By Mary Angela Barlongay
A new art gallery is making waves promoting a new breed of artists while also acknowledging veterans in the art scene. Galerie Roberto recently opened its door to the public with an exhibit entitled “Quadro,” derived from the Spanish word cuadrar, which means “to square or to fit.” The exhibit featured 23 artists, namely Ricky Ambagan, Aldron Anchinges, Malyn Bonayog, Glenn Cagandahan, Herwin Buccat, Ferdie Cacnio, Edmar Colmo, Fil Dela Cruz, Janos Dela Cruz, Gerry Joquico, Jr., Josue Mangrobang, Jr., Mark Nativo, Othoniel Neri, Demi Padua, Sam Penaso, Edu Perrera, Eric Perreras, Eduard Perreras, Eliseo Parreras, Erick Sausa, Dexter Simsim, and Valen Valero. It showcased 48 paintings including six sculptures. The artworks were a mix of portraits, mixed media, contemporary art, and abstract paintings.
Its founder and owner, Atty. Leonides David, has been collecting art for years and has been promoting local artists. “My brother and I used to collect paintings so we started as collectors. We have been collecting some old paintings and heritage paintings,” said David. His first art gallery, Gallery Anna, located at SM Megamall, houses contemporary art culled from fresh unique ideas. While his brother, who is also an art lover, owns Altro Mondo art gallery in Makati. Apart from presenting artworks of foreign and veteran artists, the gallery also promotes up-and-coming Filipino artists.
When asked how he spots great artists, he said “you have to have an eye” for art. “The Philippines is a cross between oriental and the western sensibilities. So our artists are in prime position. All our neighbors, they really don’t have history that deep and that rich history unlike the Filipinos,” said David.
David is also a curator. Since numerous art galleries have flocked Manila and Makati, David wanted to bring art closer to the public and art lovers like him who are living in the south. “The place is away from the center so there is not much art scene. The art scene is not that vibrant than Manila or in Makati. That’s why we went here, not because it’s comfortable for me to wake up and come here but because there is already a population where people can be art collectors. This is the territory of the rich and they are growing so you see the business potential. It’s a good place to grow. You invest for the future.”
With the growing number of artists in the country, Galerie Roberto plans to become a venue for art exchange showcasing artworks from artists all over the world. David continues to foster contemporary art in the country. He will soon open his third gallery at Conrad Manila—Art Antonio, which would be a big help for local artist to share their work.