The art scene in Manila is more exciting, exuberant and boundary-pushing than ever before. In town and looking to invest? We highlight the top contempo Filipino artists to look out for... and where to find them.
Who: Kawayan De Guia
Where: The Drawing Room
Best known for his unmistakable disco ball-style hanging rockets Bomba, De Guia has all manner of mediums under his belt, from large-scale metalwork to Pop Art-meets-Magic Realism canvasses, oftentimes drawing on discarded materials poached off streets, rubbish dumps and even his family home. Although the Metro is where it’s at for most Filipino artists, tall, handsome, soft-spoken Kawayan (meaning “bamboo” in Tagalog), steadfastly resides in his hometown Baguio and remains committed to the local art scene there. Catch his works at any number of big-ticket global events, or pop into Manila’s own boundary-pushing The Drawing Room.
Who: Hanna Pettyjohn
Where: Silverlens, 1335Mabini
With memorable exhibit footprints in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei and Miami, Filipina-American artist and ceramicist Hanna Pettyjohn’s award-winning work is keenly collected by art aficionados. The daughter of famed ceramicists Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn, Manila-bred Hanna taps into emotions of nostalgia, alienation, loss and loneliness in her examination of the global Filipino diaspora, using poured clay, cracked earth, and tactile textures across large-scale painted portraits and sculptures.
Who: Martha Atienza
Manila born, to a Filipino father and Dutch mother, Atienza lives between both countries, taking inspiration for her video installations from her diverse heritage. Having joined the famed Green Papaya Art Projects in the Philippines in 2009, Atienza has been spotlighted at Art Basel HK, the Singapore Biennale, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and London’s Gasworks. Swing by spiffy scene fave Silverlens for a glimpse of her striking, cleverly framed observations.
Who: Mark Salvatus
Where: 98B COLLABoratory, 1335Mabini
With many feathers in his cap – including the Ateneo Award (2010), the Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Award (2013) and the Schoeni-Sovereign Asian Art Prize (2013) – multidisciplinary young gun Salvatus maintains his fascination with the urban Metro landscape. His greatest passion is pet project Pilipinas Street Plan, a graffiti squad he cofounded, as well as 98B COLLABoratory, a community art space for local creative collabs.
Who: Ronald Ventura
Where: ARNDT, Tyler Rollins Fine Art Gallery
Despite being the best-selling Southeast Asian artist in the world, Ventura still lives and works in his hometown Manila. A graduate of the prestigious University of Santo Tomas, this hot-right-now artist debuted at influential Makati gallery The Drawing Room in 2000. Since then, his haunting fascination with the human form and signature multi-layered style has gone on to earn him Artist of the Year at Art Manila (2001), the Ateneo Art Gallery Grant (2005), and a place in the Prague Biennale (2009). Ventura even cracked the US market with a solo show at NYC’s Tyler Rollins Fine Art Gallery in 2009 – the same year his piece Greyhound sold for a whopping US$1.1million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.