Diversity of styles, accessible subjects at MoCAF

Twenty-four exhibitors, seven special exhibitions and a series of dialogues await art enthusiasts and art collectors this weekend, all in one place.

Publishing house and multimedia platform Art+ holds its first festival, MoCAF, the Modern and Contemporary Art Festival, on July 29 to 31 at the Grand Ballroom of Fairmont Hotel in Makati. It promises to be an exciting showcase of both established and up-and-coming artists, a reflection of the fast-developing modern and contemporary art scene in the country.

Present at the art festival are the Philippines’ leading galleries such as Ysobel Art Gallery, Village Art Gallery, DF Art Agency, Leon Gallery, Secret Fresh and Qube Gallery, among others. Artist-run spaces like Linangan Art Residency and Gravity Art Space are also taking part, as well as international galleries such as Japan’s YOD Gallery and Gallery Kogure.

“We have designed MoCAF to be more inclusive than most of the established art fairs and festivals,” says Ricky Francisco, lead curator of MoCAF and director of Fundacion Sansó. “Art+, as a platform, has quite a wide reach among artists. Our Art+ Discoveries Series capitalizes on this, and we selected artists with three years of active exhibition practice or less that we think are very promising with regard to the trajectories that they have focused on.”

Fantastic programs

Francisco explains that this same process of discernment was exercised in MoCAF’s gallery selections.

“Though we have top galleries which get featured in the most respected art fairs, we also have artist-run spaces which have fantastic programs that offer more than what commercial art galleries usually do and contribute differently to the art community. We believe that having them gives a new dimension to our programming,” he adds.

MoCAF’s Art+ Discoveries puts the spotlight on emerging and promising artists in the country today, to empower young talent. The festival’s Special Exhibitions, meanwhile, will feature the works of Ramon Orlina, Michael Cacnio, Anton Del Castillo, Robert Alejandro and National Artist Federico Aguilar Alcuaz. It will be Alejandro’s first physical exhibition in his more than 20 years of art practice.

“Assistant Host” by Demi Padua

“We also have wonderful artists like Elmer Borlongan and Angela Silva who are giving the often neglected art form of fine art printmaking a breath of fresh air,” says Francisco. “So in terms of art and artist selection, we believe we offer a greater variety.”

Borlongan and Silva will be part of a contemporary printmaking exhibition along with Maya Muñoz and Henrielle Pagkaliwangan.

A collection from Fundacion Sansó, a private museum, will be on display as well.

“I Want More” by Anton Del Castillo
“I Want More” by Anton Del Castillo

MoCAF head of operations Jewel Chuaunsu adds, “There’s a diversity of styles, mediums and forms of visual art. The subject matters are familiar, relatable and accessible. There’s something for everyone at MoCAF.”

New art audiences

The festival intends for more Pinoys to take interest in the arts and develop new art audiences.

“We are guided by the principle that art is not just about luxury or about the rather scholarly dialogue of ideas that contemporary arts is usually about. Art is more about humanity expressed by exceptional individuals who are the artists,” Francisco explains.

MoCAF’s selection of Art+ Discoveries and the inclusion of artists like Alejandro, whose works are about his journey of healing, should be of interest to everyone, even those who do not usually frequent art exhibits or festivals.

“To the Moon”  by Michael Cacnio
“To the Moon” by Michael Cacnio

Seeing art as part and product of human experience, Art+ has put together MoCAF Dialogues, a series of talks and workshops which place art in the broader context of the economy. Topics to be discussed include “Economic Outlook and Its Impact in the Art World,” a lecture sponsored by HSBC and wherein former Finance Undersecretary Romeo Bernardo talks about the economic forecast for the country and how this will affect art; “Art, Blockchains, NFT and Law,” a talk by Unit 256, Artifract and AJA Law; and “The Future of Art Publishing” with speakers Gus Vibal of Vibal Publishing and Ambassador Jose Mari Cariño, who has authored award-winning books on Philippine art, culture and history.

Magis Creative Space will hold “Art and Healing,” an art therapy talk and workshop with Alejandro.

MoCAF has also partnered with global information and communications technology provider Huawei to bring digital art into the fold.

“We believe in highlighting different forms of art and, with technology being in the forefront of advancements, why not work with it?” says Chuaunsu.

Art+ and Huawei will be awarding Margaux Janelle and Jea Gaviña as the Huawei Digital Artists for 2022. Both artists designed cover art for the MoCAF catalog using Huawei’s latest MatePad 10.4 and MateBook products. The theme this year is “Digital Technology and Art in the 21st Century.” INQ


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