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EXCLUSIVE: Filipino Perfumer Oscar Mejia Talks About His Fragrance-Based Art Installation At Art In The Park 2019

Art in the Park, the much-awaited affordable art fair, will be held on March 17, 2019 (Sunday) at the Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati City, the same location as the weekend market. Entrance is free of charge and will run from 10a.m. to 10p.m.

During a meeting with Trickie Lopa, one of the event founders, she mentioned that one of the key highlights at this year’s fair is “The Enigma of Scent,” an installation by Oscar Mejia, in addition to the special exhibits by contemporary artists Zean Cabangis, Yeo Kaa, and Leeroy New.

 

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It is a fundraising event for the benefit of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines for their projects with the National Museum. There will be 56 exhibitors which will offer various works in different mediums. The pieces will be priced at Php50,000 or less; buyers may pay with their credit cards, and BPI credit card holders will even have a zero percent interest 6-month deferred payment option.

 

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For the first time, Art in the Park will give visitors a chance to experience an interactive and fragrance-based art installation entitled "The Enigma of Scent" by Oscar Mejia, an artisan Filipino perfumer. The special exhibit will also include information on the history of the Philippines’ perfume industry.

Oscar was trained on perfumery in Grasse, France under the mentorship of renowned French perfumer Nicholas de Barry. He also launched his own fragrance collection with names inspired by Filipino heritage such as Tadhana, Paraluman, and Harana. As an artisan perfumer, he values the contribution of the Philippines in the perfume industry way back in the 1800s, which led to his personal mission.

 

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“Not everyone knows that the Philippines has played a significant role in the movement of the fragrance industry. Back in the late 1800s, the Philippines was called 'Reina de las Perfumes en Asia (Queen of Perfumes in Asia)' where locally-made perfumes were exported to Europe and European houses developed perfumes exclusively for the Filipino market. We were also the top producers of ylang-ylang oil. In fact, the earliest version of Chanel No. 5 contained ylang-ylang oil from the Philippines. With this, my personal mission has since been two-pronged: One is to put our country back into the global area of perfume trade and second is to share with everyone this seemingly 'lost' Filipino art expressed in the sense of smell," shares Oscar.

 

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Oscar Mejia, an artisan Filipino perfumer, will do the first interactive and fragrance based art installation titled "The Enigma of Scent" at the Art in the Park 2019 event. | Photo courtesy of Oscar Mejia

 

Oscar shared with Metro.Style his concept and source of inspiration for "The Enigma of Scent." He said that he has been toying with the idea of doing an outdoor perfumed installation, and it is just timely that he got a chance to bring his idea to life at Art in the Park. He will be placing a large perfume bottle in the park, and scented bubbles will be released to create a fun and memorable sensory experience for attendees.

"'The Enigma of Scent' installation aims to evoke the unconscious––both collective and personal. I invite [attendees] to stay and linger by the installation and immerse themselves in the flurry of bubbles and allow themselves to be touched by the bubbles in an intimate manner as if molecules of fragrance touch the nose. I want them to spend some time to reflect on the fragrance––what it smells like, what could be the composition and more importantly, how does it make you feel? What images come to mind? What memories are brought back?” says Oscar.

 

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Artisan perfumer Oscar Mejia working on the perfume bottle that will be part of "The Enigma of Scent" installation for Art in the Park 2019. | Photo courtesy of Oscar Mejia

 

Oscar believes that the installation will allow people to experience fragrances not just as a commodity but a means of expression and communication. Thus, he will invite people to share via social media their thoughts and feelings when they smell the scents from the installation during the event, and he will reveal the mood board and notes through his Instagram page, @OMArtisanFragrances before the end of the fair.

 

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Zean Cabangis’ artwork is featured on the event’s postcards. His work, "The Space in Which We Stand," consists of a photo transfer of one of his photographs that he then painted over. | Photo courtesy of Art in the Park

 

To know more about Art in the Park, visit artinthepark.ph.

 

Photo courtesy of Art in the Park