Art in the park (and the metaverse)

The annual fair Art in the Park makes a comeback to its home venue this week, while running exhibits online and featuring an NFT marketplace for the first time.

The 16th edition of what is tagged as the country’s premier affordable art fair returns to its roots at Jaime C. Velasquez Park in Makati City on April 28, from 4 pm to 8 pm. Meanwhile, the fair presents over 61 galleries, art schools, independent art spaces and art collectives online at until May 1.

Art in the Park 2022 includes several special exhibits as well. Acclaimed husband-and-wife artists Rodel Tapaya and Marina Cruz share the spotlight as they present their ongoing experimentation with various media. Tapaya will be showcasing nine artworks for Chicken Army and Cruz will be exhibiting 11 pieces for Imprinted Musings.

Tapaya’s works, of course, are defined by visionary narrative tableaux that merge folklore and social history into painterly figurations. Meanwhile, Cruz’s evolving investigation into the materiality of antique objects, photographs and dresses encompasses their physicality, history, and how they shape her biography.

Together, the couple founded IsTorya, a narrative design studio that celebrates creativity, love of identity, and new ways of learning that root back to the stories of Filipinos. IsTorya believes that, at the end of the day, the best stories are the ones that impart important lessons.

​Art in the Park 2022 will also present Studio 1616. In 2012, artist Lynyrd Paras approached the organizers of the fair and asked if they would welcome a bunch of his students. After confirming a slot for that year’s Art in the Park, the group had to come up with a name. They decided to take on the address of Paras’ workspace, and Studio 1616 was born.

A decade later, that promising band of art students has blossomed into some of the most exciting names in Philippine contemporary art. The group includes Johanna Helmuth, Yeo Kaa, Jeremae Jumaoas, Jerahmeel Alvarez, Keb Cerda, Dale Erispe, Jayvee David, Jett Osian, Levin Paras, Ciron Señeres, Kiko Urquiola, Gian Miroe, Roy Rosatase, Yani Unsana and Erick Villaruz. The artists return to Art in the Park and will be exhibiting 15 artworks for sale, each measuring 16 x 16 inches, on the website.

Art aficionados and Jaime Velasquez Park visitors will have the chance to view their work, Reflect Deflect, installed live at the park. In a rare coming together for this project, the work takes off from the tents that characterize Art in the Park, using steel and mirrors as reflective surfaces that encourage visitors to examine themselves more closely.

​Another featured artist for this year’s presentation is Distort Monsters, who bridges digital art and traditional art. Art in the Park, in partnership with Globe Platinum, will present 100 pieces from part two of Monster Mayhem MegaMash, an ongoing project of the Filipino street artist.

​Distort Monsters aims to connect the physical and digital art realms with the release of colorful creatures in two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and digital forms, taking his distinct images from murals to beyond NFTs.

The concept of the online exhibit takes off from Blindboxes, where buyers do not know which of the 100 unique prints and NFTs they have purchased until the giclee prints are delivered to them. A live installation of 10 three-foot-high resin sculptures will complement the online exhibition.

Lastly, Ang Illustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK) will present an exhibit, called INK in the Park, as part of their 30th anniversary celebration. The exhibition features a collection of 40 artworks from various illustrators including Juno Abreu, Aldy Aguirre, Fran Alvarez, Jamie Bauza, Benedir Dasig, Jovan De Ocampo, Danielle Florendo, Liza Flores, Tin Javier, Jasmin Lacay, LD Mendoza, Arli Pagaduan, Jonathan Ranola, Mark L. Ruste, Jomike Tejido, and Ige Ochoa Trinidad.

Art in the Park is organized by Philippine Art Events Inc., for the benefit of the Museum Foundation of The Philippines, and with support from Globe Platinum and Bank of The Philippine Islands.

More information can be found at and facebook/artinthepark.

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