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Tabula Rasa | Tabula Rasa urges reforms: We can make things better!

The 1ST Mindanao Art Fair and Exhibit (MAFE) was the “FIRST” of hopefully a series of annual exhibitions showcasing the Art of Mindanao and her Mindanawon artists — all artists. Like many “firsts”, the MAFE can best be remembered as a “WORK-IN-PROGRESS” much like the start of a painting, much like the “FIRST” Visayan Islands Visual Arts (VIVA), or the “FIRST” Art Fair PH, and the “FIRST” Manila Art Fair, the business model for the MAF.

The proposal — and the PHP1MILLION grant from the National Commission of Accredited Galleries (NCAG), a division of the NCCA — was premised on the objective of putting Mindanawon artists and their artworks on the Philippine Art Scene. The question many Davao artists ask is whether this objective was achieved — or at least BEGAN to be met. There’s a saying that the journey of a thousand kilometers starts with the FIRST STEP — and let’s not forget that Manila art is now on its twelfth year.

So let’s now look at an objective view of the 3-day event. I think the Oct. 5 conference was fine with the Manila-based art personalities each giving enlightened insights about their fields or expertise to artists and art students. A “job well-done!” to Rob Tanedo, Bing Cariño, and to Emi Englis — and a big “THANK YOU to PWC’s Rosa Santos Munda (RSM) events center.

Also to be commended are the MAFE “SATELLITE VENUES” at ART CENTRALE, Felcris Centrale; the galeries of ART PORTAL; MORNING LIGHT, BINTANA and the group show of BAI HINANG at Waterfront-Insular. These additional exhibit venues gave many other artists an opportunity to showcase their works to the Manila and Visayas visitors — and our Mindanawons.

From listening to many artists, art students and art lovers here, we’ve gathered many comments and suggestions to address the areas for improvement:

1. EMPHASIS- Stronger emphasis on achieving the promised objective of the MAFE to showcase MINDANAO’s ARTISTS and their art in the art galleries in Davao and elsewhere in Mindanao. This could have been done by simply introducing the participating artists – and acknowledging the help of artists who helped like the DCHS students and volunteers on stage and the gala eve. A big thanks to BRANDO CEDEÑO for the tokens gifted to our VIP visitors. Kudos to Alfred Galvez who was instrumental in rallying the Davao artists and art galleries to participate. A “JOB WELL DONE!” to volunteers like VIC DUMAGUING and especially JEFF BANGOT and his DCHS Senior HS students for the outstanding stage set up.

2. VENUE- As a venue, the GAISANO MALL had a good location but is not Davao’s best spot for such an event since its atrium and its parking is too limited. The exhibit area was too cramped, thus, the art works could not be viewed well. Other locations like SM Lanang, SM Ecoland, Davao Convention Center or Abreeza would have been better venues since this is where the art buyers would usually go for an event like this and these have better parking space.

3. PANELS INGRESS- The ingress for the panels should have been two days before the opening to allow the ingress for the art works more time and panels and lighting are ready.

4. PAINTINGS INGRESS- On the ingress date for the paintings, the panels still needed painting and the lights were still being installed. In short, the panels were not ready to install the paintings. No workers were around to paint the panels. Some of the exhibiting artists had to repaint the panels themselves before mounting their works while the lights were installed. Unfortunately, one side of Tabula Rasa’s booth where two paintings hanged, did not have spot lights. which made that part of the booth dim and the works lacked brightness.

5. The LOGO of the MAFE should be more generic thus representative of all Mindanao artists. Note that Danny los Rayos did not put his ostrich egg on the logo of Manila Art.

In conclusion, we urge the Davao and Mindanao artists — to UNITE so that they have a stronger voice in dealing with their local governments and with our national agencies for the betterment of Davao and Mindanao artists and our art industry. By Dinky Munda, Jr.

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