Manila’s art scene has expanded rapidly in recent years, with many of the city’s once-abandoned warehouses and old homes transformed into exhibition spaces. Filipino artists are also becoming a stronger presence at international art fairs and auctions; and likewise, artists from around the world are increasingly drawn to the Philippines. We profile a second list of Manila’s must-see contemporary art galleries.
1335 Mabini is a multi-disciplinary space that fosters connections between local and international as well as emerging and established artists. With its cross-cultural focus, it’s no surprise that this gallery has exhibited work by leading international artists alongside well-known Filipino artists such as Poklong Anading, Jeona Zoleta, and Catalina Africa. The gallery is set in a beautiful colonial building in Ermita – a historic area of Manila founded in the 16th century. Alongside a program of exhibitions, the gallery also hosts regular workshops, lectures, and an artist-in-residence program.
True to its name, Artinformal is a bright, friendly exhibition space that serves as a platform for creative exchange between artists and the local community. Founded by a group of Filipino artists, it’s relatively common for this space’s founders to be available for questions. The gallery exhibits art in all mediums with a particular focus on contemporary sculpture, and mainly works with local Filipino artists to showcase their work in an airy, accessible atmosphere. A number of the artists represented by Artinformal also offer classes in painting, pottery, sculpture, and drawing for the community.
Blanc has three branches in Metro Manila, including this most recent gallery located at Peninsula Manila Hotel Arcade, which opened in 2010. The gallery is dedicated to working with both established and up-and-coming Filipino artists, as well as helping to bring world-wide attention to Filipino art by participating in international events. Large windows allow for a bright and airy space in which to showcase the works on display. Blanc Peninsula Manila hosts regular exhibitions by established artists such as Lao Lianben, Andres Barrioquinto, and Yasmin Sison.
Tin-Aw Art Gallery showcases the work of talented Filipino and Asian contemporary artists, including well-known names like Alfredo Esquillo, Joy Mallari, and Mark Justiniani. Founded in 2008, the gallery takes its name from a Filipino word used to describe ‘clear water’. Tin-Aw Art Gallery’s modest exhibition space on the ground floor of a serviced apartment building is the setting for regular solo and group shows by emerging and established artists. Although their exhibitions often focus on paintings, visitors can also find work in other mediums, including video, sculpture, and installation – particularly during their group shows.
Green Papaya Art Projects presents non-commercial multimedia exhibitions, providing a platform for alternative atforms. As an artist-run gallery, Green Papaya Art Projects is a place for emerging artists to take center stage, and where more established artists can present experimental works that are less conventional in mainstream commercial spaces. Founded in 2000, Green Papaya Art Projects is among the longest independently-run creative platforms in the Philippines. In addition to promoting and researching all forms of contemporary art, the gallery acts as a space where artists can collaborate with one another and take an active role in artistic creation.
Light and Space Contemporary is a unique community art center that hosts exhibitions, musical performances, film screenings, and stage plays. Established in 2010 by Jason and Joseph Tecson, the gallery brings a new perspective to the Manila art scene in its aim to promote a cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exchange, exploring the relationship between art, film, and theater. Consisting of three large galleries and numerous studios, Light and Space Contemporary opened a second location in 2013. The gallery also hosts an artist-in-residence program.
Now Gallery features a number of contemporary artists each month in different exhibition spaces. This gallery is designed to exhibit work in multimedia, including sculpture, photography, digital art, paintings, and performance art. Its solo and group exhibitions present a balance between cutting-edge work and time-tested techniques, generally favoring abstraction. Previous exhibitions have included fine art photography from the Camera Club of the Philippines, painter Norberto Carating’s grids and textured surfaces inspired by Spanish farmlands, and traditional prints by the Philippine Association of Printmakers.
Now Gallery, Unit G05 Ground Floor Ecoplaza Building, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines, +632 555 0683
Pablo Gallery opened in 2005 and quickly gained a reputation for giving young, up-and-coming artists a chance to exhibit their work publicly. Although the gallery showcases all styles of contemporary work, their shows tend to focus on the avant-garde. The gallery’s second location, Pablo Fort, rounds out the program by dedicating itself to more established artists. Lastly, the gallery’s retail store, POST, features prints, books, and other merchandise created by local and international artists, along with an open plan that acts as additional exhibition space for emerging artists.
Altro Mondo promotes the work of local and international artists of all ages and career stages. The gallery regularly partners with artist collectives, museums, and institutions, in addition to participating in a variety of art events around the world. Altro Mondo has presented more than 60 solo and group exhibitions since opening in 2010, many of which have been focused on experimental and abstract art.