Filipino contemporary art was celebrated at Manilart 2012: Asia’s Hottest Contemporary Art Fair at the SMX Convention Center, Oct. 2 to 6.

Artists’ participation was much bigger and more diverse than the previous years. The fair saw 46 participating galleries that carried over 400 artists and 1,400 artworks. Lectures, art demonstrations, workshops, as well as a jeepney art auction, in which the Philippine transport icon was presented in different artistic representations, were held.

Thomasian Ronald Ventura’s work, “Crack in the Hull ,” was the banner piece of this year’s fair. Described as a modern interpretation of the Manunggul Jar, the painting symbolizes digging up the past and linking it to the present. Ventura currently holds the record for the most expensive sale of contemporary art in Southeast Asia; his acrylic-and-oil-on-canvas painting, “Grayground,”  got  a bid of US$1.1 million at the Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong last year.

Mario Parial, a UST Fine Arts alumnus, was distinguished by his naïf piece, “Floral Portraits,” featuring a Filipina with flowers adorning her hair, surrounded by various images of nude women painted in bright, contrasting hues.

Works of UST alumnus Juvenal Sanso, the Spanish artist who trained in the Philippines, who has received the Presidential Medal of Merit, centered on the natural abstract aesthetics, showing different representations of nature painted on solid-colored bright backgrounds.

The paintings of Dominic Rubio were also on exhibit. Rubio, another Fine Arts graduate, contributed showed his nostalgic representations of Filipinos in the 19th century garbed in traditional costumes. The figures were shown in Rubio’s signature big heads with long slender necks.

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Renowned sculptor Ramon Orlina, a product of UST Architecture, was represented by his signature glass carvings presented in alluring, bright colors. His “Homage to Mondarian”  was a carved white crystal cube with painted installations of primary colors.

Works of notable Thomasian artists such as National  Artists J. Elizalde Navarro and Ang Kiukok, Lydia Velasco, and Romulo Olazo were also featured. Romina Louise C. Cunanan and Marianne S. Lastra

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