Gallery Ninety: Dream Realized
Wherever in the world, museums and art galleries occupy a big part of my travel itineraries. I have always been fascinated with the role an art gallery or a museum plays in shaping the artist, the audience and the community.
It was the path I was supposed to take after university, when I was asked by a professor to apply at a museum in Manila, but got sidetracked in advertising before going full time into publishing.
George Eliot’s words ring so true: “It’s never too late to be what you might have become.” So here we are after a few postponements.
My husband Berg and I, along with my brother-in-law Aris Go, officially launched Gallery Ninety and our partnership with Casa Luningning’s Mara Pardo de Tavera and Jing Ramos last week among friends and family.
We all wear different hats in our respective fields but felt it was time to make the dream happen as we learn the workings from respected mentors in the industry.
We opened with “Art of Printed Paper” featuring premier printmaker Virgilio “Pandy” Aviado’s works from the early 1970s to the current years of his prolific career.
This body of work is mostly externalized on the subconscious and the mystical and is curated by Pardo de Tavera.
She and Aviado have been friends for nearly 40 years. “I met Pandy in the early 1990s in Bagiuo and was awed by his creative genius in the art of printmaking together with his pioneering efforts in the development of Philippine printmaking. Pandy wanted to make art affordable and accessible to everyone,” she said.
This particular collection is a curious mix of Aviado’s oeuvre and one marvels at the countless symbolism and pun intentions.
Art critic, curator and professor Patrick Flores said, “The art gallery performs an important role in the ecosystem of the art world. It is a venue for artworks to be presented, it is also a way for the public to get access to the works — so it is important that the public and the works of the artist come together, and that happens in the art gallery. The inaugural exhibition of Gallery Ninety is important and also auspicious because it presents the works of the important printmaker Virgilio Aviado and it presents both early and new works of the artist. This sets the tone of the gallery:
That it is willing to show historical works as well as contemporary expression. So here we can see a modern artist like Aviado giving or providing the public access to his works and the public getting to know this art history through his body of work. And the body of work is not static, it’s continuing as the artist continues to produce. And the production is seen in the light of earlier works, so it is art history, on the one hand, and contemporary art, on the other. It all happens in one gallery.”
It was truly an honor to have Flores make time to view the exhibition in between curating for the Taiwan pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. International contemporary art magazine ArtReview twice named him as part of its Power 100, a list of the most influential personalities in the contemporary art world, describing him as a “curator raising the profile of Southeast Asian Art.”
It was a treat to have National Artist Kidlat Tahimik at the gallery opening.
Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco of Gypsy Baguio prepared a spread specially for the opening. “I’m hoping to do more of this kind of food here in Baguio — more colorful food that just makes you happy,” she said.
“Art of Print and Paper” featuring Pandy Aviado’s prints are available for viewing by appointment at Gallery Ninety in Baguio City until 30 April. Contact the gallery via @GalleryNinety on Instagram.