While deliberating on the way Trickie Lopa, Lisa Periquet, and Dindin Araneta would stage their co-founded art event this year, they knew they had to do something more substantial than a virtual exhibition “allowing people to click on the art.”
“We had to think of a theme,” said Lopa, co-founder of the annual Art Fair Philippines which since 2013 has served as a platform for Filipino modern and contemporary visual art.
Since this year’s show moves all its events from its usual venue at The Link carpark in Makati City to the collective virtual shared space or the Metaverse, the overarching theme focuses on digital art.
“This year’s fair will showcase art that suits the platform,” said Lopa.
The Art Fair Philippines 2021, happening on May 6-15, will shine a spotlight on one of the hottest trends in digital art, the non-fungible tokens or NFTs. The Welcome to the Metaverse NFT 101 Showcase, presented in partnership with the Bank of the Philippines Islands, will take viewers on a journey to understanding crypto basics, buying an NFT, and meeting artists and galleries within the crypto art community.
NFTs, which the event’s co-founders believe will be “part of the future of art,” are basically one-of-a-kind digital assets (drawings, music, videos, or even a Tweet) that can be bought or sold but have no tangible form.
While these digital files can be copied as many times as a person wants, NFT gives the person ownership of the work—like having the certificate of ownership for the digital asset. A record of who owns the NFT is stored on a blockchain.
“It’s something that came about because of the pandemic. It’s definitely here to stay because of the need; it has fulfilled the need for a lot of people in terms of how artists responded to the times,” Araneta noted.
Meanwhile, Periquet is interested to see “if the disruption will have a lasting effect.”
The show will also debut digital artwork specially commissioned for ArtFairPH/Film section of the fair, developed in partnership with Daata. The section will showcase digital artwork by new media and contemporary artists Jeremy Couillard and Petra Cortright, and Keiken, a collaborative practice co-founded by artists Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori, and Isabel Ramos.
Rounding up this year’s digital art focus is a special presentation of the six winners of the Julius Baer Next Generation Art Prize.
The Julius Baer co-presented ArtFairPH/Photo will feature Paris-based Filipino photographer Ding Panganiban.
The 10-day art event will have 43 galleries—32 local and 11 international—showcasing artworks on their respective online viewing rooms on the Exhibitor’s Page, which will include videos produced in collaboration with Globe Studios.
“We’ve included a three- to five-minute video embedded on the banner of the page of each gallery that lets viewers find out more about the artist exhibiting on that page, or the exhibit itself, or the theme of the exhibit, or something about the gallery,” shared Periquet.
Lopa added, “We had to think of a way to glue people to stay with us for 10 days. Offer something interesting for the audience and the artists; it’s our way of trying to keep to our mission of introducing something new to the audience.”
Even as the fair pivots to a digital platform, an installation—part of the 10 Days of Art initiative—is planned for Ayala Tower One’s fountain area with live screening of ArtFairPH/Film digital artwork.
Art Fair Philippines is also launching ArtFairPH/Residencies, an artist residency program project in partnership with Bleeding Heart Rum Corporation, the makers of Don Papa Rum. The program is open to all Filipino artists across all disciplines. The five artists selected based on their submitted portfolios will be paired with art spaces and galleries from different parts of the country.
Access to the art fair is free for everyone. Go to www.artfairphilippines.com.