This year’s Art in the Park was meant to be like its past iterations — a celebration of local artistry set on display in an outdoor art exhibit. With its roster of artists set since the prior year and art enthusiasts setting their calendars for March 15, things seemed set for another successful launch.
That all changed when disaster struck a week prior to the exhibit, with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) making its way to Philippine shores. This forced event organizers to indefinitely postpone the expo.
With each passing month, the art fair’s eager patrons became more hopeless at the possibility of this year’s event being canceled altogether. However, not even a pandemic could stop the Philippine Arts Event, Inc. (PAEI) from staging the exhibit.
Rather than holding it at the Jaime Velasquez Park in Makati, Art in the Park’s 15th installment is going online with the various exhibits and events all being held on their website and social media pages.
“We postponed the event one week before the actual event date. By that time our whole team was ready, the galleries and participants were ready, most importantly, the artists had prepared work ready for the public to see. We felt we needed to give all that hard work its due, via a different platform this time,” PAEI co-founder Trickie Lopa said in an interview with PressOne.PH.
While past iterations have been held on a Sunday, this year’s event will be lasting from August 10 to 17.
Virtual art exhibit
For art junkies who are looking to scratch their itch to stroll around art exhibits, Art in the Park’s official website offers netizens a chance to scroll through dozens of art pieces from various artists and groups across the country.
The website offers photographs of the various art pieces and blurbs from the artists explaining the story behind each piece.
Those who happen upon a masterpiece that catches their fancy can purchase the pieces on display. Being known as one of the more affordable art fairs in the country, the prices for the art installations cap off at P50,000.
Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Museum Foundation of the Philippines and the projects of the National Museum of the Philippines.
Despite being held online, Lopa was surprised to see that people were as eager to buy pieces they saw online as they were in past years. She assures art enthusiasts that more art pieces will be displayed and put up for sale over the next few days.
“[It is] as frenzied as the actual day in the park! We didn’t expect to get the surge of visitors that we did and that pieces would be snapped up so quickly. We’re hoping to upload more work as the week goes on,” Lopa said.
Included in the expo are two special exhibits which shines a spotlight on this year’s featured artists.
“Isometric Ay! lah, lah, land…” features Vigan-based visual artist Richard Quebral and his vibrant surrealist isometric paintings and prints.
Quebral playfully mixes geometric shapes, architecture, and human body parts in his artwork to create colorful dream-like landscapes.
In a video tour of his home studio, the surrealist painter reveals that he creates his canvases from scratch, starting from the woodwork to the varnishing.
Quebral said that his art style was inspired by painters Ang Kiukok and Mauro Malang Santos.
“Nauso naman kasi noon ‘yung mga internet, computer shops. ‘Yung mga tig-50 pesos naalala ‘ko. Nakita ko yung mga works nina Malang, Kiukok. So, doon ako nainspire mag-paint,” Quebral said.
“Mang Eric’s Kawaiian Island Creations” by Richard Quebral
© Art in the Park PH, Richard Quebral
The second featured exhibit is “Garapata Hatchery” which was created by Garapata art collective founder Dexter Fernandez.
In an interview with PressOne.PH, Fernandez referred to Garapata as his “childhood memory interpreted into art,” with his artworks featuring various multi-legged characters whose appearance resembles that of a tick or garapata in Filipino.
The main showpiece of the hatchery is a four feet by 23 feet paper mural making use of various techniques including painting, drawing, screen printing, and spiro-graphing.
Fernandez said that the mural, which will be sectioned off into twenty-two parts, is a “romantic visual poem” dedicated to “a special person” he wants to reconnect with before the Covid-19 lockdowns were declared.
“It might not matter to anybody but it was my way to remember a special person, a certain moment before the lockdown came and to reconnect with myself. Let’s say, this is how I romanticize and perpetuate one of the special episode[s] in my life,” he explained.
“Spores and Parasites – Part 5” by Dexter Fernandez
© Dexter Fernandez
Aside from the exhibits, Art in the Park will be featuring special events on their Facebook page.
Every day at 5 PM, the Globe Platinum Hour will go live. Videos of various artists will be featured during the program including mini-documentaries on Quebral’s home studio and art process and illustrator Robert Alejandro’s virtual workshops.
An auction will also be held on Sunday, where art junkies can bid on a painting that Quebral made exclusively for Art in the Park.
In collaboration with the Bank of the Philippine Islands, the exhibit will also feature a virtual demonstration from artist Jackie Lozano and an introduction to dance films by dance art advocates Fifth Wall Fest.
Independent singer-songwriter Martti Franca will also be capping off the event by serenading the art fair’s patrons with an online musical performance on the closing day of the event.
For more information on the upcoming events’ schedule you may refer to the daily updates posted on Art in the Park’s facebook page (www.facebook.com/pg/artintheparkph) and website (https://shop.artinthepark.ph/). Carlito P. Topacio