Art festival showcases masters and emerging artists

ART magazine and publishing house Art+ will mount the inaugural Modern and Contemporary Art Festival or MoCAF to highlight what artists have been working on during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown and to get the art scene back into the rhythm of seeing works in person, up close, and interacting with each other.

To be held from July 29 to 31 at the Grand Ballroom at Fairmont Hotel in Makati City, MoCAF will showcase both “revered masters and up-and-coming artists that reflects the fast-developing modern and contemporary art scene in the Philippines,” a press release stated.

At a press conference on June 22 in Raffles Makati, organizers added that the art festival’s mission is to “provide a platform for artists, galleries, art institutions, and to create an inclusive and exciting opportunity amongst the sectors in the growing industry.” 

The solo artist presentations and group exhibitions were curated by Ricky Francisco, director of Fundacion Sansó.

“The conscious decision to be more inclusive was there,” Mr. Francisco told BusinessWorld shortly after the program. “We wanted to … include sectors of art that are not often given the chance.”

The inaugural edition of the festival will feature artists that have “a good working relationship” with the magazine and galleries that may not be considered mainstream, said Art+ managing editor and MoCAF head of operations Jewel Chuaunsu.

The art festival will complement the works by National Artists with those of young artists with less than three years of practice.

The event will showcase 122 Filipino artists from across the country, local and international galleries, special exhibitions, and art talks.

Local galleries include Ysobel Art Gallery, Village Art Gallery, DF Art Agency, Leon Gallery, Secret Fresh, and Qube Gallery.

International galleries include YOD Gallery, which will showcase pop art by Japanese artists, and Gallery Kogure of Japan.

Filipino artists Ramon Orlina, Michael Cacnio, Anton Del Castilo, Robert Alejandro, and National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz are part of the festival’s Special Exhibitions. The section will also include rare works by Juvenal Sansó.

Meanwhile, Elmer Borlongan, Angela Silva, Maya Muñoz, and Henrielle Pagkaliwangan will host a contemporary printing making exhibition.

The festival features Art+ Discoveries, which showcases young and emerging artists, and MoCAF Dialogues, a lecture series that includes topics such as “Economic Outlook and Its Impact in the Art World,” as well as “Art World Today and The Luxurious Market.”

Jose Mari “Jomari” Cariño, director general of the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Gus Vibal, executive director of Vibal Foundation, will hold a talk titled “The Future of Art Publishing,” while Julius Babao will take part in a lecture called “Collecting Art: Perspective of Collectors.”

Those who would like to know more about how Philippine art fares in the global scene can take part in “Curators Speak: Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale” with co-curators Arvin Flores and Yael Buencamino-Borromeo.

In line with MoCAF’s aims to provide new artistic and cultural experiences beyond the norm, MAGIS Creative Space will hold an art therapy talk and workshop with Robert Alejandro.

The art festival also features a partnership with global information and communications technology provider Huawei. Artists Jea Gaviña and Margaux Janelle will be awarded as the Huawei Digital Artists for 2022. They each will create their respective digital artworks using the latest Huawei MatePad 10.4. The theme for this year is “Digital Technology and Art in the 21st Century.”

Fairmont Makati was chosen with consideration to accessibility and comfort.

“We wanted somewhere in Makati that is easy to go to and maybe more buyers might be nearer this area. We definitely wanted to put it in a hotel so that it’s in a different setting,” Ms. Chuaunsu said.   

Fairmont Makati’s Grand Ballroom offers 859 square meters of space. There will be 24 booths in the main hall of the Grand Ballroom, seven booths in the foyer, a designated area for the talks, and a lounge area.

“We made a conscious decision to have some highlights on every side in the main gallery area. But at the front where the Special Exhibitions are, our goal is to provide a leisurely experience,” Mr. Francisco said.

The booths are square-shaped with ample walking space.

“Hopefully if this one is a success, we’ll open it to more galleries and more groups in the future, [and a] bigger venue,” Mr. Francisco said.

MoCAF is sponsored by Aurelia Residences, Huawei, Philippine Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., Fairmont Makati, Smart Infinity, Vibal Group, Inc., and Xception.

MoCAF will run from July 29 to 31, 2022 at the Grand Ballroom of Fairmont Makati. For more information and for ticket registration, visit Tickets are at P250. Visit on Facebook and @mocafmanila on Instagram. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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