Manila Art 2010

Yesterday was Manila Art 2010’s last day, but that was the only day I could drop by. Too many things on my plate but I didn’t want to miss an international Contemporary Art fair of this magnitude. Angelo Magno gave me two complimentary tickets. Thanks, Gelo!

My sister and I had just come from another event in Ortigas so I was feeling pretty haggard (having driven all the way to the SMX Convention). Thank goodness for SMX’s pretty washrooms; I was able to refresh myself without much hassle.

The first person we bumped into was my PhD classmate Nath Rondina. Apparently, he was one of the event organizers. (This really makes me think that all PhD students are always on the go. It’s like we’re juggling too many things, it’s a wonder how we manage to survive!)

Anyway, I thought I was going to drown in a sea of people and artworks. There were so many!

There was so much to see, so much going on. The halls of SMX Convention Center were lined with every visual art imaginable: paintings, prints, photographs, installations, reliefs, sculptures, illustrations etc. No lazy art here, thank goodness! At the very back of the room is also a huge stage (pictured on the upper right) where The Saturday Group of Artists — old-timers whose works I have blogged about before — were doing a live session. My zoom lens was in full working mode for this, since I am a very small person and I was at the back of a very huge crowd. I have an even closer shot stored in my hard drive, but it focuses too much on the ballerina’s face and not what’s actually going on.

I lost my sister for a bit, so I continued scouring the center. I wanted to look for Gelo but I wasn’t too sure I would be able to find him. It was while walking down the leftmost part of the function room that I caught the eye of someone who looked very familiar. He smiled. It was Benjie Torrado, esteemed printmaker!  I all but yelled, “Benjie!!!” (Well, I think I did. I was just so happy to see his friendly face.)

Benjie’s real name is actually Benjie Cabrera. He also happens to be the first cousin of National Artist BenCab. I would have called him Sir Benjie — I don’t want to be labeled “feeling close” — in deference to his status as one of the country’s veteran artists but he protests whenever I do.

Turns out that that particular booth was also where Gelo hung his prints. I thought I’d never find it! My sister caught up with us shortly after this — just when I was about to text her — and then Gelo arrived a few seconds later.

Top photo contains Benjie, me and Gelo. Gelo took over the camera so that my sister could have her picture taken, too.

Now, let’s proceed to my favorite works:

“In High Spirit” by Ferdinand Cacnio (mixed metal). My head was already screaming, “Visual overload!!!!” right before I found this piece. Then everything stopped. It called to me. It’s like all the noise was obliterated by sudden silence when I laid eyes on it. To think, I was just laughing at some snippet of conversation that went along the lines of, “If it talks to you, buy it!” I wanted to ask, “So, if it talks to you, are you going to be like…Jeanne d’Arc?” After seeing this…well, you can call me Jeanne d’Arc now.

Left: By Benjie Torrado. I wasn’t able to catch the title of this work, mainly because many of the prints weren’t labeled. I know I should’ve asked, hehe. Benjie usually carves on plexiglass, inks the carving and then transfers them onto paper. It’s one of the things that fascinate me about printmaking (which I want to study soon), although his routine sounds painful.

Right: “The Impossibility of Escape” by Sasita Samarnpharb (acrylic and pastel on canvas). Love how the lines flow toward each other and then intertwine endlessly.

By fildelacruz. This one was first carved in stone, inked and then transferred to paper. Love it. Cris actually identified the work by virtue of the signature (I couldn’t even make out the name on that signature!) and art style.

Ok, I don’t exactly own a fashion blog and much as I’m not supposed to do an “Outfit of the Day” ending like my sister, I can’t help but post it here. SMX’s red wall made the details on my clothes stand out.

I especially love the camera necklace, which I bought from Quiapo a few entries back. I heard this accessory is pretty common but I just love the artistry that went into it. It’s still clearly a craft. I wanted to wear it because it reminds me of the very first SLR camera I handled: a Nikon FM10.


  1. Lizz

    August 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Hey Bea! It was awesome meeting you at the Robinson's event. Looks like you had a great time at Manila Art; love your outfit, hehe. 😀

  2. skysenshi

    August 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Hallo, Lizz! Thanks for dropping by and thanks for the compliment. Hehe. Ei, my colleagues here are all from UP-FA. You might know some of them.

  3. Lizz

    September 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Hey Bea! It was awesome meeting you at the Robinson's event. Looks like you had a great time at Manila Art; love your outfit, hehe. 😀

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