ARTE FINO | New art and crafts fair aims to be a movement

Arte Fino organizers with some of its exhibitors pose for members of media during a recent press conference: From left, Susie Quiros; Len Cabili of Filip + Inna; Mel Francisco; Al Valenciano of Balay ni Atong; Natalya Lagdamaeo; Maritess Pineda; and Cedie Vargas. Photo by Romsanne Ortiguero, InterAksyon.

Discerning shoppers with a taste for well-curated Filipino-made products can look forward to Arte Fino, the newest annual art and crafts fair launching on August 25 to 27 (Friday to Sunday) at the Penthouse of 8 Rockwell.

Maritess Pineda, together with Cedie Vargas, Susie Quiros, Mel Francisco, and Mita Rufino define Arte Fino as a “movement” that “serves as a launch pad and a multiplier for proudly Filipino and world-class products, concepts, and ideas.”

The fair aims to “provide an avenue for people to discover modern applications of Philippine indigenous materials and connect with innovative artisans from different industries.”

The three-day arts and crafts fair will be featuring 70 exhibitors under the brand campaign ” Stilo ArteFino,” which according to the organizers, “embodies” the modern Filipino–open-minded, forward thinking, values-driven, and someone who sees that the future of local is global.

Arte Fino showcases the art works and crafts of select Filipino artisans on August 25 to 27, 2017. From left, stools by Good Luck Humans, top by Filip + Inna, and necklace by Adante Leyesa. Photos courtesy of Arte Fino.

“The market we are developing is one, a market with buyers who are willing to buy even if maybe it’s more expensive; and two, a market with buyers who are willing to use local products in their daily lives,” Pineda told InterAksyon in an interview during the Arte Fino press conference held in Makati City.

Pineda added that the products featured in the fair would make their buyers want to have the items for themselves and not just as gifts or pasalubong (souvenir) for friends and loved ones.

“We have clothes, bags, fashion accessories, fine jewelry, and small furnishings. We have very varied exhibitors. Even if they’re from here (Metro Manila), they are working with different communities like the Bagobos and T’bolis so we can see products from Luzon to Mindanao. We have a lot from Mindanao,” she shared.

Some of the participating brands include Adante Leyesa; Fleur Arts, Abre Linea; Filip + Inna; K & K Bespoke Jewelry; Joey De Castro; Gifts and Graces; Grace Home Manila; a-11; and Gabbie Sarenas.

Dried flower arrangement by Fleur Arts. The sturdy blooms can be hung as wall decor or as table top accent. Image courtesy of Arte Fino.

Products with narratives
The participating brands will be featuring new collections exclusively for the Arte Fino Fair. Apart from shopping, visitors also get the chance to discover the narratives behind the products on offer.

“Participants will acquire a better understanding of the products by learning about their history, materials, and processes. They can also get to know the artisans personally, creating a deeper appreciation for the indigenous craftsmanship of the items. Arte Fino lets participants immerse not only in beautiful everyday objects, but also in living Filipino traditions,” a press release from Arte Fino stated.

Creations of Filip + Inna features Philippine techniques of weaving, embroidery, and beadwork. Image courtesy of Arte Fino.

Al Valenciano of Balay ni Atong, Len Cabili of Filip + Inna, and Natalya Lagdameo, who will be doing a collaborative collection entitled “Tatsulok” for Arte Fino also echoed this message.

“These traditions need to be preserved. This needs to be passed on to generations,” Valenciano shared.

On the other hand, designer Sarenas will be telling the story of pagtanom through her collection of the same title. According to Sarenas, pagtanom is one of the rituals done a month after the act of pagsabod (sowing) by farmers.

A part of her Fall-Winter 2017 collection, Sarenas shared this is her way of paying homage to Filipino farmers and their labor of love.

Gabbie Sarenas’ Fall/Winter 2017 collection features designs telling the story of pagtanom. Image courtesy of Arte Fino.

Promoting local artisans
The organizers of Arte Fino might be well known to some as the same team behind the successful MaArte Fair that supports the projects of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines.

But Pineda also adds that their group has bonded this time for their advocacy on promoting Filipino artisans.

During the event’s media conference, Pineda mentioned in her speech, “We will now focus on the Filipino craftsmen that need our platform and our direct support to become competitive both in the local and foreign market. We have started as a bazaar, evolved to a fair for the local market, and eventually now into a movement that will hopefully level up the very people who have helped raise the funds to support the industry. They are now our partners in the movement. Together we can go full cycle—from the community to the vendors, and then to the buyers.

“With all the support we will definitely succeed in what we want to accomplish—sustainable Filipino communities, exquisite products, and a lot of sales hopefully, that will bring the funds to support the cause of Arte Fino.”

For a start, Pineda said that they will be partnering with Great Women Philippines and designer Zarah Juan, which both work with different communities in the country. Pineda said they are in the process of crafting an agreement with their partners.

• Arte Fino will be held on August 25 to 27, 2017, at the Penthouse of 8 Rockwell. For more information, check and the event’s Facebook or Instagram account at @artefinoph.