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Visual artist, Geraldine Javier, sees the pandemic as an opportunity for Filipinos to pivot even further into loving local.

There's no doubt that the art scene is difficult to break into. For an industry that's known to bank on big international names, the art scene can prove intimidating, especially to local yet talented geniuses. Geraldine Javier, who's had decades of industry experience, gives a frank overview of biennales and art fairs, saying: "Even before COVID-19, alas, [Filipino artists] get very limited exposure abroad; and the few opportunities out there are seemingly presented only to artists who have connections with ‘important’ curators, or to artists represented by galleries who have the ambition and the resources to take on international projects." 

"Most biennales have limited funds so it’s understandable why they’d rather work with artists that can be supported by their galleries and local institutions," she explains. "[But] what happens to the aspirations of other artists who have support from neither?" 

It's a question that many artists have no doubt pondered upon. Javier's own solution to this comes at a strangely opportune time. "I believe this calamity [COVID-19] is presenting us a different path: Go Local!"

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"I think the situation now is pointing us to creating our own scene run by artists: inclusive, apolitical, open to different ways of making art," Javier says.

Of course, that means being consistent in foundation building. The local art scene, though oftentimes overlooked, has great potential. There just needs to be a good foundation upon which it can be built. "We now have our own art fairs but they are hardly the proper venue to show what Filipino artists are really capable of," Javier asserts. "We had a Manila Biennale but it was under-funded and perhaps as a result came out under-cooked."

Without a doubt, it's never too late to improve the situation, especially for something like culture, which is passed down through generations. Openness to new ideas and  proper consistency in delivering the best platform for artists are among the top inclusions Javier says is needed to see our own culture blossom. "Dig deep especially now and don’t be too self-conscious about what you’re making," she tells young talents. "And go to the studio everyday! If you build, they will come." 

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