I’VE seen numerous art exhibits in the city but the recently-concluded first Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit, and Conference is different in so many ways - good ways.
First, the crowd. When I visited the art event on October 5 at the atrium of Gaisano Mall of Davao, a lot of mall goers checked and appreciated the masterpieces made by Mindanawon artists. I even heard that on Sunday, the last day of the event, people were queuing just to visit art installations.
I’m not certain if the crowd is composed of purely art enthusiasts or some are just there taking photos just for the “gram” for social proof, but it doesn’t matter. What matters most is that there is art appreciation and awareness. After all, this event was organized to up the art scene in the city and provide avenue where visual artists and art curators meet for trade and partnerships.
The strategic location of the art event’s site also is a big factor of the overwhelming foot traffic.
Second, the Mindanao Art was a product of exquisite planning and conceptualization. It was not just put there simply for a show, it was made with a greater purpose.
“The purpose is by coming together Mindanao artists will have a stronger and louder voice. Pag buhay ang mga artists, they can create and express more, mas nakakagawa sila ng creations that are beyond themselves. Not just about their selves but also with our culture,” Mudjahir Rey “Kublai” Millan, president of Lawig-Diwa, organizer of the event, said in a PTV interview.
Stella Estremera of Lawig-Diwa emphasized that the ultimate vision is to create an ecosystem of art where artists will have a sustainable, profitable profession.
“We have to build an industry so that the artists can now make more art while not being starved,” Estremera said during the art forum at the RGB Grill, Park Inn Hotel Thursday, October 3.
Estremera shared online that Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga artworks displayed during the fair were sold out. Bestsellers include Talaandig soil painters, Bong Espinosa, and Dadai Joaquin.
The massive art fair also had a conference dubbed as MindanaoArtTalks at the Philippine Women’s College in Juna Subdivision on October 5. Topics discussed during the talks are audience development, curation, and the business of selling visual arts. Invited guests were Cid Reyes, lawyer Elba Cruz, and Gerry Leonardo.
The successful Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit, and Conference was held last October 4 to 6, 2019.