The Drawing Room
Founded by Cesar Villalon Jr. in 1998, the Drawing Room started as a gallery accommodating artworks solely made on paper (hence the name). The original collection included sketches by legendary Filipino artist BenCab and famous expressionist Elmer Borlongan. It has since expanded to other artistic mediums, reflecting the reality and dynamism of life in the Philippines. The gallery’s new home in Karrivin Plaza is bigger than its previous space, allowing each work to bask in natural light. Exhibitions are held monthly, featuring the work of notable local artists such as Diokno and Neil Pasilan. The Drawing Room is a regular participant in art fairs held in the Philippines and abroad, notably in Hong Kong, Singapore and Paris.
Finale Art File
A pioneer in contemporary art since the 1980s, Finale Art File’s massive 450 square-meter home in the La Fuerza Compound is divided into three main galleries. The Tall Gallery is for murals, sculptures and art installations, while the second-floor gallery is for other works. The adjacent video room (and third gallery) is for multimedia exhibitions. Finale’s decorated past has left it with an impressive portfolio of exhibitions by revered masters like conceptualist Roberto Chabet and terracotta sculptress Julie Lluch. It also represents younger practicing artists, holding regular auctions and art discussions.
Established in 2004 in a local home in Greenhills, Manila, Artinformal was founded by a group of contemporary Filipino artists headed by creative director Tina Fernandez. The gallery’s aim was to bring art closer to the community through curated exhibitions, workshops and art education. It recently opened a second gallery situated next to the Drawing Room. The galleries promote a wide range of art forms, including sculpture, painting, pottery and multi-media performances. The two spaces offer viewers totally different experiences. The house-based gallery promotes curator-led exhibitions, while the newer space in Makati explores solo exhibitions of artists’ current works. Their art and design concept store, Aphro, features unique furniture, accessories, and pottery only a stone’s throw away from Artinformal Makati, along the alley at Karrivin.
Silverlens was founded by Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo in 2004, as a small-scale studio that showcased photography. In 2006, it converted an old piano factory in Makati into a gallery. Silverlens is a pioneer in using warehouses as art galleries in Manila. They provide not only exhibitions but also artist representation, collaborations and scheduling for gallery partnerships and art fairs. In 2017 it moved to a massive 1,200-square-meter, two-level building, complete with custom-made lighting, large exhibition spaces, a pantry and offices. The new gallery’s exterior uses distinct, 20-meter translucent window panels that provide insulation and UV protection but also outline silhouettes of visitors inside the gallery. Don’t be surprised if you spend an entire day here – the mezzanine feels like a lush flat furnished with sofas and art books to browse through.
A stone’s throw away from Avellana Art Gallery, Galeria Duemila was established in 1975 by Italian-born Silvana Ancellotti-Diaz, who converted half of her house into a gallery. It is noted as the oldest running commercial gallery in the Philippines. Duemila is known for representing a large group of contemporary painters, sculptors and artists who deal with conceptual installations. Duemila has also published art books on popular artists that it represents. Its monthly exhibitions share interesting live music jams, readings and performances. It has a reputable international presence and due to the gallery’s longevity in the industry, it holds prized collections from Philippine Masters like Amorsolo, Joya and Manansala.