nakita ko silang lahat.
all under one NBC tent, last thursday, stormy weather notwithstanding. apparently, art can bring all of our alta sociadad together, given too that this was a first-of-its-kind art event: the Manila Art 2009. with most of manila’s galleries bringing the paintings, sculptures and mixed-media works under their roofs, this was a free-for-all, really. a one-stop shop for anyone who’s interested in art in the philippines.
this apparently, is what the rich of this country have in common other than their money: art.
but of course being my middle class self, recently becoming familiar with the kind of market that continues to exist for art in this country, i had come in the fanciest of my public-school-teacher attires, flowy skirt, wedge heels, the most make-up i can bear. i failed to take into consideration the rich coming in black coats and barongs, long gowns and cocktail dresses.
my happy flowy beige-and-orange dress could only float above the din of black.
naisip ko: para silang nagluluksa.
but this was no sorrowful night. in fact, for the artists and the galleries, it seemed like the one affair they were thankful to be in. for art critics — and the wannabes like me — it was a rare chance to be in the company of all these artworks. for the rich, well, this was a time to hobnob, have pictures taken, smoke cigarettes outside because you know, it’s not allowed inside.
and it was there that i realized how justice exists in this world.
woman 1: you know, i love this event because we get to buy all this art! i think this is what will keep art alive in this country.
woman 2: yeah, the art world shouldn’t depend on governement, they should depend on the rich for support. that’s the only way.
woman 1: oh, look at that car, he’s in the way, nagta-traffic tuloy. filipinos talaga.
man (pointing at the traffic): now THAT, is art.
if the pinoy artist can depend on this rich to be their clients, and this rich can barely get themselves off of their perch, enough to really and truly understand what ails the filipino — artist and otherwise — then the art worldwill survive as a matter of course. it may remain inaccessible to the majority of filipinos, and it may be used against them by the rich, ah, but it will just fluggin’ exist.
in a tent with the tessa prietos and tim yaps of this world, buying art like there’s no tomorrow, i am reminded not just of how the rich can survive these times of crisis. they can afford to be alive and well, and spend money that can feed a poor family for a full half-year, for one piece of artwork.
such is the social crisis of our time.