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"Curated by Federico de Vera" Turns the Spotlight on Unique and Compelling Filipino Art

Filipino talent is undeniably world-class—it’s been proven a lot of times that hearing Filipino name rise above all other races isn’t a rarity anymore, but nonetheless impressive still. And we’re not just talking about sports or the performing arts.

One artist who made the decision to fly to San Francisco after his college graduation and study more about his craft has stood out in the international art scene. His impressive eye for art even made him the go-to person of A-list socialites abroad.

Federico de Vera, owner of De Vera Objects based in New York, has been creating baubles that define beauty in a different light—one that has, in his own words, “nothing absolutely wrong with them.” His constant pursuit to look for an object’s underlying potential and find a perfect angle to a seemingly imperfect object is what makes his pieces one-of-a-kind.

De Vera's latest endeavor is the “Curated by Federico de Vera” show at Ayala Museum, which showcases the beauty and excellent craftsmanship of Filipino art and culture while giving the public a new means to rediscover our heritage.

Here, de Vera shares that museum goers will experience an enriching walk through unearthed art gems created by our very own extraordinary local artists. “Everything is a must-see. For me, every piece could stand on their own, although they are juxtaposed so that one could actually make a connection between them all," he enthuses.


What inspired your latest exhibit?

“It’s inspired by the beauty that’s found in Filipino art and culture. There are a lot of beautiful things that could be found in the Philippines, and I thought that to have a big exhibition that encompasses different periods, styles, and mediums would be an interesting show.”


How was it like sourcing for pieces for the show? How long did it take you to complete the collection?

“We have a few pieces from museums but most of the work comes from private collectors who were generous enough to lend us. Overall, it took over a year to consolidate the loans, although the concept was solidified over a year and a half ago. In fact, we were still adding to the list as of last week to make up for the loans that we didn’t get from other museums.”


What were the factors you looked for in sourcing the pieces for this exhibit?

“Beauty, rarity, depth, story or history, ingenuity, balance, purity, scale, drama, and sculptural element.”


The exhibit showcases over 300 pieces. How are they categorized?

“The show is on three floors and each has a theme: 1) PORTRAIT OF THE FILIPINO is mostly paintings of people from different walks of life and their influences and aspirations, 2) THE TREASURY is mostly religious statuary and precious objects, and 3) ART AND  DESIGN is where craft, contemporary art, and ethnographic art meet.”


Your show mixes different forms of Filipino art. Ultimately, if you are to describe what Filipino art means now from a global perspective, how would you put it into words?

“Filipino art is unique. It’s compelling, inventive and unexpected.”


What message do you wish to convey with your show?

“It’s about the democracy of beauty in all forms. It’s also about making sense of a story through installation.”


What is next for you?

“I’ve already started working on my third book, but it might be another year before it’ll come out.”


“Curated by Federico de Vera” runs from November 7, 2017 to January 28, 2018 at the Ayala Museum, Makati City.


Photographs from Ayala Museum and @gregoryhalili and @nlagdameo on Instagram