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Filipino artists make name for themselves on international art platform

While virtually every industrialized nation has a rich history of famous artists who helped put their respective country on the art industry's radar screen, some parts of the world are sending shock signals today. This appears to be the case in the Philippines, as a motley crew of contemporary artists are bringing Filipino works to the forefront that are getting international recognition.

According to the Philippine Star, some of the art world's newest heavyweights include people like Ronald Ventura and Winner Jumalon, who have been able to successfully sell their pieces for prices in the high six-figures. The recognition of their names has not only caused some people to send money to the Philippines to invest in these pieces, but more people are flocking to the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

For more than 37 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila – or "the Met," as it's called for short – has played host to a variety of arts and artifacts from yesteryear. But the pace at which new artists are coming onto the scene has the museum devoting much of its real estate to contemporary works of art.

One of the latest is known as "The Philippine Contemporary: Scaling the Past and the Possible," which was developed by Patrick Flores from the Department of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines. The exhibition has garnered so much attention that its earned a permanent spot in the museum's interior, the paper reports.

As the success of Ventura and Jumalon has shown, Filipino art is piquing the interest of a number of artistic enthusiasts around the world. The Philippines Star recently spoke with some of the leaders of the Met, asking them what's driven so many people toward this segment of the art world.

Colayco: Level of international intrigue 'remarkable'
"It has really been remarkable, the rise of the young artists in the international art stage," said Tina Colayco, who now serves as the Met's director. "I think it's due to a lot of things. Even our curators are being recognized."

She added that they are being given so much attention mainly because they are supremely talented but also because of who they are and the ability with which they're able to express themselves with a paintbrush and canvas.

"They are creating an identity that is distinctly Filipino," Colayco told the paper.

Art educator and publisher Colayco said that she has a lot to be grateful for when it comes to these artists, as museums and art institutions in the Philippines have gained a new life among the art-going public as more people are "willing to cultivate a more in-depth experience" when they go to museums like the Met.

Also displaying an assortment of art pieces that were created recently is the Ayala Museum as part of its Art Fair Philippines event. Inquirer Lifestyle reports that the event was held February 7 through February 10 and featured many of the artists that are on display at the Met.

"We're so excited about the inroads Philippine art has achieved within the worldwide contemporary arts community," said Lisa Ongpin Periquet when the AFP was first announced.

Depending on how successful organizers deem the event was, it may become an annual occasion that art enthusiasts can take part in.

Other famous Filipinos who have made inroads in the international art stage include Fabian de la Rosa, Ang Kiukok, Maningning Milat and Luis Eduardo Aute and Fernando Amorsolo. The 30-year-old Amorsolo graduated from the University of the Philippines and has a degree in Fine Arts.

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