Garapata Exhibit at the Collective

Garapata Exhibit at the Collective

Every living creature on the face of the earth deserves to be immortalized in art. For the creator of the Garapata Man, the blood-sucking crawler is no exception. This round, multi-legged, puffy-eyed character has become an urban icon.

We were first introduced to the Garapata Man and its creator at the Escolta Saturday Market. When we asked the artist why he chose the garapata as the subject for his art, he directs us to the social reality of Filipinos that like the garapata – ‘kahit saang sulok ng mundo may Pinoy na makikita.’

Garapata Exhibit at the Collective 2013

Garapata Exhibit 2013

We took part in the opening of the Garapata Exhibit at The Collective last Saturday. For this exhibit, the gallery has been transformed into a hive where the crawlers were all over walls and are scattered in random corners as functional stools and wooden pieces of art.

Spectators watched a video showing how the wooden pieces were individually carved.

Garapata Exhibit Collective

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During our walks around the city, we’ve seen the garapata icon on bus seats, streetlamps, food carts, and sometimes in unexpected spaces. But while the garapata continues to become part of the urban streetscape, it is gradually evolving into something functional. For now, sling bags, t-shirts, coloring books, necklace pendants or keychain, and wooden stools are available.

There is something to look forward to on what the creator of the garapata will think of next.

Published in: on October 29, 2013 at 2:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Staycations with TOF

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It’s obvious that we enjoy traveling but there are occasions when certain circumstances limit our traveling feet from doing this thing we love. Uncompromising schedules, a dominant priority, budget restraints are just some of the reasons that kept us from having our regular day tours or weeklong sojourns out of town lately.

However, things like these didn’t stop us from having a ‘vacation.’ So welcome to our bahay bakasyunan. It may sound pretentious but really this is just a place where we come home every day from work and school. It is in this home for two, for me and my son where we have invited friends we met in our travels to join us in our mini-vacations at home or how some people call it as staycations.

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The way we arranged things inside our house is influenced by the travels we had. We like to hand carry objects so our home is crowded with Travel Souvenirs. We want to come home every day to that look and feel we experienced in the rustic gardens of Ugu Bigyan, Casa San Pablo, Kusina Salud and several trips to Paete and Pakil. We had the most visits to Ancestral Houses the previous years so we arranged our furniture to echo the lifestyle in old Manila and in those charming provincial casas.

Recently, we got into visiting art spaces and Home Studios of Artist Friends so the current theme of our third floor study and library, as some visitors described it ‘mukhang art gallery daw.’ One thing is sure is that our home can never be minimalist in design. Much like of our diverse islands, cultures, and tradition, Traveler on Foot’s home is always crowded with travel finds and at times with friends we share the same passion with –art and travel.

Staycation TOF dining with Pepito and Doctolero

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Recently we spent numerous lazy weekend afternoons with visual artists like Celso Pepito, Ferdinand Doctolero, Peter Mamayson, Eric Dy, and fellow travel blogger Karl Ace of Turista Trails.

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I like idea that our home is a tambayan ng mga artists. Sometime around the last week of July, we hosted Day 44 of Albert Avellana’s 50-day birthday celebration with artists Mark Andy Garcia, Dexter Fernandez, and CCP 13 Artists awardee Joey Cobcobo.

On that special day, Dexter prepared his flavorful adobo spaghetti and minty mojitos to match the 50 candles in Albert’s cake that lighten up our study room as if it were a bonfire.

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I really want our home to be a hang out place for artists and those who love art. We’ve opened it to those who are willing to share artistic talents and perform their creativity. Having artists spent their time with us fulfills my idea of a dream home.

On Ferdinand Doctolero’s visit, he gave one of my red side tables a facelift by painting his art on it. The same thing with metal sculptor Lucky Salayog who went to see us one Sunday afternoon to pick up an armless Sacred Heart of Jesus wooden statue to bring to his studio. He had this idea of attaching his metal sculpture of found objects to make this icon ready to accept our visitors with open arms.

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Our guests openly expressed to us their favorite spot in our home. There are those who comfortably spent an entire six hours just eating and chatting up in our dining room. Some preferred chilling in the balcony near the study. But there are also those who find my bedroom as a preferred set for filming an indie movie.

Writer and television segment producer Raymond Dimayuga phone me one day, requesting to use my bedroom as set for a short film. On the shooting day, I was surprised to see veteran film and stage actor, the fisherman in Borne Legacy, Mr. Lou Veloso in the house.

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While I find my bedroom to be cozies part of the house but it is also the noisiest because the only window in here opens up to the street below. This large window with translucent capiz panels allow me to interact with the friendliest neighborhood.

The bed with its tall slatted kamagong headboard is a copy of the bed we slept in when we had that restful evening at Room 12 in Casa San Pablo. A painting of the Ibong Adarna, a healing bird created for us by artist Rovi Salegumba holds its own above the bed. Though I don’t spend long hours in my bedroom but for those staycations, I enjoy this space for the respite it provides. This is my favorite room.

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This is my share for the PTB Blog Carnival this October, with the theme My Favorite Room, hosted by Eileen Campos of The Super Tourists. Click the official PTB logo for a list of previous carnival themes and hosts.

Art Fair Philippines

Art Fair Philippines

Artworks are beautiful objects that strike us in an emotional way. The experience when  viewing at a remarkable piece of art is comparable to the rhapsody felt when a symphony orchestra performs its high finale or that natural high we get from grooving our way to a shindig or in a rowdy street dancing parade to the beat of deafening tribal drums.

But having to talk about art or even walking into art fairs and art galleries can be intimidating because for the longest time our local art scene has been packaged as an exclusive realm belonging only to the elite. Somehow, the recently held  Art Fair Philippines broke this delusion and has allowed local spectators to see up close selected pieces created by intrepid Filipino artists who found their spot in the international contemporary art scene.

Art Fair Philippines Yason

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Art Fair Philippines Barredo

While most people find typical art exhibits staged in exclusive venues, congenial only to the sophisticated and culturally educated, the art fair was unconventionally set in a parking space of a commercial building in Makati where 24 influential galleries and art groups showcased outstanding pieces from which the local audience can easily identify and connect with.

As a regular traveler who has been exposed to our heritage and cultural icons, I found a surreal twist in the Ronald Ventura’s bulols and a familiar part of an urban streetscape in Dexter Fernandez’s wall art. As if intentionally made to be a showstopper, Gabby Barredo’s Asphalt pleasantly surprises spectators as they enter a darkroom to be mesmerized by the artist’s symphony of moving objects.

Art Fair Philippines Olazo Orlina

Art Fair Philippines Paseo

It is overwhelming to take in every beautiful piece in just one visit. But the one hundred pesos entrance fee cannot equal the fascination, bewilderment, and fixation I had that Friday afternoon with particular works of art.

A non-expert in art will immediately surrender in the masterful works of Romulo Olazo, Ramon Orlina and Jason Montinola.

Art Fair Philippines Baens Santos de Rivera Sulubaybay

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While the exhibit proves no doubt of the unpredictability and progressive art practice of our local contemporary artists, timeless themes and folkloric colors we find in traditionally Filipino artworks are represented in the paintings of Mario de Rivera, Pablo Baens Santos, Don Salubayba and the great Onib Olmedo.

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A work of art in itself is the way each participating gallery set their booth. Altro Mondo, Avellana Art Gallery, and The Drawing Room has put up casual yet tasteful settings that genuinely reflect the kind of atmosphere visitors and clients experienced when going into their actual galleries –unpretentious, relax, and most important of all friendly.

Moving around the art fair has been pleasurable because it lacked the usual come-on and sales pitch from the dealers and the chatter among collectors and gallerists of the who bought the what piece for the price of.

Art Fair Philippines Bajau

While I completely agree that art can never be for art’s sake alone because our artists need to survive for all kinds of art expressions to flourish. However, this idea developed into a common impression that art thrives on elitist grounds, that art is inaccessible and can be intimidating. Perhaps it is the commercial side and intellectual dimensions of art that scares off a lot of us into visiting art galleries and going to art fairs.

But we have to give it to the private art groups and generous collectors who made used of their resources and influence in promoting our local art to make it relevant and available for the public to see. To the organizers of Art Fair Philippines, thank you.

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Related story: Art Now For Everyone at the SM MOA

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