From August 16 to 18, the MaArte Fair will grace two floors of The Peninsula Manila. This time it has a different twist: Inspired by the gatherings of the famous Syquia Apartments in Malate, the new format of the trade fair will show how residents of the apartments showed Filipino hospitality to friends and strangers alike. In the early 2000s, residents of the Syquia, home to some of the biggest names in the Philippine art scene since the 1930s, hosted open-door parties every year.
“We were very, very close and a family-like group of tenants,” says visual artist and Vice President of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines Inc. (MFPI) Phyllis Zaballero. She lived on the fifth floor of the famous Art deco apartments. The tenants, which included photographer Neal Oshima, director Butch Perez, journalist Apa Ongpin, and other individuals making their name known in the Manila art scene, would host a unique party every year—and they would leave their apartment doors open for friends, playing hosts for a night of food, drinks, and live music. For years, invitation to this party, known as “open house,” became the most coveted.
Today, the MFPI seeks to recreate and redefine not just the art scene in the city but the value of hospitality that the Filipinos are known for. Dubbed as the MaArte oPEN House, it will take place on the fifth and sixth floors of the The Peninsula Manila, taking over 29 guest rooms where exhibitors can showcase their pieces and art buyers can interact with the designer themselves as if they are visiting the exhibitors’ homes—much like how it was years ago in the Syquia Apartments.
More rooms are designated for the MaArte Talks, a series of lecture-conversations with entrepreneurs as they share their tips on business. For more than 10 years, the MaArte Fair has been a venue for local craftsmen and artisans to showcase their wares: usually limited-edition items from food to fashion and home furniture and décor.
Around 60 exhibitors from well-known artists and designers will grace the annual fundraiser for the benefit of the National Museum. Entrance to the MaArte Fair is free and open to the public. For more details, visit the the museumfoundationph.org or the MaArte Fair on Facebook and Instagram.