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State Of The Art’s Maiden Episode Is All About The Best In Contemporary Art

In the first episode of State of The Art on ANC-X, the show zeroed in on groundbreaking modern Filipino artists who have redefined the local creative scene.

Until the past few decades, Philippine art has thrived within an insular circle of creators whose works represented mostly traditional Filipino ideals, ideologies, and culture. Gradually, a new wave of local artists began breaking through demographic and cultural barriers, as their work ventured towards broader discussions ranging from the lofty to the mundane. A select few from this group contributed their works to the first Manila Biennale held in Intramuros early this year. Largely focused on installation and video art, the maiden effort of the event sought to discuss, through art, the present state of the city vis a vis its colonial history.

If you were intrigued by these artists and would like to see more of their work, we put together a little introduction.


Pete Jimenez

(b. 1960) Known for his almost-magical ability to turn iron and steel into his own language, award-winning freelance sculptor Pete Jimenez made his mark in the art arena with his witty and whimsical pieces. For over two decades, he has been infusing his own brand of visual humor into rusty metal junk that he’s found around the metro, transforming them into unforgettably quirky and world-renowned installation art.

To date, he has collaborated with J Studio, Art Informal, Tin-Aw, West Gallery, Magnet Gallery, Galleria Duemila, Down Town Club, Alliance Francaise de Manille, New Finds Gallery, Taksu Kuala Lumpur, and Arndt Berlin/3A.


Alwin Reamillo 

(b. 1964) Alwin Reamillo can be considered as a creative explorer, bringing his passion for mobility, memory, and cultural exchange into various disciplines including painting, photography, collage and sculpture, mixed media installations, performance art, and shadow puppetry. Channeling his avant-garde sensibilities, the former visual art teacher continues to create ‘social sculpture,’ pieces that are founded on movement and dialogue between the artist, the artwork, and the spectator.

Reamillo has presented his work all over the world, including the Philippines, Australia, Venice, Havana, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. His art has been seen in gallieries like Hiraya Gallery, Cultural Center of the Philippines, John Batten Gallery, Territory Centre for Contemporary Art, Tambayang Makiling Artspace, Riverway Arts Centre, National Gallery of Australia, and Queens Museum of Art.    

Matchbox Works by Alwin Reamillo

Street art group KoloWn

The anonymous group of Filipino artists known as koloWn is more focused on producing pieces that draw the audience to their message, and not the messenger. Drawing their strength from diversity in style, they constantly find new ways to ‘kolownize’ the local streets with their mutli-layered visual wit. 

Having covered much ground in a relatively short timeframe starting in 2014, koloWn has held shows across the Philippines and in Japan, in art spaces such as Mo Space, Cultural Center of the Philippines, 856 G Gallery, Kalye Gallery, Turtle's Nest, and Mikke! Konohana Public Interventions in Osaka. They are also currently working on five creative explorations within the city.


Kiri Dalena 

(b. 1975) Internationally acclaimed artist and filmmaker Kiri Dalena has built her name on consistently opening the eyes of worldwide audiences to the social inequalities and injustices that plague the Philippines. Her work is the mouthpiece of human rights activists, braving state persecution to uphold the relevance of political criticism and social dissent within a currently oppressive society.

Her creative and journalistic work has aired in international film events like Visions du Reel, Naqsh Short Film Festival, and the Sharjah Biennale 11 Film Program. She has also participated in several exhibitions in local universities, and international galleries including Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem, Facultad de Artes ASAB, The National Art Center, Mori Art Museum, MOCA, Queensland Art Gallery, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Museum of Contemporary Art, Mo_space, and Singapore Art Museum.  


Roberto ‘Bobby’ Chabet 

(1937-2013) Widely acknowledged as ‘The Father of Conceptual Art,’ visual artist and sculptor Chabet (as he preferred to be known) started producing tongue-in-cheek installations in the 60s when nontradional methods of self-expression were still highly considered as culturally rebellious. When he started teaching at the UP Diliman College of Fine Arts, he advocated for the theory and practice of idea over form, which shook rigidly traditional principles behind art and meaning.

Chabet’s candid and uncompromising take against the pretenses surrounding the art industry strongly influenced his numerous exhibitions, which have now been celebrated across Southeast Asia for over fifty years and counting. Audiences have flocked to see his work at the National Museum, The Luz Gallery, Ateneo Art Gallery, Cultural Center of The Philippines, Osage (Hong Kong), and Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority in Singapore.


Oca Villamiel 

(b. 1953) Oca Villamiel is a multimedia artist whose installation art has graced Philippine and Singaporean galleries. His assemblages have a decided affinity for death and the transience of life, using materials—doll heads, animal bones and horns, hair clippings—that force the audience to stop, look, and face what we dread to think about in the daylight.

His visceral approach to his work has earned him media recognition for its simple and authentic, yet powerful way of exposing the darker undergrowth of the human psyche. Viewers have gotten acquainted with his artistic vision at the Vargas Museum, Light and Space Contemporary, and the Singapore Art Museum. 


Jet Melencio

Former musician Jet Melencio pulls out all the stops in his assemblages, combining paintings, found objects, installations, and floor works composed of disparate materials. He has mastered the use of conceptual incongruity in his work, such as combining elements like frottage paintings and lopsided furniture to express the beginning stages of death.

His installations have been exhibited in Philippine galleries like Manila Contemporary and Mo_Space, and also in art spaces in Canada, where he demonstrated his keen understanding of the relationship between line, form, light and shadow, and physical space. That skill has also extended in his visual contributions to Philippine cinema and plays in the Cultural Center of The Philippines.