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Text by Terence Repelente

Images by Noel Pabalate

There’s a new kind of artistic fair that serves vetted selection of art, antiques, furniture, jewelry, books, maps, and prints in a glass case. After the big success of “Art Fair Philippines” and “Art in the Park,” organizers Dindin Araneta, Lisa Periquet, and Trickie Lopa, present “The Nonesuch Fine Collectibles and Rarities,” which gathers some of the top antiques and art sellers and collectors in one neutral space at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City.

“Those interested in art likely gravitate to singular, finely wrought pieces that speak of heritage, carry interesting stories, and tell of the memories embedded in them,” said Trickie. “We feel that after putting together events that focus on contemporary art, local enthusiasts will welcome a fair where they can revisit decorative art traditions. Launching ‘The Nonesuch’ is a natural extension of what we do in terms of widening the exposure of Manila’s audience to craftsmanship,” she added.

  • THE PURVEYORS OF OBJETS D’ART From Left: Kelly Belbin of Gallery of Prints, Liza Esposo and Leo Esposo of Unang Panahon, Floy Quintos of Gallery Deus, Kit Roxas of Tawalisi Antiques, Nicole Whisenhunt of Whisenhunt Fine Jewellery, Maria Closa of Maria Closa Tribal Arts, designer Mark Wilson, Gigi Bermejo of Maria Angelica Ra Finds, and Buddy Lagdameo and Natalya Lagdameo.

  • LOCAL TREASURE Kalinga pilakid and the Ilocos inabel are among the items on sale at The Nonesuch

  • 10k tambourine necklace set in gold with Ilocos pearls and a 12l tambourine necklace from Unang Panahon

  • Carved narra wood bulols from Maria Closa

  • FROM THE VAULT 18th Centure silver box from Tawalisi Antiques

  • ELEGANCE Gold necklaces and pendants from Natalya Lagdameo

    According to Lisa, “The Nonesuch” is patterned and inspired after well-known fine arts and antiques fairs such as Masterpiece London and The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht. “A wide range of top-quality objects is displayed and offered for sale in a special setting that is designed to highlight their aesthetic, historical, and collectible aspects,” she said.

    Unlike any other art exhibitions or antique-selling affairs, “The Nonesuch” includes talks and discussions by experts in the field of culture, history, and anthropology like Floy Quintos, a specialist on traditional art and culture of the indigenous people of the Philippines; Ino Manalo, culture and heritage advocate and administrator, executive director of the National Archives; and Prof. Ambeth F. Ocampo, Filipino historian, academic, and journalist. Side by side with the exhibit, a series of talks that enhances visitor experience of the fair is held at the Nonesuch Salon at the Nolledo/Hernandez and Garcia Villa function rooms of The Peninsula Manila.

    According to Dindin, aside from providing an opportunity to acquire choice pieces, “The Nonesuch” is also a learning experience widened by a lecture series. “It is our way of promoting connoisseurship, and art and design appreciation,” she explained.

    Exhibitors of “The Nonesuch Fine Collectibles and Rarities” are no less than some of the leading purveyors of objets d’art in the Philippines, which include Gallery Deus, Gallery Joshua, Gallery of Prints, Leon Gallery, Maria Angelica Rare Finds, Maria Closa, Natalya Lagdameo, Nicole Whisenhunt, Osmundo, Tawalisi Adventures, and Unang Panahon.

    The exhibit is staged by Gino Gonzales, one of country’s most creative set designers and scenographers, who recently bagged the silver prize at the 2017 World Stage Design by the International Organization of Scenographers, Theater Architects, and Technicians (OISTAT) held in Taipei, Taiwan.

    Gino admitted that curating “The Nonesuch” was a bit difficult for him. “The challenge kasi with presenting antiques is that you don’t want everything to look old. Kasi when we say antiques we always think of them in the context of an old house, or a flea market, where everything is dusty and piled up,” he said. “So, I thought it [‘The Nonesuch’] should be presented with the spirit of lifestyle, like a curated gathering. They should be viewed as very important art objects, which have a historical value and, at the same time, with a modern look.”

    Gino said he struggled with two things: first, the exhibit must be grounded in the past. Second, it must have freshness and neatness to make it attractive to contemporary buyers.

    “Ang hirap!” Gino said, when asked what it was like putting all of those objects under those big names together. “By nature, lot of them function individually as independent sellers. Convincing them to come together is really hard because, in a way, they are competitors. It took a bit of reasoning and charm to make it all work out.”

    But because of this, Gino considers “The Nonesuch” a feat not only for his designing career but also for the arts and culture industry of the Philippines.

    “Unlike an ordinary art fair that showcases contemporary art, which has a more universal appeal, Nonesuch needed a little bit of effort to make the people, especially the Millennial group, attracted to it,” he said. “That was my task. I needed to give the entire exhibit some freshness and finesse but not too much that it would steal the thunder from the objects.”

    ‘The Nonesuch Fine Collectibles and Rarities’ runs until today at The Peninsula Mnila; www.nonesuchfair.com; Instagram/@nonesuchfair; Facebook/thenonesuchfair

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