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Art Fair’s 10 days of Art starts with a walk in the park  

By VICKY VELOSO-BARRERA, The Philippine STAR Published Feb 14, 2024 5:00 am

It certainly is a red-letter February that celebrates love, dragons and art all at the same time. Last week we joyfully had a taste of all three as Art Fair Philippines kicked off 10 Days of Art at the Ayala Triangle Gardens. 

Art Fair founders Dindin Araneta, Trickie Lopa and Lisa Periquet set the tone, as relaxed and chill as anyone could be, considering they’ve once again pulled together a series of art events as casual as a walk in the park. Nothing stiff or formal here, just amazing installations anyone could appreciate.

A cool breeze, cocktails and an eclectic mix of art lovers gathered at the gardens for a walking tour headed by Tim Yap, who led us first towards the pedestrian underpass linking one side of Ayala Avenue to the other. 

Fotomoto’s black and white wall will make you pause, as will the murals at the underpass.

Commuters and pedestrians need to cross these underground passageways all the time, an everyday fact of city life. But Tom Epperson and fellow photographers at Fotomoto saw in the ubiquitous, advertising LEDs an opportunity to bring their art to harried daily employees who normally just hurry by. 

I wondered if catching a glimpse of these thought-provoking images along the corridors (and even a wall of black and whites over which the word “LOVE” is defined in pink) will cause a number of people to pause, take a second glance and maybe even be late for their next appointment or ride.

A double image of Derek Tumala’s “A Warm Orange Colored Liquid”

By 7 p.m. it was dark enough to appreciate the first installation: a huge, orange ball of recycled paper and metal designed by Derek Tumala, who once viewed a 1978 film of sunspots at the Manila Observatory. His vision was to recreate what looked like warm drops of orange liquid (hence the title “A Warm Orange Colored Liquid”). The solar-powered image of the sun operates on its own by absorbing photons in the daytime and lighting up in the evening. The power it generates (8,000 watts) is enough to power an average Filipino home for a month.

The poetry of this artwork is its use of sustainable materials—right in the fountain area of the stock exchange building. The double image in the water makes this molten, golden poem even more unforgettable.

Isaiah Cacnio’s “Prismatic Embrace” is an animated sea of faith and color.

We walked and chatted with artists and friends before reaching the next installation, something colorful my husband and kids had noticed much earlier at the South Wall of Tower 2: motion graphics artist Isaiah Cacnio had been dreaming of a spot at Art Fair for years. His answered prayer is the richly colorful tapestry titled “Prismatic Embrace,” which invites you to lose yourself in its radiant, abstract animation. 

Isaiah’s inspiration was his strong faith in the embrace of Jesus, like “sunlight flooding in through stained glass.” It allows your life to become a vibrant testimony of the kingdom just as his painting breathes life and color into the vast space of the wall. 

To me, this was all about the true source of inspiration in everything that we do, especially in art. (Recall that the Greek word for inspiration means “God-breathed.”) There is a joyfulness in the swirling colors and the prospect of surrender, like a loving God that fills our world with everyday beauty.

Leeroy New collaborated with Illac Diaz on this installation of sustainable light.

The last installation is just about the first thing you notice when you reach Ayala Triangle: a blue structure shaped like a snail, made from recycled blue water containers. You just know artist Leeroy New is behind it—that is, if you’ve visited the National Museum of Anthropology lately and seen his gigantic, jellyfish-like installation of the same material in the courtyard.

But beyond recycling five-gallon water containers, the artist teamed up with UNESCO ambassador Liter of Light founder Illac Diaz, whose mission is to bring poor communities here and abroad affordable, sustainable light. The son of artist Ramon Diaz and Duemila gallery owner Silvana Diaz, Illac explained that each solar light device can light a home for five years. The devices are easily repairable, making the project very sustainable.

Visiting the four public installations might not fulfill your daily step count, but it takes you out into the open, and gets you exploring places you may or may not notice daily with fresh eyes.

I originally thought about this Art Fair launch as something to promote as a family activity. There are lots of places nearby to eat—definitely a fun activity with kids. My two adult kids (who are also artists) took great photos of the night, which led to delicious crepes at Crepes Glazik on Tordesillas Street nearby. 

Be sure to time your 10 Days of Art adventure just after sunset.