MINDANAO colors and images hogged the main entrances to the annual art gallery exhibition, ManilArt17 as Davao artist Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” Ponce Millan was its featured artist.
His painting cum art installation entitled Peace of Pie made up of a 16 feet wide eight-piece painting surrounded by 30 sculptures of human figures and two MaranaoSarimanoks was displayed at SM Aura’s Atrium, while his paintings were displayed at the entrance lobby of SMX Convention Center on the third floor, in a space all to himself.
All the other galleries and artists displayed in booths inside the Convention Center.
It was the first time a Mindanao artist headlined ManilArt.
The annual exhibit was established in 2009 by the National Committee on Art Galleries (NCAG) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as a response to the modern-day Philippine art revolution that was just beginning at the time, ManilArt as an international art fair remains the most anticipated of its kind in the country.
this year, the annual art showcase ran from October 12-15, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center of SM Aura in Taguig City.
Exhibiting in ManilArt17 were: Galleria Quattrocento, Sicas, City of Taguig, Art Lounge 1792, Dave Art Gallery, Galleria de Leon, Fundacion Sanso, Galerie Raphael, 371 Art Space, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Y, Artepintura Gallery, ArtesOrientes, Gallery Nine, Arte Nove, Renaissance Gallery, Galleria Nicolas, Art for Space, Annual Sculpture Review, Galeria Astra, GaleriaLienzo, Legacy Art Gallery, Artologist, vMemeContemprary Art, Artphile by Gallerie CMG, Galerie CMG, and Ikon Gallery.
It was co-presented with the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization (BAGO) and the ManilArt Foundation, Incorporated (MAFI) in partnership with the City of Taguig, SMX, SM Aura Premier, Lifestyle Asia, Ladder Events Productions, Hyperdigital, Inc., BDO, Art Plus, Art Friend, the Artisan Gatherer, MuseoOrlina and Taverne Gutenberg.
Call for peace
The Atrium centerpiece is a call for Peace in Marawi and the country.
"While seemingly divided, the painting is in fact one whole piece telling different stories yet contributing to one aspiration -- Peace -- sewed together as one narrative by the Sarimanok, the Maranao mythical bird, at the center of it all," the literature about the peace read.
"The Peace of Pie is surrounded by small sculptures of us, the children, and those who lived before us; the wealthy, the rulers, and the masses, standing guard over the pieces of Peace. The small sculptures are our ancestors', our children's, and our own stake in all this -- the realities of today, the narratives of both the deep and recent past, and the Divine that guides us all," it continued. "The piece calls us to meditate on KALIPAYAPAAN, the over-all theme of Kublai's body of works in Manila Art 2017. Kalipay, meaning joy.Kapayapaan, meaning peace."
The exhibit gala cocktails had the country’s art collectors coming in droves as ManilArt has established itself as the time of the year when art collectors go shopping.
The gala opening was a who’s who in the Manila scene with Kublai’s paintings selling fast as collectors were walked through the different images of his Probinsaya, Galaktika, and Lullabyes& Dreams series.
At the center of it all was a set of four 4 feet x 8 feet paintings (a tetraptych), the “Baling-baling”, showing an abstraction of fishermen in their fishing boats hauling in the catch with their huge net, a typical scene in the waters of Mindanao; a scene of cooperation among people.
A giant triptych measuring a total of 8 feet x 12 feet paintings entitled Interfaith call for unity among the indigenous peoples, Moros, and Christians of Mindanao, while a smaller triptych measuring a total of 3 feet x 8 feet entitled Sarimanok illustrated a peaceful Marawi and the people of Lake Lanao.
On display were 14 of his long-running Probinsaya series, 16 of his Galaktika, 12 single paintings and one tetraptych of his Lullabyes and Dreams series, all underscoring the joy, peace, and serenity in Mindanao.
As the artist said in an interview with journalists who covered the opening, he has made it his advocacy to speak and paint only of peace and harmony to bring out what is beautiful in Mindanao from the simple rustic life to the more complex tri-people engagements.