35 years of Philippine contemporary art

    ‘Dream’ by hyper-realist Randalf Dilla

    ‘Dream’ by hyper-realist Randalf Dilla

    Founded in 1980 at the heart of Manila, Hiraya Gallery has a long-standing contribution to the development of contemporary art in the country. This year, the gallery is marking 35 years of showcasing Philippine contemporary art with a collective exhibition that reminisces the gallery’s humble beginnings and an all-star league of artists from various generations.

    Ongoing until October 30 at the ArtistSpace of the Ayala Museum, the exhibit revealed new works of some of the country’s well known contemporary visual artists respected for their technical prowess and gravitas namely New York based expressionist Julio Austria, hyper-realist Randalf Dilla, master of iconography Eric Guazon, and story weaver Mario de Rivera.

    There will also be works from the exhibitions of Jose Legaspi (Dark Memories), Maya Munoz (Visceral Fictions), Santiago Bose (Filipino Subconscious), and Norberto Carating (Emotive Abstraction), among others.

    The choice of works shed light on the gallery’s sterling accomplishment in exposing and promoting the serious works of young but equally talented Filipino artists and its vital role in empowering artists to develop their talents and achieve their full potential.

    It is this role that has earned Hiraya Gallery acclaim from a string of respected art writers and critics from the academe and major publications such as art critic Leonides Benesa, the former director and chief curator of the Ateneo Art Gallery, Richie Lerma, Businessworld columnist Angel de Jesus and lifestyle writer Arturo Veloira, to name a few.

    Hiraya’s much acclaimed role stems from the gallery’s noble mandate- which is to contribute to the development of Filipino contemporary art.

    Julio Austria’s ‘Foot Soldier’s Creed

    Julio Austria’s ‘Foot Soldier’s Creed

    For over three decades, the Hiraya team led by Didi Dee, founder and artistic director of the gallery, has worked toward this end by tirelessly exploring new talents, experimenting new styles and exhibiting for the purpose of documentation (and not commercialism).

    Interestingly, Hiraya has also sponsored artists in biennales, scouted for local and international venues and collected the artworks produced by its own artists in its commitment to advocating Filipino art.

    Moreover, it has scored a great deal in discovering prodigies through its own formula for selecting artists. The process, according to Dee, involves a critical analysis of past and recent works, evaluation of the artist’s present concerns, and the study of an artist’s partial collection prior to an exhibition. It also banks not on the “established” or popular, rather, on artists whose “technical competence in their craft is equaled only by their dedication, intellectual honesty, depth, sensitivity and seriousness in their art regardless of their school, medium or style”.

    More than three decades have passed and the gallery has truly grown from that “tiny establishment obscured by restaurants in Ermita, Manila” into one of the country’s most reputable art galleries.

    With a vision to open new frontiers in art by exploring new talents and styles, and a team energized to expose these talents to the local and international art scene, Hiraya Gallery will continue to pave the way for the development of Philippine contemporary art and bring “to the public eye some of the most talented of the new breed of Filipino painters and sculptors.”

    35 Years of Showcasing Filipino Contemporary Art is running until October 30. ArtistSpace is at the Ground Level, Ayala Museum Annex, Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa Street, Greenbelt Park, Makati City.

    For more information, contact Lorraine Datuin, ArtistSpace gallery coordinator, at 759-8288 or e-mail artistspace@ayalafoundation.org.


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