Tubo Cebu Art Fair 2023: Juxtaposing art and life

John Sitchon

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Tubo Cebu Art Fair 2023: Juxtaposing art and life

ART. Art connoisseurs and lovers admired the pieces presented in exhibits at the Tubo Cebu Art Fair 2023 in Ayala Center Cebu on Friday, September 15.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

More than 500 artists present their works in multiple exhibits, introducing thought-provoking concepts and insightful commentaries on life

CEBU, Philippines – On its fifth anniversary, the Tubo Cebu Art Fair celebrated the many juxtapositions of art and life that surrounds the creative spaces of the province.

More than 500 artists came to the Ayala Center Cebu to showcase their works which brought the visuals of this year’s art fair to a whole new level. 

Artists, both old and new, conversed with each other and with curious audiences over the innate and external features of each of their paintings, art installations, and their philosophies in life.

Tubo Cebu Art Fair curator Jay Nathan Jore told Rappler that since the inception of the event in 2018, that the art fair has grown as shown by the bigger venue in the latest iteration, providing more opportunities for regional artists.

Jore added that there are more young artists at this year’s art fair, and that the sectioning of exhibits has expanded to accommodate them.

Electronics, Mobile Phone, Phone
ART APPRECIATION. Visitors appreciate art work at the exhibit. Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

In this year’s art fair, there are four main sections that the audience can visit until September 17.

There is the Emerge section for first-time participating artists, the Enclaves section for established artists, the Encounters section for artists that work with Cebuano contemporary art, and the Evolve section which features student-made works that are process-driven and critical in nature.

A special section has also been set up for signature collection works of renowned artists including Alex Ordoyo, Anton Quisumbing, Cezar Arro, Charlie Co, Gary Carabio, and Geovanni Abing.

A natural response

Of the many veteran artists who were present at the art fair opening on September 15, Filipino painter Romulo Galicano was there to make a bold statement about man-made disasters and the philosophy of “natural flow.”

In his piece, The Messengers of Geo Engineering, Galicano described the world’s calamities as the outcome of man’s hubris and tampering with the natural order.

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MESSENGERS. Romulo Galicano’s piece, priced at P6.5 million, can be seen at the Signature Collection exhibit in The Gallery, Ayala Center Cebu. 

He shared that as of late, many international organizations, specifically from western countries, have been conducting experiments that were detrimental to the environment which manifested in disasters much like the pandemic.

His piece, oil on canvas, features nuclear weapons and representations of suffering that took the form of everyday Filipinos. One can also spot on the oil painting men riding on horses, reminiscent of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

For Galicano, there is no better opportunity to expose this truth of life than through art, which he added, is “a natural response to the environment.”

To grow with

The translation for the Cebuano word “tubo” is growth and in this year’s art fair, Marianne Guinto has grown from doing sketches at age 10 to creating commissioned art pieces at age 18.

According to organizers, she has been part of the fair since 2019.

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YOUTH. Marianne Guinto began her journey as an artist at age 10 and has since been creating art professionally. Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Guinto told Rappler that her creative journey involved plenty of support from her parents and friends, education from artists like architect Loloy Castro, and the platform provided by Tubo Cebu Art Fair.

From watercolor to oil paintings, a majority of her work reflects images of Cebu, her hometown, and of places that were captured in photographs by friends and family. She and her father, Marlowe, a photographer, often share unique subjects together while going out on trips.

Her current favorite painting is of a great blue heron which took her weeks to complete – time that was fortunately available during the pandemic. 

“I think younger people joining [art fairs] bring more ideas to this industry and there’s a lot of us that can bring something new,” Guinto said.

With hundreds of new artists joining the scene, Tubo Cebu Art Fair director Allen Tan said that they will plant close to 600 trees to commemorate the growth of Cebu’s art industry and advocacy. –

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