By Alyosha J. Robillos

(An edited version of this article appears in the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

As it aptly coincides with the celebration of Museums and Galleries Month, ManilArt, the country’s longest-running art fair, returns this October with the theme “Raising the Filipino Colors on the World Stage.”

manilart 2015

Helping uplift Philippine art and the state of the local art industry are 30 galleries participating in ManilArt 2015, which will run from October 8 to 11 at the SMX Convention Center of SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Among the exhibitors are Singaporean galleries Art Prime Contemporary and Bruno Gallery of the Bruno Art Group, which also has offices and galleries in Israel, Turks, and Caicos Islands, and the U.S.

Other participating galleries in ManilArt 2015 are 1335 Mabini, 371 Art Space, Archivo, Arte Pintura, Artery Manila, Artes Orientes, Art for Space, Art Galileia, Artologist, Big and Small, CMG Gallerie, Gabaldon Heritage, Galerie Anna, Galerie Artes, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Nicolas, Galerie Raphael, Galerie Y, Gallery Big, Gallery Nine, Quattrocento, Renaissance, and Vmeme.

Orlina sculptures greet art fair visitors.

Orlina sculptures greet art fair visitors.

The art fair, again supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will also be home to a two-part exhibition that spotlights a recent benchmark in Philippine art: the country’s historic return to the Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition after a 51-year hiatus. Before its participation in the Venice Biennale this year, the first and last time Manila took part in the international art fair was for its 32nd edition in 1964.

While the exhibit shall allow fairgoers to revisit the country’s 1964 entry, it will also give the public snippets of the 2015 Philippine Pavilion, plus some behind-the-scenes access to the efforts that went into the historic return. Main proponents of the much-awaited comeback were the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Office of Sen. Loren Legarda, and the NCCA. Representing the country at the 56th Venice Biennale are curator Dr. Patrick Flores, filmmaker Mariano “Manny” Montelibano III, and artist Jose Tence Ruiz.

Other fair highlights

Also on board this year are artists Bonifacio Juan, Gerry Torres, and Jonathan Olazo, who returns as the art fair’s overall curator.

Juan, an artist and production designer affiliated with the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), will be creating the looks for NCCA-ManilArt 2015’s lounge and reception area.

From his arresting origami-ceiling installation to his bold, two-dimensional deconstruction of the Torre de Manila controversy, Juan’s designs for the 2015 ManilArt are definite must-sees.

An architect, artist, educator, and administrator in art, design, and museology, Torres, will be at the helm of a ManilArt tradition – the Walking Tour. Fairgoers who wish to attend any of the Walking Tours are in good hands with Torres, who currently holds the post of Campus Art Director of the College of Saint Benilde in Manila. The tours will be held from October 9 to 11, 1:30p.m. and 4p.m. daily.

Students from St. Scolastica

Members of the Art Society of St. Scholastica’s College, Manila with Department Head Prof. Joselito Kabayan.

As part of its exposure program, ManilArt this year takes under its wing Fine Arts students of St. Scholastica’s College, Manila as official usherettes and ushers. Civic groups Zonta and Rotary Clubs shall also sponsor the visit of about a thousand public school students including a group from the Philippine Science High School.

And for those looking to learn something new, the Metrobank Lecture Series presents a wide range of topics that are less discussed in symposiums on culture and the arts.

The therapeutic nature of the visual arts will be covered in “Art & Healing,” while disaster preparedness and art conservation will be discussed in “Art Go Bag 101.” “Private Collection and the PRECUP,” on the other hand, will be tackling a longstanding question: Is the registration of privately owned artworks a mere option, or a national obligation?

ManilArt shall host separate previews for buyers as well as the press on October 8.

Fairgoers may also look forward to art workshops at the 2015 ManilArt.

This year’s ManilArt is brought to audiences by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Lifestyle Asia, Bonafide Art Galleries Organization (BAGO), Metrobank Foundation, I Love Taguig, SM Aura Premier, SMX Aura Convention Center-Taguig, Bizu, Coconuts Manila, Ladder Events, CANVAS, and Museo Orlina.

For more details, visit or check out ManilArt’s Facebook page.