Art Watch: The DAFI Davao Art Festival, Art convergence

The Davao Art Festival - one show, 13 local art groups, six days. An event that showcases the artistry of local artists in various art disciplines. It’s a one-stop show that will introduce the strength, style and technique of each painter to a wider audience. From the lot, art lovers’ thirst for a preferred art style from realism to abstraction, from watercolor to oil, paintings to sculptures, can be sated by homegrown artists. 

Collectively known as the Dabawenyo Artists Federation, Inc. (DAFI), the group is comprised of 13 guilds with seasoned, emerging and leisure artists as its members: Floral Artists of Davao; Bai-Hinang, an all-female group; Bintana Gallery; Artists Initiative; Piguras Contemporary, Pintanao; Tabularasa; GAMA; Guhit Pinas; and TM Artists. While many of the artists have found their style and trademark, others are on the path of discovery for one. However, everyone shares the common goal of showing the best. 

Displaying mastery of watercolor in their new works are Lito Pepito, Zaldy Mascardo and Anthony Serafin. On the same medium, Editha Tuason is an artist to watch. In oil, Bea Obcena piece pops out. The 2022 obras of women artists like Josie Tionko, Mary Anne Guinoo, Rita Bustamante and Amanda Echevarria are easily identifiable as their own with the signature style or color palates on display, and Thea Go is another artist who seems to have found her stroke. Mark Tolentino continues to capture Lumad images in oil with his new Bagobo Chief piece. 

Malum Ne Videris (See No Evil) Morality Series 1, Bea Obcena, Oil on Canvas, 24' x 30", 2022

(Left) Sunflowers, Lito Pepito, 21" x 14", Watercolor on Paper, 2022
(Right) Trees in Heaven 1, Amanda Echevarria, Acrylic on Canvas, 18" x 24". 2022

Heliconia Flowers In Flight, Josie Tionko, Oil on Canvas, 24" x 36", 2022

(Left) Rice Farmer, Brando Cedeño, Stonecast Resin on Rock Slate, 35"H x 15"W x 17"D, 2022
(Right) Bagobo Chief, Mark Tolentino, Oil on Canvas, 30" x 16", 2022

They Bloom Before The Leaves Turn Gold, Mary Anne Tan Guinoo, Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 24". 2022 

(left) Times of Refreshing, Thea Go, Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 30" 2022
(Right) Island Chick Pathway to A Secret Paradise, Rita Bustamante, Acrylic, 24" x" 36", 2022

Landscape, Kim Vale, Oil on Canvas, 2022

Bouganvellias, Editha Tuason, Watercolor on Paper, 22" x 30", 2022

Taking part in the show are artists showing their past works. Allan Disierto’s 2020 pen and ink and Bryan Cabrera’s 2015 nude in watercolor are eye-catchers. 

(Left) Allan Disierto's 2020 pen & ink; (right) Bryan Cabrera's 2015 nude in watercolor

It was only recently, in 2020, when the guilds united to form the federation. Challenging it may be, the COVID-19 pandemic did not deter the newly-organized group from mounting art shows. Adapting to the times, three virtual shows were mounted and one on-site exhibition was staged in a mall. 

For 2022, the art festival at La Herencia will be DAFI’s first major undertaking. More than 100 artworks will be exhibited, talks with and by artists will be conducted, an art demonstration, performance art and film showing will be part of the six-day event running from April 21 to 26. 

“The Davao Art Festival does not only provide opportunities for artists, but also provides the general public of Davao and nearby provinces an art experience where they can see a broader range of artworks. This is an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Davao art scene,” shared DAFI. 

If you’re on the hunt for art to start a collection or add to a growing one, visit the DAFI art festival. Your eyes may spot one or two works, and meet the artists behind it. 

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Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.