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Tabula Rasa | Davao Art Federation: It’s about time

The “FEDERATION” of Davao art group (galleries & artists) is born. Long live! After a whole-day discussion and fellowship (Nov 9 at Vic Secuya’s Art Sanctuary in Trinidad Hills, Ma-a), the leaders and representatives of the 17 art organizations voted unanimously to form a “federation” in principle.

An Ad Hoc Committee (of Alex Alagon, Boy Pena, and Atty. De Leon) has been tasked with finding out the pre-requisites of a “FEDERATION”. Initially planned-subject to further discussion – is forming a Board of Directors (composed of the 17 charter-member groups) who will vote for the group’s constitution, by-law and the officers. What are the ADVANTAGES of having a federation – since the attendees found no disadvantage?

1. The art groups will have a stronger, more UNIFIED voice in determining the direction of art here. We have a large community of artists, art lovers, art collectors – and their friends and relatives – which totaled become a large VOTING bloc.
2. A federation is a LEGAL ENTITY and personality that is required in getting grants from the NCCA, or financial support from the city or the national government agencies, like the D.O.T.; or even international organizations.
3. It will PROFESSIONALIZE what is today “PERSONAL” relationships between galleries and artists, artists with other artists, art collectors and artists, etc. This will resort in less grievances, bruised egos – and CRAB mentality. A “GRIEVANCE committee” might help.
4. A “STANDARD CONTRACT” between galleries or exhibit organizers and exhibiting artists will help in avoiding misunderstandings and disputes about “commissions”.
5. Collaborative group exhibits – like an “Art Davao Festival” or an “Art Davao Biennale” can be more easily organized, for example:

A federation may just be the right vehicle towards realizing the strategic vision of establishing an art industry here – where a creative economy will enable artists, perhaps not just the visual ones, to make a living creating works of art full-time. We’re taking the first step by creating a DIRECTORY of PROFESSIONAL (as opposed to “hobbyists” and students) visual artists. This will be published in hard copy as well as on-line. Possible collaborative projects: having a month-long group exhibit around town with the federation’s group participants in all the art galleries, some hotels and malls. This could be the 1st Art Davao Festival which showcases Davao’s contemporary visual art works.

We’re also looking for a “permanent” art exhibit venue – say, a warehouse with art galleries on the ground floor and artist studios on the overlooking mezzanine. Or perhaps it can be an old, abandoned building (like Artica Dome or the Durian or Maguindanao Hotel) that is re-purposed to be an art hub – like Singapore’s Mica BLDG or its post office. We’re looking forward to our city’s planned Php 100M art museum to be built near People’s Park in 2021.

It’s about time that a unifying body is formed to help artists, galleries and collectors as well and in effect enhance the Davao art industry.

Updates on our move to create the Davao Art Federation will be posted in the coming days. For the mean time, we invite you all to continually patronize and promote our local artists and their creations.

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