Art Watch: MindanaoArt 2021 Opens on October 1

Setting up as early as now. Opening on October 1, Poblacion Market Central will be the venue of the month-long exhibit

The 3rd installment of Mindanao Art Fair (MindanaoArt 2021), the biggest gathering of artists in the island, is slated on October 1-31, 2021!

Spearheaded by Lawig Diwa Inc., Mindanao Art Fair 2021 is made possible through a grant of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts National Committee on Art Galleries (NCCA- NCAG).

Since face to face events are not allowed in Davao City due to the pandemic, MindanaoArt 2021 will be a combination of virtual and physical exhibition, with greater bulk of the activity happening online. Artworks will be displayed physically at the Poblacion Market Central (a new commercial complex in Davao), and can be viewed at Mindanao Art’s website( and facebook page (Mindanao Art). There will be a virtual opening ceremony on October 1, 2021 to officially start the exhibit.


This year’s theme is Art in Between: Mindanao Art in Liminal Space—a recognition of where we are all right now—in a space of ambiguity and disorientation. The theme’s narrative can be experienced right from the entrance of the exhibit where a cocoon tunnel (representing the dark situation we are enveloped at present) is installed. Going out of the cocoon, one will be welcomed by glowing butterflies which symbolizes hope for the future and the strength to continue the journey and venture into the unknown. Following the butterflies will then lead you to the vast two-storey exhibit area, or the liminal space as they interpret it, a threshold between the immediate shock that disturbed the world and the new future that is yet to be named. The exhibit will feature artworks which have different interpretations of the theme.

One of the main features of the exhibit however is the 8 ft x 40 ft mural by Davao artist Jeff Bangot. Installed at the entrance of the exhibit venue, the mural is Bangot’s interpretation of this year’s theme.

More than 300 artists from than 30 galleries from various areas in Mindanao such as: Agusan, Bukidnon, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro Davao, Davao de Oro, Digos, Dipolog, General Santos, Iligan, Mati, North Cotabato, Panabo, Socsargen, Samal, Sto. Tomas, Tagum and Zamboanga are expected to participate in this year’s MindanaArt. It will also showcase the artworks of four (4) featured artists: Tanya Gaisano, Elenita Dumlao, Jag Bueno and Lucas Ranola.

Satellite Exhibit and Special Events

Additionally, this year’s Mindanao Art Fair will also feature a fashion show entitled “Art Walk” which will be a collaboration between top fashion designers and selected visual artists in Davao City. This will be aired on October 29, 2021 via Mindanao Art’s virtual/online platforms. Their creations will be displayed at the Poblacion Market Central during the month-long exhibit. This special event is also in partnership with Mr. Alfie Atega of Beta Studios.

Meanwhile, Architect/Artist Ed Viacrusis, will hold a satellite exhibit at his residence which he transformed into a man-made forest. From a single-storey bungalow he acquired over two decades ago, he has built up to the treetops with ramps that go around the property providing a leisurely stroll to canopy walks, treehouses, naturally ventilated rooms, and webs of nylon ropes. Entitled “Floating Ground,” the satellite exhibit will showcase his artistry and imagination, nurtured and made to literally soar above ground in ways unimagined.

The Yellow Drum Project, which ensures that biodegradable wastes are diverted from landfills, also partners with Mindanao Art this year. Headed by Dr. Bo Puentespina, the collaboration hopes to reach even more people through art. Dubbed as the “Happy Drum Project,” colorfully-painted garbage drums will be displayed at the exhibit area, as a way to raise awareness and to get the public to think more deeply about what happens to the waste that they produce after it leaves their homes.

Another highlight would be the output of the students under the Lunang Art Residency Program in Tagum City which is mentored by Victor Dumaguing. Entitled “In Memory of Trees,” the paintings of the student-artists will be installed in Kublai Millan’s chainsaw wood sculpture.

Tagum City, which is dubbed as the Mural Capital of the Philippines, is also participating by creating a huge mural onsite through the artists of Tagum City Historical and Cultural Center. The onsite mural is an illustration of the murals that can be seen around the City’s streets.

Now on its 3rd year, Mindanao Art has certainly come a long way from the very first Mindanao Art Fair, Exhibit and Conference in 2019. The 1st Mindanao Art started with ten galleries and spaces to jumpstart an attempt to organize an annual gathering of art galleries and spaces and be able to stir up an industry that is sustainable and profitable.

Following the success of Mindanao Art 2019, Lawig Diwa once again brought together masterpieces from the best artists in Mindanao in 2020. With the theme ‘Living Art in a New Landscape,’ Mindanao Art 2020 took on the challenges presented by the global COVID-19 Pandemic as opportunities to innovate and take the visual arts onward. Held at a time when almost everything else has been crippled, Mindanao Art 2020 brought together more artists than it did the previous year, with more than 200 artists from 17 galleries from 5 regions in Mindanao participating.

According to Lawig Diwa President, Kublai Millan, “MindanaoArt 2021 seeks to sustain what was started in 2019. The momentum that Mindanao artists have felt over the past 2 years must be continued in order to maintain a vibrant industry which is able to sustain life and livelihood, and consequently create more art.”

Millan continues, “This exhibit highlights how the artists recover and move with our changing times and adapting to this so-called “new normal.” This gives emphasis on their struggles, dreams, ideas, reflections, and hopes as they continue to live their lives as creative individuals in this uncertain moment.”

As of press time, artworks from all over Mindanao are said to be in transit to Davao City as installation will start this week, in preparation for the opening in October 1.