Above: Ryan Villareal
No one would deny that most of the news coming out on the Philippines these days is far from uplifting. The island nation is in the middle of a seriously bloody police crackdown on supposed drug dealers and users, which has resulted in an average of a thousand killings a month over the last year. To make things worse, Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, instigator of said crackdown, over to the White House recently for some chummy chat (and maybe a bucket of KFC).
Life had often been a little, err, dramatic in the crowded Asian country; up until the mid-’80s it was under martial law and run by dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Yet the last couple of decades are actually considered to have been reasonably stable. And this post-Marcos freedom and calm has lead to the blossoming of an arts scene in and around the capitol of Manilla, resulting in new museums, galleries, dealers (not that kind) and patrons.
Flying in the face of all the bad press, a one-day celebration of Filipino arts is being presented in New York by the Philippine Pinto museum, in conjunction with the Asian Cultural Council. Pinto Manhattan Manilla, a wide-ranging exhibition of contemporary artists from the Philippines, will be open for a continuous 24-hour stretch starting at 8pm on Monday, May 22, at Donna Karan’s West Village ideological-philosophical lifestyle shop Urban Zen.
The goal of the exhibit is to shine a light on the vibrancy of Philippine art, specifically the 30 artists who will be featured. Skype stations will be set up at the space so that patrons can talk directly to the artists, and Dr Joven Cuanang, one of the nation’s top collector/patrons, will be on hand to discuss the emerging evolution of Philippine art in the States.
For our part, we’re curious to see how the turmoil of life back home has influenced this new generation of artists.