Weaving a Legacy: Of Art, Growth, and Community

It began with a spark, grew into a blaze, and eventually escalated to engulf every soul that lives for the same passion. It was only to aid the declining interest and support in the visual arts of Cebu that the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation, Inc. decided to start an art fair in 2018. However, it has now evolved into a widely-recognized fair that not only brings artists together and serves as a platform to display a diverse range of artworks but also leaves a legacy that transcends regional boundaries. 

Now in its fourth year, Tubô Cebu Art Fair continuously echoes and demonstrates Visayas-Mindanao's growing and never-ending hunger for art, devoted art movers and volunteers, and genuine love of individuals willing to serve and help the art community make a significant difference and break through the greater Philippine arts landscape. Tubô gives back to the community by launching a platform devoted to the local art market and community. The fair also features curated art projects and exhibitions at a variety of price points for both novice and experienced collectors. Since its launch in 2018, it has grown, fuelled by the passion and dedication of its patrons and volunteers, whose programs aim to instill learning, values, and skills in a larger, more art-conscious society.

Since its humble beginnings, the Tubô Cebu Art Fair has steadily grown. Initially occupying only the activity center of Ayala Center Cebu, the venue has now expanded to the entire city of Cebu, mapping a city-wide art event featuring activities and presentations such as art projections by Beta Operations, performances by local bands and performers, and other events that are activating various art spaces. The Tubô Art City Trail accommodates not only the growing number of participants but also the growing number of artists coming out from their shells and visitors who flock each year for this much-anticipated event. This brings inclusive engagement to the public and the city. It also includes the Merch Market by Cebu Art Book Fair.

Tubô Cebu Art Fair 2019. Images courtesy of Tubô Cebu Art Fair.

Tubô expands its channels to bring unique regional art experiences to more people, owing to the support of the local art community and neighboring islands. Combining virtual and physical formats to meet the needs of every art lover, it provides an accessible platform for visual artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts in the Southern Philippines to interact, educate, and grow. 

This year's "Let's Play" theme encourages creatives to challenge the status quo and express their playful side, imagining the fair as their playing field where they can showcase their works of experimentation or masterpieces. Tubo will have a premier signature collection, which reads like a veritable collection of some of the Visayas-Mindanao region's most prominent artists. The list includes Darby Alcoseba, Gigi Ocampo, Jose "Kimsoy" Yap Jr., Sam Penaso, Geovanni Abing, Adeste Deguilmo, and Melvin.

Tubô's physical exhibition will take place from September 16 to 18, 2022, on the grounds of Ayala Center Cebu, and will feature works by several of the best art collectives and collaborations in the Southern Philippines, such as Puluy-an Artists Space, Kolor Banwa, Dumaguete Visual Artists, Bohol Pop, Solitaryo Cinco, Gravado Sugbo, Regional Art Forum, Luyo Space, and Art Portal Cebu. Koliktib-Koliktib and Joya Gallery, both affiliated with the University of the Philippines Cebu, also have works on display.

Tubô Cebu Art Fair 2022: Let’s Play Press Conference held on August 30, with panelists Jay Nathan Jore, the Fair Curator; Allen Tan, the Fair director and Arts Council trustee; and Jia Sadol, General Manager of Ayala Center Cebu. Image courtesy of Tubô Cebu Art Fair.

Visitors can also expect to see work by internationally-renowned and emerging artists such as Happy Garaje, Golda King, Jose Mari Picornell, Keanne Larrazabal, Dani Yu, Clyde Baricuatro, and Marianne Guinto. Finally, Tubô's signature collection, their showpiece, features some of the country's most well-known artists, including Melvin Gurheim, Kimsoy Yap, Adeste Deguilmo, Sam Penaso, and Sio Monterra.

On September 11, 2022, the Tubô Cebu Art Fair launched its Online Art Sale. During the week-long online art sale (ongoing until September 18), the public can participate in the auctioning process— an experience usually reserved for a select group of people. The prices of the artworks are reasonable for everyone involved, with a price cap of PHP 50,000 to make it accessible for just about anyone who appreciates art. 

Scenes from the online art sale launch on September 11, featuring ethno-tribal rock fusion band Kandangyan, with art projections by Beta_Operations, at Crossroads Mall, Banilag. Images courtesy of Tubô Cebu Art Fair.

The fair also invites young art enthusiasts to take part in other activities such as guided tours, panel discussions, and art talks. Young At Art is a discussion about what it means to collect, curate, and create as a millennial and what the next generation can do now as future art patrons. Public Art Playgrounds, on the other hand, discusses what it takes to open and sustain public venues for Filipino art and creativity. Whereas On Playful Practice explains how artists push the boundaries of their medium, processes, and content.

The Arts Council of Cebu Foundation, Inc. is firm about its philanthropic support for the arts and culture. The essence of the Tubô Cebu Art Fair, whose mission is to incorporate Visayas-Mindanao art into the national culture. Tubo Cebu Art Fair began four years ago, intending to present art, help artists, provide a platform, and create bridges. Four years on, they continue to grow, expand networks, and keep learning –championing and weaving a legacy for art and community.

Tubô Cebu Art Fair is organized by the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation, Inc and is co-presented by Ayala Center Cebu, PRWorks, Inc, and the University of the Philippines Cebu. Adobo Magazine, Cartellino, Cebu Daily News, MyTV, Sunstar, Cinemata, and Agimat are the official media partners. Sponsors include Shakey’s, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Pepper Lunch, DB Wines and Spirits, Fablab - UP Cebu, Jose T. Joya Gallery, Qube Gallery, From Here, Draft Punk, Ayala Central Bloc, Southwestern University, Cebu Institute of Technology University, Melt Records and Beta Operations.

The Tubô Cebu Art Fair  launched its week-long online event on September 11. The physical fair opens today at 10AM at the Ayala Center Cebu and across the city, and will run through September 18. Visit the online art fair here, and follow the fair's various activities and events through their official Instagram and Facebook.

Alyssa Selanova (b. 1998) is an artist, independent curator, writer, and events coordinator. She currently holds the position of Galleries and Exhibtions Operations Head of the Visayas Art Fair, and co-founded the online gallery South by South in 2021.