Swatch joins Art Fair Ph 2014; opens residency program for Filipino artists
In the last 25 years, Swatch Philippines has not only served its purpose as a fashionable timepiece on the wrists of countless Filipinos, but unbeknownst to most wearers, has effectively brought them closer to the arts.
“Swatch and the arts have always been together since the beginning. We have done various collaborations with artists by featuring their works on our watches. As we say at Swatch, our watches are the smallest canvases in the world,” confirmed the company’s chief operating officer James Locsin in an interview with The Manila Times.
Appropriately, The Manila Times met with Locsin at Swatch’s VIP lounge during the Art Fair Philippines 2014 at The Link Carpark in Makati City. He described the brand’s participation in the highly successful event as a confirmation of Swatch’s continued passion to strengthen its artistic philosophy.
In its 30-year history, the global watch brand is proud to have commissioned more than 75 artists, both established and emerging, from a broad range of disciplines to design some of their most memorable pieces. Such names include Keith Haring, Kiki Picasso, Alessandro Mendini, Akira Kurosawa, Uma Wang and Jeremy Scott.
Swatch has also been known to actively support art fairs around the world, the most recent of which was the Venice Biennale in 2013, and of course Art Fair Philippines in Manila. When the organizers reached out to them before the February event, Swatch Philippines did not hesitate to sign up as one of the major sponsors.
It was Swatch that in fact mounted the much talked about exclusive VIP lounge, whose single showcase is the horse painting by National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “BenCab” Cab–rera. The brand also had a pop-up booth featuring edible art installations inspired by Swatch’s latest Pastry collection.
Besides its major sponsorship at the Art Fair Philippines 2014, Swatch more importantly realized its support for Filipinos artists. To begin with, the watch brand officially exhibited the works of four award-winning contemporary artists at the fair, namely Louie Cordero, Rodel Tapaya, Jose Santos 3rd and Marina Cruz.
More significantly, Swatch officially launched its Artists’ Residency Program, which will send qualified Filipino artists for a three- to six-month course at The Swatch Art Peace Hotel in the prestigious Bund neighborhood of Shanghai, China.
“It is our dream to have a Filipino artist qualify in and enter the artists’ residency program. We encourage all contemporary artists, especially the ones exhibiting here at the Art Fair to apply,” Locsin invited. (Details are available via www.swatch-art-peace-hotel.com)
Explaining the program further, Locsin told The Manila Times that the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Guest Artist Program is designed to bring together talented artists from around the world to experience a unique cultural environment dedicated to contemporary art. They will be invited to live and work in specially designed workshop studios in a community of 18 individuals from all artistic horizons and national origins.
At the end of the program, each artist will leave an artwork produced during his stay as a permanent display at the hotel. In some cases, too, an artwork may be chosen as a design for a timepiece.
“So who knows,” Locsin enthused, “with this artists’ residency program, we may finally have a Filipino artwork on a Swatch watch very soon.”