Cebu City has a vibrant art industry. Cebuanos are so well-versed in various art forms like architecture and fashion that the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hailed the city as a Creative City in 2019.
Not only do they have the skills to create mesmerizing work, but also the imagination and knowledge to make these works compelling.
There are already a few places and events to indulge yourself in Cebuano artistry. The newest art event to come to the city is the Cebu Art Book Fair, a celebration of printed arts.
Artist Marc Abuan and design group Happy Garaje organized the event and held it at the Crossroads in Barangay Banilad from July 2 to 3, 2022.
Abuan describes the event as a celebration of printed art, featuring posters, paintings, postcards, and stickers, giving attendees a fascinating overview of Cebu’s contemporary arts.
He also mentioned that this platform aims to give lesser-known artists an opportunity to share their artwork with a bigger audience. The organizers took their list of exhibitors from a shortlist of artists and graphic designers wanting to expand their reach.
The main exhibit featured stalls from artists selling various products, like posters, zines, stickers, shirts, and so on.
Each exhibitor offered something different, from original creations to alternate renditions of characters and archetypes we all know and love. There was also artwork inspired by Filipino culture and trends that Cebuanos may be experiencing today.
Abuan had a personal exhibit showcasing his new project, Baktas. He described it as a “downtown walking tour,” featuring nine interconnecting stories with images depicting the scenes of downtown Cebu.
The title translates to walk in Bisaya, which complements the narrative style of his project.
His exhibit also included a few posters, postcards, and zines empowering the Cebuano language.
One of the exhibitors and a speaker for the event, Clara Cayosa, featured various kinds of decals, which are stickers made from layers of vinyl. They are commonly placed on vehicles to give them an expressive design.
Cayosa wanted to feature this overlooked art to explore modes of production that would make it more Filipino. She mentioned that making decals takes a lot of determination because of the detail-oriented designs.
She took inspiration from the poster-making contests she joined when she was younger. The symbols she used included people holding hands and birds, which she said were common motifs in those contests.
She also sold text decals with the words “Para sa Tao,” which means “For the People” in English.
Another exhibitor, a graphic design company called Uncurated Studio, sold bike-themed stickers and zines. Their zines – which are mini-magazines – have several artworks inspired by riding bicycles around town.
Their stickers are perfect for putting on your laptop or water bottle to show off your love for cycling.
Art by Bred had a table full of artwork inspired by movies and comic books. The stall sold one-of-a-kind action figures inspired by horror movie monsters and t-shirts inspired by shows and films like Star Wars.
Stickers were also a popular product sold in multiple stalls. Dreamyria’s stickers depicted food items like fried rice and chicken nuggets, while the Con Artists sold stickers of famous characters from movies, TV, anime, and video games.
Inspiring print artists may come up with all kinds of ideas for their next artwork, but photographers can also get inspired by the work of Zach Aldave. His exhibit consisted of various street and surrealist photos. He curated his best works in a zine for attendees to take a look at.
Aside from printed art, Alexa Jade’s exhibit had rose-inspired artworks painted onto different objects like glasses and postcards. She also paints on insulated water bottles, giving them a unique design.
There was also a stall inspired by Japanese animation and mangas. These included posters, stickers, and even keychains of famous characters from Spy x Family, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Genshin Impact.
“Discarded” was an exhibit featuring trading cards designed and curated by a local toy designer, Siamese Rat.
Finally, the event featured a poster-making contest at the Qube Gallery, themed “Estoryang Binotbot.”
The theme roughly means “unbelievable stories,” with “Binotbot” coming from the famous Bisaya phrase “botbot nimo.” Cebuanos use this term to thumb down another person’s unbelievable or untrustworthy statement.
This fascinating theme gave artists the freedom to make their own interpretations. Some took inspiration from everyday pet peeves, while others referred to broken promises made by several people in their lives.
MORE TO COME FOR THE CEBU ART INDUSTRY
There are many famous artists in Cebu, but the Cebu Art Book Fair brought in lesser-known artists to show off their work. This event was an essential pedestal to get recognition for the younger generation of artists in the city.
More events in Cebu aim to showcase the creative artistry associated with the Cebuanos. Aside from showing off their talents, they can also gather some of the brightest minds in the art industry.
The city continues to thrive and show its artistic side. This art book fair was a worthwhile opportunity for creative individuals to display their artwork to massive audiences.