art fairs

Visayas set to launch very first Art Fair for local artists

Lorraine Ecarma
Visayas set to launch very first Art Fair for local artists
In its four-day run, the event will feature physical art exhibits, art installations, and pop-up art stores

The Visayas Art Fair is all set to launch, with hopes of uniting local artists, galleries, and art collectives, and showcasing an art scene distinct to the Visayan islands.

“Art Fair Visayas: Connecting the Islands through Art,” the first of its kind in the region, will be held at the Montebello Hotel in Cebu City and will run from November 25 until November 28.

In its four-day run, the event will feature physical art exhibits, art installations, and pop-up art stores.

“Majority of them [artists] are telling me that it’s high time that they get out of their cocoon. They had been locked in for almost two years. And fortunately, most of them are creating good art in the process. And they can’t wait to be seen by the public,” Lorenza Boquiren, chairperson of the Art Fair, said.

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“I think this is the most opportune time for that, to present that to the world. All of them are very excited. We have artists [from] as far as Iloilo, Dumaguete…. We have Bacolod’s Orange Project,” she added.

During the virtual press briefer on Thursday, November 11, the organizers identified 17 artists and galleries from Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas who will be taking part in the historic event.

“Those of you who know the art scene know that the art scene here in the Visayas, Cebu in particular, is very traditional…. You will see that very big influence. If you go to contemporary art fairs in Manila, you’ll see very, very little traditional art. I’d like to say that’s one of the salient strengths of Cebuano artists,” said Visayas Art Fair overall consultant Kenneth Cobonpue.

“But we also want to develop another side to art – contemporary art by younger artists. And also by bringing NCR (National Capital Region) here. Art should never thrive in a vacuum. It should be an exchange of ideas, of techniques, of concepts,” he added.

Apart from the local participants in the Visayas, nine artists and galleries will also be joining the event to represent the NCR, in the hopes of making the Art Fair a platform for “exciting exchange” within the two islands.

The Visayas Art Fair is not only the first of its kind in the region but it also marks the revival of the art scene of the island’s various regions since the pandemic. From April of 2020, events and exhibitions have been put to a complete halt due to safety restrictions against COVID-19.

It was only until early 2021, upon isolated containment of local government units’ COVID-19 situations, that individual artists and collectives began putting up physical events once again, albeit restricted and limited only to a few participants.

The event is organized by Cebu Design Week, Inc., one of the leading art organizations in the Visayas, in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, the Sacred Heart School Batch 1985 Foundation, and the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation.

As protection against the pandemic, organizers remind fully vaccinated guests to present their vaccine cards. Non-vaccinated guests will undergo rapid antigen COVID-19 tests on-site. As another safety precaution against the pandemic, all events will take place in open-air venues throughout the hotel. –

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