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Curated by Federico de Vera

For the first time ever in the Philippines, the Ayala Museum will host an exhibition of over 300 of Manila’s finest art objects selected from both public and private collections and curated by renowned New York based jeweler, exhibition designer, merchant, collector, and publisher Federico de Vera.

Gregory Halili, Vestige VIII, 2016, oil on moterof pearl wood base, Gladys Chung collection
Paño (lady’s handkerchief), 19th century piña, Rina Ortiz Collection

The exhibition Curated by Federico de Vera is a rare gathering of some of the most superlative examples of Philippine fine art, artifacts, religious figures, and miscellaneous objets d’art. Its curation involves the deliberate effort to mingle objects of different periods, styles, forms, and function to present the beauty and complexity of Philippine history and culture. Each object, selected after sifting through the Philippine’s leading museums and prestigious private collections, and their meticulous juxtapositions are exhibited to prompt awe, curiosity, and reflection.

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A show of this breadth and value is an opportunity for viewers to rediscover and re-examine the rich material and cultural heritage of the Philippines. “Our culture is the product of diversity and tenacity,” says Federico de Vera. “Indigenous peoples, a long succession of colonizers, devotion to Christian symbolism, contrasting wealth and poverty, endless migration, paradisiacal but calamitous geography, and the acceptance of Western culture are only some of the factors that influence our attitudes… Our culture is dense yet spontaneous. This somehow explains why Philippine contemporary art is liberal, intimate and compelling all at once.”

Described by the New York Times as an “aesthetic savant” and “design alchemist,” Federico de Vera is a purveyor of fine things, with a shop on Crosby Street in Manhattan, a jewel designer, a collector, and publisher two books, De Vera Objects and De Vera Jewelry. He scours the world for exquisite and rare finds, guided by one crucial, deceptively simple criterion, being that the objects must “have absolutely nothing wrong with them.” He displays these objects in arresting, unexpected, and even surreal fashion in his gallery, attracting an international client base of designers and art connoisseurs. De Vera is regarded for his unerring eye for assemblage, and is known to make deliberate and meticulous decisions on an object’s placement and relationship to surrounding pieces. In these eclectic environments, objects, which once served a specific purpose but have since been discarded, now resonate with new meaning under Federico de Vera’s creative direction.

Together with the exhibition is the exceptional catalogue publication whose design was overseen by De Vera himself. The exhibition catalogue will feature essays written by noted art and culture luminaries including Felice Sta. Maria, Lisa Periquet, and Dr. Joven Cuanang, discussing matters of collecting, connoisseurship, and scholarship together with full color photographs of the objects on display.

Curated by Federico de Vera is supported by BPI Foundation and will be on show at the Ayala Museum from 7 November 2017 to 28 January 2018.

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