Shipping & Receiving

Galleon Trade in the SF Chronicle

September 19th, 2008

Galleon Trade: Bay Area Now Five Edition
Mary Eisenhart
San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bay Area Filipina American artist Jenifer Wofford got the idea for the Galleon Trade series of exhibitions two years ago when, as a graduate student at UC Berkeley, she received a grant to go to the Philippines and study Manila’s burgeoning art scene.

The city may not be a hot spot in the international art world, but it’s not for lack of local creativity. “This whole exciting thing is happening there, and not enough people know about it outside of Manila and the Philippines,” she says.

Moreover, she realized, the U.S. government doesn’t put significant resources into sending artists abroad for cultural exchange, and the Philippines lacks the funds to promote its local artists.

So Wofford launched (from the Acapulco-Manila Spanish trade routes of colonial times) as a grassroots effort to build the connections. Last year’s “Galleon Trade I” sent California artists to Manila to show their work and make contact with their Filipino counterparts.

This year’s “Galleon Trade: Bay Area Now 5 Edition,” part of the “Bay Area Now 5″ exhibition running at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, pairs five of last year’s local participants with Manila artists.

“I paired them up thinking there was commonality between their works, and let them figure it out from there,” Wofford says.

The exhibition focuses on themes tied to galleon trade today: colonial history, globalization and commerce. Wofford says she paired Bay Area artist Johanna Poethig with Manila artist Norberto Roldan because “they’re both artists who married elements of history and politics with a very accessible aesthetic. They both deal with recognizable images – they don’t work abstractly or overtly conceptually.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Yason Banal (Manila) and Christine Wong Yap (Oakland) deal with the issues a good deal more obliquely: she crafting light-based sculptures based on the nature of optimism and pessimism, he presenting a shelf covered with black furry wigs and a large black capiz-shell chandelier illuminated with a strobe light.

Filipina American photographer Gina Osterloh’s “Rapture,” the show’s keynote image, finds a woman in Western business dress kneeling in the attitude of one receiving a spiritual revelation, facing a poster mural of a gorgeous tropical sunset.

“A lot of us Filipino Americans have longing and nostalgia for that tropic environment, even though it’s something of a constructed fiction in our lives now,” Wofford says. “We grew up in the U.S., and it’s not necessarily ours.”

Wofford launched Galleon Trade to create a template for exchanges. “I may not be doing it right, but at least I’m doing something that somebody else can do right once there’s a foundation in place.”

Through Oct. 19. YBCA Terrace Galleries, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco. (415) 978-2700,

Mary Eisenhart,

opening this thursday!

September 2nd, 2008


September 5-October 19, 2008
opening reception Thursday, September 4, 5-8 pm

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission St @ 3rd, San Francisco, CA

Galleon Trade at Bay Area Now 5

July 15th, 2008

Galleon Trade takes a pleasantly unexpected detour, en route to future destinations!

The Bay Area Now 5 triennial opens at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this July 19, and Galleon Trade is part of the party! (We’re arriving fashionably late, though–Galleon Trade: Bay Area Now 5 Edition doesn’t open until Sept 4.)


YBCA curators invited proposals from artists to sub-curate special projects for Bay Area Now. They selected GT organizer Jenifer Wofford’s proposal to play match-maker, pairing several of the Bay Area-based Galleon Trade artists who traveled to Manila last year, with several of the artists they had met there.

From the official wall text at YBCA:

Galleon Trade is a series of international arts exchange projects, focusing on the Philippines, Mexico, and California. Spanish Galleons sailed trade routes between Acapulco and Manila (by way of California) from 1565 to 1815. Taking the historic Acapulco-Manila Spanish galleon route as its metaphor of origin, these exhibitions seek to create new routes of cultural exchange along old routes of commerce and trade.

The project began in summer 2007, when Galleon Trade I brought artists and work from California to Metro Manila, Philippines. Future incarnations of this project will be hosted by San Francisco’s Luggage Store Gallery and another space in Mexico.

Galleon Trade: Bay Area Now 5 Edition addresses the deeply transnational ties between the Bay Area and the Philippines by pairing artists from both places. It features work by local artists Jaime Cortez, Megan Wilson, Johanna Poethig, Gina Osterloh and Christine Wong Yap, all of whom were members of the contingent that went to Manila in 2007, and met many local artists. In the spirit of the transpacific “trade” of Galleon Trade, these 5 artists were paired up with Manila artists Maria Taniguchi, Poklong Anading, Norberto “Peewee” Roldan, MM Yu, and Yason Banal. Their works are in direct conversation with each other, each artist’s unique practice enriching and resonating with another’s.

Galleon Trade sails again: more details and updates soon to follow!

Best wishes to Traders Johanna, Peewee, Jaime, Maria, Christine, Yason, Megan, Poklong, MM and Gina as they prepare their amazing work for this next port of call!

And even though Galleon Trade: Bay Area Now 5 Edition doesn’t open until September 4, please come to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this Saturday July 19th for the big kick-off party (buy your tickets early!)

July 19-November 16
*Opening Night Party July 19 8 pm!!
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission Street, San Francisco CA

Article about Manila’s contemporary art!

August 25th, 2007

Galleon Trade is thrilled to see writers discussing the Manila art scene! Gina Fairley does a good job encapsulating its recent history and current status.

(In reference to the article’s title, however, it’s hard to say whether “Filipino” art is about being urban: “Manila” art sure is, however. Galleon Trade will need to spend more time on some lovely non-urban beach, sipping a mango milkshake, and contemplating this prospect further.)

From Art Market:
Filipino art is about being urban, not Asian

By Gina Fairley | Posted 02 August 2007

SYDNEY. The Philippines is a country of contrasts. It is shackled by religion and government corruption, its mega-city Manila squeezed between shanty towns and skyscrapers. Historically, this clash has produced art with oppositional tendencies which caught the eye of international curators in the 1980s and early 90s.

In recent years though, the Philippines has slipped off the art world’s radar, viewed as less “Asian” than its neighbours. This oversight is partly due to over-zealous travel warnings, but even more to the physical impenetrability of Manila’s art scene, which is something of a labyrinth traversing the city, from Pasay’s galleries to Makati’s private museums, the art shops in Mandaluyong’s mega-mall to the artist-run spaces around the university belt of Cubao and Quezon City—not to mention the 7,000 islands. How does one get around the obstacle of geography to discover what is new in Filipino art?

Perhaps the most accurate barometer of current trends is provided by the country’s many competitions and awards: the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) triennial Thirteen Artists Award, the Art Association Annual Competition and the Ateneo Art Award, now in its fourth edition and given to the best solo exhibition by a Filipino artist under 35. Last year’s winners for the latter prize were: Maya Muñoz’s psychological portraits in “Closer” at Hiraya Gallery in Manila; the compelling performance/installation Banquet by Mideo M. Cruz at the CCP; and Poklong Anading’s “Anonymity” at Finale gallery in Makati City, combining high and low technology in a comment on Filipino identity. This year’s winners are announced on 8 August.


Mideo M. Cruz’s performance Banquet. (photo: Gina Fairley)

Filipino art is about being urban, not Asian. Bembol dela Cruz’s technically adroit tattoo portraits exhibited at Future Prospects last year illustrate this perfectly. Subscribing to global design styles and grunge- glamour, they connect identity through body art and urban graffiti. Olan Ventura also paints with plastic perfection, inspired by Japanese manga comics. He is having his first international solo exhibition with Taksu Singapore this year. Together with other young artists breaking into the regional scene, such as Lena Cobangbang, Luisito Cordero, Jayson Oliveria and Wire Tuazon, they are shaping contemporary Filipino art.

At the same time, expatriate Filipinos who have been showing and producing work internationally are returning to engage in the local scene and exhibit work in Manila, including artists such as Manuel Ocampo, Paul Pfeiffer (who was born in Hawaii but raised in the Philippines), Alfredo Aquilizan, Maria Cruz and Alwin Reamillo.

The current art scene has evolved out of a succession of alternative spaces opened in the 1990s and run by artists educated in the post- Marcos era at the University of the Philippines and on large doses of Art in America. These include venues such as Third Space Art Laboratory, Surrounded By Water and Big Sky Mind. Now, a second generation of galleries have joined together over the last three years to form a group of venues loosely referred to as Cubao X, fusing graphic design, indie music and art.

With the closure in February of the key space Future Prospects, due to a major rent increase, these artist-run spaces have started to decentralise. Some say the scene has burnt-out. Another interpretation is that, as property developers swallow up alternative areas like Cubao, art centres are becoming more polished, globally focused ventures. In 2002, Ramon Lerma took over as director and chief curator of the Ateneo Art Gallery and organised the benchmark exhibition “Whitewash”. That same year, the independent artist-run space Green Papaya Art Project moved to a new venue in Quezon City and redefined itself as a savvy, professional art centre encouraging collaboration across all fields of the arts, with an in-house graphic design studio and an artist residency and exchange programme. Norberto Roldan of Green Papaya explains: “We are interested in how we can work as partners with the few professionally run galleries to create a new kind of arts management in this country.”

Who are those commercial partners? The serious contenders are Hiraya, Galleria Duemila in Pasay City, West Gallery in Quezon City, the Drawing Room and Finale both in Makati. They have survived despite a stifling local economy reliant on a small group of collectors and designers working with developers. For these galleries to grow, international exposure is vital.

Fortunately, the commercial sector is starting to expand: Galleria Duemila recently moved to a custom-built space; the Drawing Room has broadened its activities in the Region, opening a branch in Singapore and attending regional fairs; and galleries Finale and West continue to collaborate with Roberto Chabet, an artist and educator who has been influential in developing conceptual art in the Philippines, curating salon-style surveys of young artists.

Other Asian cities are also taking notice. Singapore’s Taksu and Hong Kong’s Osage galleries held shows in 2005 focusing on contemporary Filipino art, “Emerging Fires” and “Metropolitan Mapping” respectively, which could be viewed as an update on Valentine Willie Fine Arts’ (Malaysia) landmark show in 2000, “Faith +the City”.

GT gets MORE love from the Press!

August 23rd, 2007

Modern-Day Galleon Trade Sets Sail
By Cheeko Ruiz
Sunday, August 19, 2007


Nearly two centuries after it ended, the famous Galleon Trade that brought riches to Europe is again navigating its old routes around Mexico, California and Manila. Two weeks ago, a Galleon Trade ship docked in Manila, carrying loads of contemporary art instead of spices and stoneware of the olden days.

The ship captain is Filipino-American artist Jenifer Wofford, who organized the exhibit, together with twelve Filipino-American and Mexican-American visual artists based in California: Julio Morales, Jaime Cortez, Gina Osterloh, Johanna Poethig, Eliza Barrios, Richard Godinez, Enrique Chagoya, Michael Arcega, Reanne Estrada, Stephanie Syjuco, Megan Wilson and Christine Wong Yap.

The artists exhibited paintings, sculptures, photography, installations, video art and performance art in three locations – Mag:net Gallery Katipunan, Mag:net Cafe High Street and Green Papaya Art Projects at UP Teachers Village in Diliman, Quezon City. The modern-day Galleon Trade seeks to initiate a continuing art exchange program between Filipino-American and local artists.

In a statement posted at the Galleon Trade website, Wofford said the exhibit aims to create new routes of cultural exchange along old routes of commerce and trade. It is out to make the Pacific Ocean smaller, by creating a sustainable template for innovative new kinds of grassroots arts exchange.

Mag:net gallery owner Rock Drilon sas the Galleon Trade project is not only about exhibition. “Exchange means immersion,” Drilon says. “All of these artists have some kind of connection to the Philippines.”

This connection they tried to enrich during their stay here, as they visited places like Quiapo to rediscover the beauty of their motherland.

The term “brain drain” connected to their migrating parents is no longer applicable to these Fil-Ams, Drilon says. In fact, from “brain drain” the integration of arts and culture may even lead to relocation.

The journey was not easy for Wofford and the rest of the pack. The project entailed about a year of planning. It took off despite the lack of government funding from both ends.

Drilon says the artists worked on very limited resources. “Before coming in (to the Philippines), they raised some money to fund their project,” he says.

Even the closure of Mag:net Paseo and ABS, which were supposed to host two of the three simultaneous exhibitions one month prior to the opening, did not break Wofford’s spirit. Green Papaya generously hosted the component meant for Mag:net ABS while The Wall in Mag:net Cafe High Street absorbed the Mag:net Paseo component.

Just like any other traveling show, there were limitations to the Galleon Trade project.

Drilon believes the artists still have more to show than what was seen in their works. “They had some restrictions because of the nature of a traveling show wherein you have to transport the art pieces,” he explains.

The shows had three separate, festive openings on the last week of July. All were jampacked with the curious, the enthusiastic, local artists included.

The Fil-Ams were warmly welcomed at The Wall with sound works by Sabaw and percussions by Pinikpikan. Sculpture pieces, meanwhile were distributed at Green Papaya while an art talk/ dialogue took place at Mag:net Katipunan.

Drilon says the participants were visibly overwhelmed by the reception they got, and are in fact worried that they will not be able to reciprocate this when it’s the turn of the Filipino artists to hold exhibitions in California and Mexico.

The crowd was likewise amazed with the concept of the project and the creative pieces that were featured.

“I think they’re fascinated, because it’s not the usual conventional paintbrush canvas. The site-specific installation in the comfort room of Mag:net Katipunan, for example, is very Filipino”, Drilon shares. “Actually what they (the artists) have done, you’d be surprised that somebody initiated it. It’s just a case of bringing in ideas or hope and inspiration.”

Apart from the exhibitions, university roundtable discussions organized by Galleon Trade co-organizer and curator Lucy Burns were held at the Ateneo De Manila, University of Santo Tomas and the Living Room.

The Galleon Trade project begins in Manila and continues with reciprocal projects in San Francisco and Mexico in 2008 and 2009.

Indeed, art and culture interactions between the Philippines and the Americas, North and South, may have been lost over the centuries. But with the help of the fresh concept of the Galleon Trade, the search for a new shipment of hope and inspiration has started.

mag:net news august

August 15th, 2007

Galleon Trade loves Mag:net for obvious reasons. We will post Mag:net’s monthly newsletter from hereon out, so that all you fools who aren’t in Metro Manila can read about all the fun you’re missing here.

Former UE College of Fine Arts Dean Gerry Tan opens his recent exhibition at Mag:net Gallery in Katipunan this Saturday, 18 August. The show will be on view up to 8 September. Some 8 bands have been lined up by Romeo Lee for the night (Free Admission- Compli food and drinks downstairs, full pay bar upstairs) to absorb and entertain the huge crowd expected to attend Gerry’s opening this Saturday. Titled “Flatbed Images” the exhibition consists of collage-based oil paintings one measuring 7×7ft which Gerry “explores with processes that involve the mechanical and manual replication of images”. Read article and view paintings>

Three artists associated with Mag:net bested the Ateneo Art Awards this year. They are Lyle Buencamino for the exhibition “A Bowtie for John Lyle” shown last year at the now defunct Mag:net Gallery in ABS-CBN compound, Wawi Navarroza for the exhibition “Saturnine: A Collection of Portraits, Creatures, Glass & Shadow” at the Silverlens Gallery and MM Yu for the exhibition “Thoughts Collected, Recollected” at Finale Art File. Though Wawi Navarroza has not shown yet in Mag:net Gallery she has been performing in Mag:net Cafe as the lead singer of the band called The Late Isabel. MM Yu aside from holding shows in Mag:net, also curates her Table Gallery at the café in Katipunan. To the 3 artists, our warmest congratulations!

The Philippine Daily Inquirer published an article about the Galleon Trade Art Exchange chronicling how the project went through this past 3 weeks which the visiting “galleonistas” enjoyed very much. Galleon Trade curator and main organizer Jenifer Wofford has already been apologetic, “we will never be able to reciprocate the enthusiasm, the support and the hospitality accorded us when it’s our turn to host in the US”. All the 9 visiting artists have gone back to the US but we were told Gina Osterloh is coming back soon for a 3-month stay in Manila as a Fulbright fellow. Written by Pedro Dumancas, one of the café’s regulars and witness to the Galleon Trade “expedition”, the article dwelled more on the project than the works of the galleonistas”. Read article>

We welcome the opening of another art space, Mawen and David Ong’s MO at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig just across Mag:net Café High Street. It’s always great to have more art spaces opening that are committed to support cutting edge art. With Silverlens now in place and doing good work and with MO’s coming into the picture, Manila is in for another great and promising period for the visual arts. It was also nice seeing the opening crowd ending up in Mag:net Café High Street after MO’s opening last week. Next time we will organize a Lee’s Night or S.A.B.A.W. Night at Mag:net High Street to coincide with MO’s opening if that is OK.

We will be missing two indie filmmakers closest to Mag:net’s Cinekatipunan. Both are leaving the country to attend International Film Festivals and Conferences. Khavn, who curates a weekly Cinekatipunan program “SHORTFILMANIA!” is off to attend an Australia Film Festival while Cinekatipunan Project Director Kiri Dalena is leaving for Korea to attend the Migrant Workers Film Festival and to be a resource person at a conference that aims to facilitate film dialogue and international media solidarity. It will be attended by media activist groups from developing nations. Held Mondays to Saturdays Cinekatipunan screenings start at 5PM. View Cinekatipunan August Calendar>

Mag:net Café has been cited by Time Magazine as “Manila’s influential live venue.” Hmmm…we never thought of that but thanks to Lara Day who made the comment and wrote the article “The Way of Dharma” which was published in last week’s issue of the international magazine. Up Dharma Down one of the bands that play regularly in both Mag:net venues was pegged by BBC radio DJ Mark Coles as the Manila band most likely to cross over to the lucrative Anglophone market of North America. Read article>,9171,1644902,00.html?imw=Y

GT gets some love from the press

August 6th, 2007

Thank you, Pedro Dumancas!

‘Galleon Trade,’ Fil-Am exodus back to the motherland
By Pedro Dumancas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Last updated 01:23am (Mla time) 08/06/2007
MANILA, Philippines — After a year in planing, the first batch of “Galleon Trade” ships finally docked in Manila last week despite typhoons and tsunamis that nearly spoiled the ambitious maiden expedition across the fast, modern, jet-cyber Pacific high seas.

The “ships” were actually nine Filipino-American visual artists who made it out of the 15 participating artists.

These artists, who are now exhibiting in three locations, are Julio Morales, Jaime Cortez, Gina Osterloh, Johanna Poethig and Eliza Barrios in Mag:net Gallery Katipunan; Richard Godinez and Enrique Chagoya on The Wall in Mag:net Bonifacio High Street; and Michael Arcega, Reanne Estrada, Stephanie Syjuco, Megan Wilson and Christine Wong Yap in Green Papaya Art Projects.

Instead of spices and stoneware and undeclared contrabandos in the olden days, the ships brought in contemporary art in every form: paintings, sculptures, photography, installations, video art, performance art and, yes, contrabandos.

The artists also brought their hungry second-generation souls to immerse and rediscover the Motherland, which is the other objective of the “Galleon Trade” concept.

The main objective is to initiate a continuing art-exchange program between the Fil-Am and local artists and to find some “updated connections” between the old galleon-trade routes which included Mexico, California and Manila. This is the reason why there are three art exhibits in three venues.

The Mag:net Artgrill interactive preceded the exhibition opening and was attended by both visiting and local artists.

The term “brain drain” connected to their migrating parents is no longer applicable to these Fil-Ams. “Galleon Trade” proposes instead the use of the word “integration.” It’s amazing that the project took off despite the lack of government funding from both ends.

Captain of the expedition is Los Angeles-based curator and main organizer Jenifer Wofford.

The untimely closure of Mag:net Paseo and ABS, which were supposed to host two of the three simultaneous exhibitions, a month before the opening didn’t break Woford’s spirit. Green Papaya generously hosted the component meant for Mag:net ABS. The Wall in Mag:net Café High Street absorbed the Mag:net Paseo component.

The shows had three separate openings last week, all jam-packed with people. All openings were festive and lively.

At The Wall, the Fil-Ams were warmly welcomed with sound works by Sabaw and percussions by Pinikpikan. At Green Papaya, “sculpture pieces” were distributed. An art talk/dialogue took place at Mag:net Katipunan.

Musician-composer Chris Brown from Mills College in Oakland, California, spouse of participating artist Joanna Poethig, performed a live computer music piece, “Transmissions,” at Mag:net Katipunan. His performance opened the student-produced night gig, “Jeepney Stop,” which featured eight bands.

Aside from the exhibitions, roundtable art discussions, organized by “Galleon Trade” co-organizer and curator Lucy Burns, were held at University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo de Manila University and The Living Room.

Teachers from the UP College of Fine Arts were invited to attend the nearby Katipunan Artgrill, but no one came. Gone are the days when the likes of art teachers Joya, Abueva, Chabet and others participated in such discourses. Could it be that the new breed of artists think they have already learned what there is to learn?

The ships have arrived, the exhibitions launched. Though it is only the beginning, the “Galleon Trade” art exchange has already brought us “shipments” of hope and inspiration, which the art community and the country as a whole need in order to promote and deepen art and culture interactions between the Philippines and the Americas, North and South. What is good about this art exchange is that it will be a continuing one.

The “Galleon Trade” runs in The Wall in Mag:Net Café High Street (The Fort, B:3 Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig) until Aug. 11; Mag:net Gallery-Katipunan (Agcor Building, 335 Katipunan Ave., QC) until Aug. 16; and at Green Papaya Art Projects (124A Maginhawa St., UP Teachers Village East, Diliman, QC) until Aug. 14.

Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

July 29, The Living Room

July 30th, 2007

Living Room directors Carlos Celdran and Denis Lagdameo hosted an evening salon for Galleon Trade artists to present and discuss their work. Carlos Celdran interviewed artists and moderated discussion at a social event that went on until late.


Greeting arriving guests


Johanna Poethig and Al Manalo


Al Manalo and Zoe, front row



Writers Claire Light and Zack Linmark


Carlos Celdran, stirring it up in discussion


Bogart helps Christine celebrate her belated birthday


Photographer Juan Caguicla taking the group pic


Juan’s photo of the Living Room latenight crew

July 28, Mag:net Katipunan

July 30th, 2007

The 3rd of the 3 Galleon Trade exhibitions opened at Mag:net Katipunan on Saturday, featuring artists Johanna Poethig, Rick Godinez, Gina Osterloh, Julio Cesar Morales, Jaime Cortez, and Eliza Barrios. There was an afternoon “Artgrill”, an artist presentation with Q & A in the Mag:net cafe upstairs.


Entrance to Mag:net Katipunan


Gina Osterloh and Reanne Estrada with Mr Roberto Chabet


Director of Mag:net, artist Rock Drilon introducing “ArtGrill”


Gina Osterloh, presenting during ArtGrill


Gerry Tan, grilling away


Mom Leony Barrios with Eliza Barrios


Chris Brown performing experimental music


Galleon Trade gallery view at Mag:net Katipunan


Julio Cesar Morales’ video and vinyl piece at Katipunan



Johanna Poethig’s work at Mag:net Katipunan


Gina Osterloh


Jaime Cortez



Eliza Barrios’ work in the CR Gallery at Katipunan


Artists Mike Arcega and Yason Banal


Artists toast at the end of the Katipunan opening

July 27, Ateneo University

July 30th, 2007

Ateneo de Manila University hosted another roundtable discussion on “Old Routes, New Exchanges: Building a Transnational Dialogue in Arts-Making, Arts-Exchange, and Critical Discourse”. This event was presented by the “Kritika Kultura” lecture series, the Department of English, and the Ateneo Fine Arts Program, and organized by Lucy Burns and Oscar Campomanes.

Opening remarks were given by Professor Mary Thomas of the Department of English, introductions were made by professor Oscar Campomanes, also of the Department of English. The discussion was moderated by Miguel Lizada, assistant managing editor of Kritika Kultura, and closing remarks were presented by Dr Jovino Miroy, OIC of the Fine Arts Program.

Participants in the roundtable discussion were Jenifer Wofford, Galleon Trade’s organizer, Professor Eric Reyes, scholar-participant from Cal State Fullerton, Norberto Peewee Roldan, director of Green Papaya Art Projects, Johanna Poethig, Galleon Trade artist, and Stephanie Syjuco, Galleon Trade artist.


Professor Campomanes introducing everyone


Wofford speaking


Ateneo students


Peewee Roldan