WITH the tagline “Connecting the Islands through Art,” the first-ever Visayas Art Fair (VAF) held in Montebello Villa Hotel, Cebu City on Nov. 25 until 28 was well attended by local guests and artists alike.

The VAF served as the highlight of this year’s Cebu Design Week (CDW).

The objective, said VAF chairperson Laurie Boquiren, was “to create a huge awareness that art and culture is very much alive in the Visayas region, especially in Cebu.

“We want to show to the entire country that we have a wealth of artists and creatives that can easily work together with well-established business organizations like CDW, Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation and other stakeholders, for the common objective in promoting our homegrown artists and various creatives.”

The design consultant for the art fair was furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, who put the art exhibit in two areas. There were 27 booths in all, featuring works coming from the country’s Regions 6, 7 and 8, as well as from the National Capital Region. Exhibitors included UPC Joya Gallery, Adeste Deguilmo, Xandrine, Mono8 Gallery, Drainus Gallery, Lloyd Tronco & Anthony Fermin, Solitaryo Cinco, R. Gallery, The Working Animals Projects, Secret Fresh, Metro Gallery, By No Means, Orange Project, Florentino, PONT Studio, CAI, Southwest Art Club, Qube Gallery, AAP, Jose Picornell, Galeria Lienzo, NANO, PASPE, 1335 Mabini, Vinyl on Vinyl, ArtPortalCebu and Napoleon Arts Gallery.

The galleries featured all sorts of mediums and all forms of painting from traditional to modern with subjects from nature, humanity, the inner mind in abstract paintings, and some with definite anime influence; sculptures in metal, wood, ceramic; a few art installations, all of which made for a truly, visual overload.

Aside from the art exhibit, there were other offerings during the VAF: CDW-pop-ups selling materials for craft hobbyists, a private art collection at the Montebello Glass House as well as an art auction; painting, crochet demos, performance and art installations in the Montebello Garden, and at the Pavillion Hall, a Tito Cuevas retrospective and printmaking.

“We in CDW/CFIF will continue to work and improve our working relationships and trust with our partners like NCCA, SHS Foundation Batch 85, Montebello Villa Hotel, OPAV and other sponsors and benefactors in staging the Art Fair on a yearly basis,” said Boquiren.

“Our creative synergy with our partners will continue to grow and be strengthened by strong bonds of friendships and common love for art and culture. We will continue to invite more and more galleries/artists and groups of artists to make the event fresh and relevant each year. We will continue to connect and cultivate our relationships with Cebu and other Visayas creatives and make them benefit from this amazing event. Our dream is to make Cebu an art hub for the Visayas.”