In the future, professional women should all just be called: writers, photographers, sculptors — artists. Not “women writers,” “female photographers,” “women sculptors,” or “female artists.”
We can only be evolved when we begin to work together, engage one another as people. Not as man and woman. Just as human beings. We’re a long ways off from that ideal future.
But some of the artists in this year’s Art Fair agree that although one’s gender is inescapable in one’s work, that it shouldn’t be the lone defining element.
Women and Art
Christina Quisumbing Ramilo replies when asked about the female artists in the country, “I think we’re lucky in the Philippines. Women have shows because they have talent, not because they’re women, so it’s regardless of gender. In different countries, there are women shows. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think we’re very lucky women can stand on their own, not because of they’re gender. But because they’re strong and talented and powerful.”
Another side to this perspective is seeing men and women work together.
Ambie Abaño, who worked with Roberto Feleo in the “Subliminal Metaphors” exhibit sees the value in working together. She says, “Men and women can live in harmony because we’re only human. But we have to transcend differences, transcend competition. Transcend all this prejudices. But if we open ourselves to understanding each other better, we can be more powerful as human beings.”
Liv Vinluan, this year’s Karen H. Montinola Selection grantee, sees the differences as being more pronounced when women take on a new role, and go from being a daughter to a wife, and for some, mother. She says, “There are certain things that are expected of us so it’s harder to get out of (the loop) . . . that’s when I found out na ‘Ay, ang hirap maging babae pala.’ But you will realize that kind of pressure from society . . . and that was one of the few things I was thinking of when I was making this piece.”
Even when you shy away from talking to the artists and simply look at their works, you can’t not go to Art Fair Philippines and not come away inspired to create.
Never mind that you also leave the four floors filled with exhibits liquored up (also a roaring way to get inspired). The point is you’re surrounded by photographs, paintings, installation art, sculptures, and a piece of someone else’s soul. And you’re likely to go home with an urge to grab a pencil, a brush — anything, to make something of your own.
Who knows? If you start sketching, painting, molding now you might have enough created for future art fairs.
Meanwhile, here are some of the pieces we saw at this year’s Art Fair:
Joy has been a vegan for over 20 years. She's done a wide range of stories for magazines, from music and movies to business and culture matters. She continues to write professionally to this day — like, right this very minute.