Filipino Contemporary Artists Who Will Make You Proud
Filipino contemporary artists have long been revered in the international scene. It should not come as a surprise as the country boasts one of the richest art histories in the whole world. The likes of Felix Hidalgo, Juan Luna, and Fernando Amorsolo passed their legacy to the artists you are about to meet. Their talent drew attention during the 2015 Venice Biennale, an event that is considered the “Olympics of the art world.”
5 Filipino Contemporary Artists and Their Backstories
Ronald Ventura gained worldwide attention after his graphite, oil, and acrylic work titled Grayground sold for $1.1 million in 2011. In turn, his work became the highest-grossing painting by a Southeast Asian.
Ventura’s work is inspired by the postcolonial culture embodied by the Philippines, including influences from the East and West, high and low society, as well as the country’s tradition and progress.
2. Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan
Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan moved to Australia in 2006. Their own experience immigrating to a foreign country had a great influence on their artistry. Around the same year they immigrated, the Aquilizans exhibited a sculpture made of traditional balikbayan boxes and called the extraordinary work of art Project Belonging: In Transit. It evolved two years later and was renamed Project Another Country: Address (2008).
3. Mark Salvatus
Mark Salvatus is a modern contemporary artist whose works are influenced by the Internet, advertising, and pop culture. His works bridges across a variety of media including sculptural installation, multi-channel video work, and defaced city maps. His recent artistic project Wrapped: Traces is based on the cities he has traveled to since 2007. Another of his recent work, Latitudes, was presented at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The oeuvre features a series of three works that capture the socio-political issues in the country.
4. Gary-Ross Pastrana
Gary Ross Pastrana is a conceptual artist and curator, who is most known for his sculptural installations and collages. Pastrana received his BFA in painting from the University of the Philippines in 2000. He was a recipient of the Dominador Castaneda Award for Best Thesis in the same year he graduated. Pastrana’s most famous work is 2008’s Two Rings, where the artist melted two of his mother’s rings and shaped them into a sword. His motive was to investigate if physical alteration could change what a material is worth.
5. José Santos III
José Santos III received his BFA from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts where he also taught for several years. One of the most respected Filipino contemporary artists, in his early works, Santos featured a dreamlike quality in his paintings. He continues to create a narrative that reflects a distinct cryptic iconography that is often open to interpretation.
Santos’s works were chosen as one of the Thirteen Artists Awardees by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He was featured in Denmark, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangladesh, and New York.