside the event displayed both conventional and unconventional art.

TRADITIONAL. Paintings with idyllic scenes and life-sized sculptures like those in this photo can be found in the exhibit.

BAHAY KUBO. There are even artworks like this one from Manuel Baldemor that summon idyllic scenes of rural life

CUBISM. “Rehearsal” by Roger San Miguel also calls to mind idyllic scenes in Filipino life.

Some of the traditional subjects were created with a fresh approach through the materials used.

OLD MANILA. “Viaje” is part of the artist Dominic Rubio’s “Ilustrado” sculpture series portraying scenes from Old Manila.


MUSE. Lisa de Leon Zayco and Jules Ozaeta’s Muse series is made of mosaic and wire.


NAIL AND THREAD. “Kayumanggi” by Govinda Marquesto is made of threads and nails.


Some artists also paid homage to established foreign artists by recreating their works.

GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING. “Homage Johannes Vermeer” by Dante Silverio re-creates paintings by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.


STARRY, STARRY NIGHT. Chito Borja created his own version of Van Gogh’s famous painting, with the grass here made from staple wires.


THE THINKER. Edwin Ladrillo’s painting alludes to Auguste Rodin’s sculpture.


TREE OF LIFE. This triptych made of beads and other mixed media by Lon de Cruz takes after Gustav Klimt’s own “Tree of Life” painting.

Meanwhile, some artists used conventional materials but had unique subjects or interpretations of them.

JULIET. This painting, according to Rellie Liwag, is her imagination of a Filipino version of the tragic heroine in Romeo and Juliet.


NATURE. Isobel Francisco’s series figuratively shows the relationship between humans and nature. This one is titled “Grassland.”

BIRDMAN. Raul Lebajo is the Philippines’ pioneer in environmental surrealism. His works usually have an environmental theme like this.

MODERN DANCE. Some artworks, like this by Frenk Sison, also make a social commentary.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PAINTING IN THE WORLD. Some paintings can get philosophical like this one, which shows an empty canvas. The artist Rovi Salegumba says that the most beautiful painting is subjective to the viewer.

WHIMSY. Some paintings are whimsical, like “A Delightful Series” by Rosscapili.

SIGNATURE. Others have signature subjects. Karen de Pano Picadizo uses barrel-shaped women to convey femininity, fullness, and abundance. This diptych is titled “Serenity” and “Circle of Joy.”

ORIGINAL CHARACTER. Meanwhile, Reen Barrera has created his own original character and universe with his “Ohlaland” series.

Abstract paintings also had a fresh take.

CLOUDS. Fitz Herrera’s “Ulap” series showed the many forms of the clouds according to the artist’s imagination.

SKY. “Serenade of the Skies” here also portrays the mind. This artwork is part of Justin Nuyda’s Mindscape Search series.

LUMINOUS. Meanwhile, “Eternal” and “Infinity” by Marcos Coching used luminous paint.

GLASS. Ramon Orlina, a well-known glass sculptor who is known for pioneering sculpting glass in its solid state, portrays different concepts like intimacy (shown by pink sculpture on the foreground) through his art.

Some artworks, on the other hand, used both unique materials and subjects.

INDIGENOUS TEXTILES. Ilocano artist Jay Harold Hidalgo’s “Playful Mind” series makes use of Ilocos’ indigenous weaves to portray the people he has encountered, including the weavers.

PAINTING SCULPTURE. Michael Cacnio’s brass sculpture is laid out like a painting. Entitled “Kabute,” it alludes to how informal settlers’ homes sprout like mushrooms in Metro Manila.

GARBAGE ART. Jeff Cablog’s “Colors of Excess” series is made from trash like bottle caps.

SCRAPS. Demi Padua’s “Layered” is made of scraps, a social commentary on how the rest of the rhinoceros is discarded once its precious horn is poached.

FLIGHT. “I Believe I Can Fly” by Jinggoy Salcedo uses stainless steel and borosilicate glass.

STORYBOOK. Conneth Amido’s “The Catch Beyond Box” and “Unbounded Journey” look like a pop-up storybook.

VIOLIN ART. Here, in Buds Convocar’s artworks, the violin is both the subject and the canvas.

MARBLE EGGS. Jonathan’s marble eggs encased in brass are part of the “Genesis” series.

OSTRICH EGGS. Meanwhile, Danny Rayos del Sol carves patterns on real ostrich eggs. His series is a homage to the Philippines, especially to his hometown Taguig.

Some of the artworks at ManilArt move, too!

Below are kinetic wood sculptures by Cris Eguaras.


AADA’S LED display art “Amble, Pace, Trot & Canter” is actually a moving optical illusion, according to the artist.



ManilArt also had its share of foreign artists.

SINGAPOREAN GALLERY. The Singapore International Contemporary Art Society displays works both by Filipino and foreign artists. Here is an artwork from Korean Kim Min-Kyoung.

ISRAELI ARTIST. David Gerstein makes artworks from laser-cut steel, like these unique bowls.

Aside from the exhibit, the October 12-15 event also featured artists’ talks, workshops, live art demonstrations, performances, and art appreciation tours. –

Claire Madarang is a writer, researcher, and documenter whose work and wanderlust takes her to adventures like backpacking for seven weeks and exploring remote islands and bustling cities alike. Follow her adventures, travel tips, and epiphanies on her blog Traveling Light and on her Instagram.

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Rhea Claire Madarang

Claire Madarang is a traveler, writer, biodiversity communications practitioner, and facilitator of nature play activities. Follow her adventures, travel tips, and reflections on her blog Traveling Light and on her Instagram