PHL Concludes Exhibition in Venice Art Biennale, Set to Participate Again in 2018

January 1 1970 |

The Philippine Pavilion held its finissage last November 26, 2017 at the Fava church, Campo della Fava, Castello in Venice, Italy. Among the guests are members of the Filipino community who celebrated another successful participation at the world’s oldest art biennale.

The closing ceremony concluded the exhibition run of the 2017 Philippine Pavilion featuring The Spectre of Comparison curated by Joselina Cruz with the works of Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo.

The Philippine participation in the Venice Art Biennale was made possible by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, with the support of the Department of Tourism. This is the third consecutive year that the country has been part of the global conversation in Venice after being absent for 51 years until the country’s comeback in 2015.

As much as 7,000 visitors per day have seen the country’s official exhibit that opened last May 13, 2017. Thousands of people are welcomed to the Philippine Pavilion daily with its prime location at the Artiglierie of the Arsenale—one of the main exhibition spaces of the Venice Biennale.


Virgilio Almario, National Artist for Literature, NCCA Chairman and Philippine Pavilion Commissioner, shared that in 1964, when the country first participated at the Venice Biennale, the Philippines had the second-to- the smallest room (the smallest was Syria’s) and had difficulties securing funding. He said, “From a small space in 1964 and a half-century of absence, the Philippines comes back to Venice not only yearly through our art and architecture pavilions but also with space that is as big as our aspirations as a nation.”

Almario added, “The Philippine Pavilion stands here today in the Arsenale. Through the leadership and direction of Senator Loren Legarda, we pushed for this location so that we become closer to other national pavilions. This way, our conversations with other nations are amplified.”


For her part, Legarda, the visionary and driving force behind the Philippines’ successful return to the Venice Biennale after 51 years of absence, congratulated the curator and artists of the 2017 Philippine Pavilion and ensured that the country will continue to participate in the next exhibitions of the Venice Biennale.


“As we close another milestone in our country’s history of contemporary art, I wish to express my gratitude to everyone who has made this possible, especially to our curator, Joselina Cruz, and our artists, Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo,” Legarda said.


“We hope to be in the Venice Biennale for as long as it is here. Next year, we will participate in the Architecture Biennale and while we are preparing for that, we will also launch the open call for curatorial proposals for the 2019 Art Biennale. And to ensure continuity, we hope to enact a law institutionalizing the Philippine participation in the international exhibitions of the Venice Biennale,” she added.


The Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale (PAVB) Coordinating Committee is set to announce the open call for curatorial proposals for the 2019 Venice Art Biennale while preparing for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

In September, it was announced that curator Edson Cabalfin’s The City Who Had Two Navels will be the country’s representative to the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

Cabalfin’s curatorial concept was selected among 12 proposals that were submitted to the Coordinating Committee in response to the open call for curatorial proposals for the Philippine participation. -30-