Many local and international artists gathered to celebrate the inauguration of Cebu City’s Arts Month last August. As a result, Cebu art galleries served as venues for several events and activities.
As you may already know, some of the country’s most prominent artists are from Cebu, with their artworks being highlighted in different festivals and art fairs held all around the island.
However, these social events aren’t the only place to witness the talents of Cebuano artists. Many Cebu art galleries are open to the public, featuring various artists and exhibits depending on the theme of a particular day, week, or month.
Some galleries have been around for years, while others recently opened and joined the local art scene.
That being said, here are some of the must-visit art galleries in Cebu City.
Qube Gallery has been a popular site for contemporary Cebuano art. Many well known artists have had exhibits at this gallery, thanks to the team of art enthusiasts and collaborators who organize the events with them.
The gallery has two branches in Cebu, one at Crossroads in Banilad, and another along A.S. Fortuna Street in Mandaue. The gallery features an artist’s exhibit every month, each with their own art style and medium.
Some paintings remain inside the gallery even without an exhibit or event in place. If you’re interested in any of the pieces, you can purchase one and display it at home.
In January this year, Cebuano artist Andre Chan had his third solo exhibit, Avalanche. The open space allows artists like Andre to add art installations in line with the theme of their exhibit.
The gallery was also featured at Cebu Art Book Fair as part of the “Estoryang Binotbot” art exhibit. The theme roughly translates to “unbelievable stories,” which the artists used to create art pieces ranging from out-of-this-world to the incredibly witty.
JUMALON BUTTERFLY SANCTUARY
From one of the most popular art galleries in the city to one of the lesser known, the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary in Basak is an exhibit you don’t want to miss.
The sanctuary is home to dozens of butterfly species and used to be the residence of one of the most notable Cebuano artists of all time.
The Butterfly Sanctuary was created by Julian Jumalon, a painter turned butterfly enthusiast, also known for creating a unique art form – lepido mosaics.
As you can see in the photos, the impressive images were intricately made using small pieces of a butterfly’s wings.
Aside from touring the sanctuary, you can also visit the in-house gallery featuring some of Julian’s most prestigious works. One of his most famous is the lepido mosaic he made for Pope John Paul II during his Papal visit to the city in 1981.
Other lepido mosaics at the gallery include one of Colon Street and another of former American President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Aside from this, you will also see paintings, posters, and sashes Julian made throughout his life.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES
Now let’s proceed to an art gallery that recently opened.
The National Museum of the Philippines has finally established a component museum in Cebu City, located at the Aduana Building near South Road Properties.
The museum has tons of galleries filled with paintings and sculptures to feast your eyes on.
At the museum are several loaned art pieces from the Philippine Center New York Core Collection of 1974.
Here you will find paintings made by Filipinos that were previously kept in the United States, which were then returned to the Philippines a few years ago.
The colorful aisles are fashioned with paintings portraying Filipino life and culture, including abstract sculptures that will leave visitors thinking about the art form and ideas behind it.
Some of these sculptures also highlight Filipino craftsmanship.
Other interesting artworks to see are depictions of the Spanish invasion, paintings of old churches in the province, and wood carvings of prominent figures in Philippine history.
SHELL MOBILITY CENTER
You probably wouldn’t expect a gas station to be the home of remarkable art pieces. Shell Mobility Center will show you otherwise.
At the convenience store, where you can purchase food and other essentials, you will find the walls covered in paintings made by some of the most prominent artists in Cebu.
Several art pieces are framed and displayed all around the store, from the dining area to the walls along the stairs, and even along the aisle going to the restrooms.
The restrooms are also adorned with beautiful artwork and paintings, giving a whole new definition of how comfort rooms should be.
In fact, Shell Select stores are known for their new and improved look in terms of the structure of their building, the kiosks and restaurants inside, and generally converting their convenience stores into comfortable hangout spots.
We can all agree that art is a subjective medium that comes in many different forms. Thanks to the aforementioned Cebu art galleries, you can explore and learn more about these art forms and mediums, all while getting to know the local art scene.