Pasong Tamo, an avenue of warehouses and industrial buildings on the fringe of Manila's central business district, is transforming into a destination for contemporary Philippine art. Within less than two years, Silverlens, Finale Art File, Slab, and Valentine Willie's Manila Contemporary, four major players in the scene, have opened shops, refitting old structures into contemporary art spaces that rival those in other art capitals of the region.
For almost 20 years, the mainstream venue for exhibitions in Manila was at The Artwalk, a strip of galleries, antique and frame shops on the 4th floor of SM Megamall, literally bringing art to the public. With rising rental costs and the influx of purely commercial establishments however, most of the pioneering spaces, including Finale, have closed down or moved elsewhere.
The growing interest in and demand for contemporary Philippine art are evidenced by the new, cosmopolitan, polished, and definitely larger spaces on Pasong Tamo. This new location makeover is telling of the changes in the state of contemporary art in the country. Here's hoping that bigger leads to better.
- Thu, 1 Jan 2009