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Where is Mindanao in the Philippine art scene? Visit the 1st Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit


DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 04 October) – “Where is Mindanao in the Philippine art scene? Is there such a thing as Mindanao art?”

Visit Davao City on October 5 and 6 for the 1st Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit (MindanaoArt) and find out the answers to these questions posed by Vim Nadera, Father of Performance Poetry and Director of the UP Institute of Creative Writing.

“Traversing the River of Creativity” is the theme of MindanaoArt which will feature a main exhibit at the atrium of Gaisano Mall on October 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and a conference open to the public at the RSM Events Center of the Philippine Women’s College on October 5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are also satellite exhibits in the city’s art galleries and a hotel in Davao City.

The main exhibit will feature at least 67 artists from ten art galleries and groups – six from Davao and one each from Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and Bukidnon.

From the exhibit notes, MindaNews counted at least 38 participating artists from Davao City and 29 from the other parts of Mindanao.

Nadera, who will keynote the conference on October 5, gave a preview of his talk during the press conference Thursday afternoon.

“As an outsider,” he said, he would ask “where is Mindanao in the Philippine art scene? Is there such thing as Mindanao art? As a writer, I’ll be asking where is Mindanao in Philippine literature in Philippine dance in Philippine music in Philippine theatre in Philippine film in Philippine culinary arts? Where is Mindanao in, of course, the visual arts?”

Nadera also wants to know who is a Mindanao artist. “How would you define a Mindanao artist? Should he or she be a Lumad? Should he or she be a Muslim? Or should he or she be a langyaw or a settler or a tagalabas, a migrant?”

“Sila’y atong paadtuon diri”

MindanaoArt is a project of Lakbay-Diwa, a Davao City-based organization promoting art and helping artists. Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” Millan, famous for his huge sculptural pieces and art installations that have become landmarks not only in Davao City but in other parts of Mindanao is its President, and Stella Estremera, former Sun.Star Davao editor in chief who continues to write a column for the paper, is its secretary/treasurer.

In a pre-event video, Millan said collectors, owners of art galleries, and art patrons in Manila “would all come down to Mindanao and makit-an nila in front of their eyes na kuyaw gyud diay kaayo ning mga artists sa Mindanao. So Instead na kami ang muadto dito, sila’y atong paadtuon diri” (they will see how good these Mindanao artists are so instead of us going there, we will let them come here).

Millan explained they chose the theme “Traversing the River of Creativity” because “if this is going to be the first ever Mindanao art fair, we might as well start from the very beginning … mas maganda kung balikan natin ang nakaraan bago tayo pumunta sa kung saan man tayo papunta (it’s better to go back to our past before we proceed to wherever we may want to go). We are trying to define however which way we express yung kaluluwa, yung spirit ng (the soul, the spirt of) Mindanao but we can only do that if we start from the beginning. That’s why we were encouraging galleries and artists to first back track, from the source of all source, back to the river of creativity.”

Senior high school artists of the Davao City National High School with their teacher Jefferson Bangot with the 8ftx32ft polytych they are showing during the MindanaoArt. Photo courtesy of MindanaoArt

READ: Traversing the River of Creative Generations

Millan said it will be the first time where viewers get to see “so much Mindanao-inspired art works” that would hopefully make them “feel the collective spirit from the different inspirations coming from the different regions in Mindanao and different art groups.”

“It’s so exciting to be able to see for the first time a unified Mindanao in terms of art,” he said.

Mindanao art industry

Estremera said Mindanao Art is the “first ever attempt to gather art groups, art galleries from all over Mindanao in an attempt to start up a movement to stimulate an art industry kasi Mindanao has a lot of artists, all kinds of artists in fact, and there’s a lot of inspiration but there is no industry to speak of that can sustain a livelihood for the artist.”

READ: Renowned art personalities to share expertise in MindaArt

At the press conference, Estremera said they look forward to an art industry in Mindanao “that is grounded on the roots of Mindanao. Di lang kumikita but kitang-kita na Mindanao siya.”

MindanaoArt is supported by a grant from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts-National Committee on Art Galleries (NCCA-NCAG) under the Regional Art Fair category. Lawig-Diwa submitted a proposal and won the competitive grant in December 2018 and has applied for the staging of the second MindanaoArt in 2020.

The organizers proposed the project to “provide a venue for gallery owners and art patrons to scrutinize Mindanao’s best; bring art collectors to view and buy Mindanao’s best; push local gallery owners and art spaces to sustain an industry manned by local talents thru interaction with established art galleries in the national capital; be an annual gathering for learning and interacting with art industry movers who are exposed to a vibrant, self-sustaining, and profitable art scene; and stimulate a culture of knowing one’s community among the local artists and find an identity that is uniquely Mindanao.”

Museums and Galleries Month

MindanaoArt is part of the NCCA’s celebration of the Museum and Galleries Month with the theme “Building the Nation, One Exhibit at a Time.”

The celebration, according to John Delan Robillos, head of the NCCA-NCAG, underscores the role of museums and galleries as “custodians not only of our historical past but of our future.”

Father Harold Rentoria, Commissioner for Cultural Heritage at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, (holding mike), hopes to see more artists participating in regional art fairs, not just from the center but from the periphery. Beside him is John Delan Robillos, head of the NCCA’s National Committee on Art Galleries. On the extreme left is Melissa Yeung-Yap and beside her is Stella Estremera of the organizing team. MindaNews photo by GREGORIO BUENO

“We want the public to realize that these institutions are centers of our consciousness which fuel our common identity and aspirations as a nation.”

Robillos said “everyone is so excited about the Mindanao Art Fair” especially since the art scene in the past was “always centered in Manila.”

Father Harold Rentoria, NCCA Commissioner for Cultural Heritage recalled that in his six years at the NCCA, “naka-centralize sa Manila ang activites.” He expressed hope that the regional art fairs like MindanaoArt “will encourage not only artists malapit lang sa sentro, hindi lang sana taga-Davao but artists from different provinces in Mindanao.” He cited the T’bolis in Sultan Kudarat and others from Maguindanao and the youth who could be the future national artists.

Participating artists

Art galleries and art groups that are participating in MindanaoArt are Gallery Down South, Tabula Rasa Art Gallery, Bintana Art Gallery, Piguras Davao, Art Portal Gallery for Contemporary Art and Datu Bago Gallery and Café, all in Davao City; Talaandig Soil Painters from Bukidnon; Capitol University Museum of Three Cultures from Cagayan de Oro; Likha-Caraga from Butuan City; and the Zamboanga-City based Ateneo de Zamboanga Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago.

Davao City is in Southern Mindanao, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon are in Northern Mindanao, Zamboanga is in Western Mindanao and Butuan is in Caraga region.

Mindanao has 27 provinces and 33 cities spread across six regions.

While many participating artists draw their inspiration from or are influenced by the cultures of the Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) and the Moro, only one Lumad group – the Talaandig soil painters from Bukidnon – is represented in MindanaoArt. There is no Moro art group. Organizers said they extended invitations across Mindanao and the participating artists had immediately confirmed their attendance.

Dinky Munda of Tabula Rasa reminded those who attended the press conference that aside from the main exhibit, there are satellite exhibits at the galleries of Tabula Rasa at Felcris Centrale, Art Portal along Legaspi St., Bintana at the NCCC Victoria Mall, Datu Bago Gallery at the Davao City National High School, and Morning Light Gallery along Quirino Avenue.

There is also an ongoing exhibit at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, featuring the works of Bai Hinang, an all-women’s art group of 26 women timed for Pink October, a campaign for breast cancer awareness.

There is also another exhibit at the Mindanao Folk Arts Museum at the PWC.

The duration of the “satellite exhibits” is longer, some until October 31.

“We have been preparing for this event for a long, long time. This is a long time coming. For me this is the most significant exhibit we have in Mindanao,” said the 74-year old Munda. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

Source: Where is Mindanao in the Philippine art scene? Visit the 1st Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit | MindaNews

2nd Mindanao Art Fair opens amid pandemic

Published October 22, 2020, 2:41 PM

by Zea Capistrano

DAVAO CITY – Amidst the global health crisis, art in Mindanao continues to thrive and proof of that was the successful opening of the second Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit, and Conference (MindanaoArt 2020) at the Malayan Colleges Mindanao campus here on Wednesday, October 21.

Spectators take a glimpse of the artworks on exhibit during the first day of the Mindanao Art Fair 2020 at Malayan Colleges of Mindanao lobby in Davao City. (Keith Bacongco)

An online gala was also hosted at the campus which was attended exclusively by invited guests and participating artists onsite and was streamed live for the global audience through the Mindanao Art Facebook page.

Biggest art event in Mindanao

MindanaoArt 2020 is the biggest art event in Mindanao and one of the biggest gatherings of artists in Southeast Asia. The event is organized by Lawig-Diwa Inc. and is supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts National Committee on Art Galleries (NCCA-NCAG) through a grant.

Spectators take glimpse of the artworks on exhibit during the first day of the Mindanao Art Fair 2020 at Malayan Colleges of Mindanao lobby in Davao City. (Keith Bacongco)

The theme this year centers on “art in a new landscape” and is participated by over 200 artists from  Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Caraga region, North Cotabato, General Santos City, Bukidnon province, Cagayan de Oro City, Iligan City, and Zamboanga Peninsula.

The 1st Mindanao Art Fair Exhibit and Conference (Mindanao Art 2019) was attended last year by thousands of art enthusiasts and the general public at the Gaisano Mall.

More Mindanaoan artists

In his speech during the online gala, Lawig-Diwa president Rey Mudjahid “Kublai” P. Millan said “MindanaoArt 2020 has brought together more artists than it did last year, in a feat and scale never before dared.”

“And it does much more than that. In this new uncertain landscape, we chose to make art live,” he said.

“We chose to push through with Mindanao’s biggest art event and we chose to do more, aim for more, despite or perhaps of the ongoing crisis, because crisis is the mother of revolution and Mindanao is beginning its own revolution,” Millan said.

“This is a revolution which creates new possibilities, new opportunities and new ways of thinking. It is a revolution which sees Mindanao creatives dare to carve craft,  curate a new sense of collective identity and community, a new spirit of optimism and pride, a new brand of audacity,” he added.

Millan also introduced the 10 legendary virtual museums the designs of which were inspired by iconic symbols of Mindanao including the Tapayan, Uyayi, Tambol, Kaban, Lamin, Balangay, Dabakan, Kulintang, Vinta, and Bakaw.

Artists during lockdown

One of the participating artists was an art practitioner for 15 years Victor Augustus Dumaguing.  Dumaguing was born in Zamboanga City in 1977 and has established his own non-formal visual art and music school in Tagum City, Davao del Norte province. He teaches in the College of Architecture and Fine Arts Education at the University of Mindanao in Davao City. 

Victor Augustus Dumaguing
Victor Augustus Dumaguing
Spectators take glimpse of the artworks on exhibit during the first day of the Mindanao Art Fair 2020 at Malayan Colleges of Mindanao lobby in Davao City. (Keith Bacongco)

In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Dumaguing shared that before the lockdown, he was working on some 25 artworks.

“Marami na, 25 artworks ito pero hindi pa siya finished. Nung nag-lockdown, yun na, inisa-isa ko nang tapusin pagkatapos dun ko na pinasukan ng concept na ‘stay at home’ you have to spend more time with your family,” he said.

Dumaguing said instead of letting anxiety and depression overpower him because of the pandemic, he chose to enjoy spending time with his family at home.

His artworks called “Stay At Home” depicts the daily bond among family members. Some of the artworks show a mother playing with her child and a father and his child doing gardening.

“Ang gusto kong ipalabas sa artwork ko is the positive view, hindi yung negative side (I want to show the positive view, not the negative side of it through my artwork),” he added.

His paintings resonate not only his call to strengthen the Filipino families but also the beauty of Mindanaoan culture and the intricate patterns inspired by handwoven textiles by the indigenous peoples of Mindanao.

“Inspired yan nung damit ng mga tribespeople natin. Hindi sya copied, but the process itself, the intricacy of the patterns, I applied it to the artworks,” Dumaguing said.

He said he also contacted some of his students to participate in MindanaoArt2020 by sharing their experiences during the lockdown through their artworks. The exhibit shows a total of 15 artworks by Dumaguing and his students.

Featured artists

MindanaoArt also features the works of the special artists from the Deanna Sipaco (DS) Foundation for the Differently-Abled, Inc. Their works are displayed at the center of the physical gallery.

The exhibit also features the special project entitled MinTODA by veteran artist Leonardo “Bing” Cariño.

Spectators take glimpse of the artworks on exhibit during the first day of the Mindanao Art Fair 2020 at Malayan Colleges of Mindanao lobby in Davao City. (Keith Bacongco)

According to the organizers, “Cariño’s colourful illustrations of Mindanao’s diverse tricycles will be exhibited publicly in six different major urban centers around the island, making Mindanao one large open air gallery.”

They added that the illustrations will be mounted on actual tricycles and public spaces in Pagadian City, Tagum City, Davao City, Koronadal City, General Santos City, and Midsayap, “with more towns and cities set to join.”

“Tricycle passengers will be treated to a free art show! ” they said.

After the online gala, the participating artists and guests were also introduced to Monobo cuisine prepared by Datu Hudson Bayawan of the Obo Manobo tribe in Kidapawan City.

The public can make an appointment to see the artworks at the Malayan Colleges of Mindanao from 10AM-4PM starting October 22, 2020 until November 8, 2020.

Source: 2nd Mindanao Art Fair opens amid pandemic – Manila Bulletin (

MindanaoArt 2021 presents beauty in disorienting times

Published September 30, 2021, 2:26 PM

by Noel Pabalate

An exhibit that highlights hope for a renewed life

In our days of isolation due to the health crisis, there are organizations that value the essential role of art continues to play in our lives. In its various expressions, art makes our existence meaningful especially at a time like this pandemic. Take Lawig-Diwa Inc., for example, and its efforts to make the quarantine experience pleasant through this year’s MindanaoArt Fair.


Lawig-Diwa is hosting MindanaoArt 2021 starting tomorrow, Oct. 1. until Oct. 30, 2021 at the Poblacion Market Center in Davao City with the theme “Art in Between: Mindanao Art in Liminal Space”—a recognition of our situation being in a space of ambiguity and disorientation. Nevertheless, the exhibit lets viewers experience the theme’s narrative the moment you step on the venue’s entrance.

The lighted butterfly installation and the surrounding murals by Jeff Bangot at the venue’s entrance.

What welcomes you are sculptures of tree stumps that symbolize our lives having been cut off, isolated during this pandemic. But you’ll see that they are sprouting again and growing new branches to represent our resiliency. Then, it will lead you to see and feel isolation inside a cocoon tunnel, showing the liminal space before metamorphosis. And as you come out, a lighted butterfly appears right before your eyes giving you the feeling of a renewed life, full of hope, changed.

Also, featured at the entrance that interprets this years’ theme is the two giant murals measuring 8 ft x 20 ft by Davao artist Jefferson “Jeff’ Bangot.

As MindanaoArt 2021 carries the butterfly as its icon, it invites art lovers to reflect on how COVID-19 has affected humanity and to realize that beauty is ever-present in the face of a cruel past and uncertain future.

Some of the paintings and sculptures at the MindanaoArt 2021

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, however, only a limited number of visitors are allowed per day at a two-hour intervals. Interested viewers need to book an appointment on its website to view the artwork display. A virtual exhibit is also available on the said site and on its Facebook page MindanaoArt. In its third year, the art fair brings together more than 300 artists featured by 35 galleries from five regions, more participants than MindanaoArt’s previous years (200 plus artists from 16 galleries). A significant number that shows art is not dying in these trying times.

A preview of the list of artists and artworks at Davao City’s Poblacion Market Center

One of the highlights of MindanaoArt 2021 is a special exhibit entitled “4 Artists, 4 Mindanao” by Tanya Lee, Elenita Dumlao, Jag Bueno, and Lucas Ranola. Moreover, it will air a fashion show dubbed “Art Walk, Art Talks” on Oct. 10, 2021 via its online platform, presenting eight Davao fashion designers’ wearable apparel that interprets masterpieces of eight visual artists.

MindanaoArt 2021, which will have a virtual opening ceremony tomorrow, is made possible also in partnership with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts and the National Committee on Art Galleries (NCCA-NCAG).

Source: MindanaoArt 2021 presents beauty in disorienting times – Manila Bulletin (