It is our 20th years of bringing visual art and artists in Europe with the humble beginning  of exhibiting Rene Robles in Langenfeld, Germany in 1991. Due to the success of this first endeavor I was encouraged to help out in promoting Philippine Visual Art which now led to this years 20th year anniversary exhibit which we coined FILIPINISM.

During our 20 years of bringing the best Filipino artists ,  we have been exhibiting  in different European cities where our artists gained respect and recognition in every gallery and museum we have been to .

And then in 2005 Kunst Gallery was born with the goal of helping Filipino Visual Art and Artists attain global notoriety and be visible in Europe.

The beginning was a little bit difficult but through the efforts of Mr. Bill Perez, currently a member of the Batangas City Cultural Affairs Committee and Ms. Carol Fetalvero who lent us a piece of land where we  built Kunst Gallery in Batangas City, we were able to survive.

Being recognized  by different  curators of gallery and museum directors in Europe as Art Impresario is another thing. My sincerest  gratitude to the abundance of talents and outstanding quality of work by our Filipino artists , their rigid training and knowledge about the chronology of art coupled by their  undying passion to create masterpieces and their hunger to improve and learn more.These things coupled by years of hard work and building bridges  opened the doors of   galleries and museums in Europe  to me and later on became  partner of Kunst Gallery.

Exhibiting thru  the support of  different  Philippine Embassies/Consulates and Filipino Communities in Europe, some sponsors and most specially my family  lightened our way and made things easier . It help us pursue our goal in helping   promote our artists and slowly gain global recognition.

Inspire by our successful exhibitions abroad we have never forgotten to help our less fortunate brothers and sisters in the Philippines. We started helping Ondoy victims of Taguig, Rizal last year and ended this year with art workshop, feeding and Christmas gift giving to  the abused children of Bantay Bata 163 Children’s  Village in Norzagaray, Bulacan with Miss Tina Monson Palma and art competition.

Kunst artists likewise share their talent to street children and disable persons thru free art workshop and demonstration. We make lectures to artist group, students and professors of universities in the Philippines, judging art, photo and parol making contest to open the eyes  of the people to the beauty of art.

All of these projects were made possible through the support of Art Association of the Philippines thru its president Fidel Sarmiento; the genius of Aris Bagtas, the generosity of Rene Robles, Nanay Cristy Fermin of Mga Obra ni Nanay Gallery, Tuesday and Saturday group of artists and the Batangas City Government.

On January 2010, Kunst Gallery moved to Caedo Commercial Complex in Batangas City in a space given to us by our donors  Drs. Gerry and Pam Caedo.

And on December 2010 one (1) hectare of land in Batangas City was promised to  us by Atty. Benedick and Vanesssa Aquino to be  the future site of Kunst Art Village,  which will serve as a new home of all artists in the Philippines - making yet another story.

We are now continuously building our hope  which was a only a dream yesterday. And through the support of those who believe we can and our purpose for what we are doing, everything slowly becomes  a reality. As God says: Help Yourself and I will Help You!

FILIPINISM - What Makes Art Filipino

History tells us that Filipinism in the art world began during the Impressionism period wherein two Filipino visual artists won at the Exposicion National Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain. In 1881 Juan Luna, the first recognized Philippine artist garnered Silver in painting for a piece titled “La Muerta de Cleopatra”.  In 1884 his more popular work “Spoliarium” won the 1st Gold medal in the same competition while Felix Resureccion Hidalgo’s artwork titled “Las Vigenes Cristianas al Populacho” got the silver medal.

In 1887 two works of Juan Luna titled “La Batalla de Lepanto” and “Rendicion de Granada” won again in the same competiton while “La Barca de Aqueronte” of Felix Hidalgo garnered Gold in the Philippine Exposition in Madrid. Two years later, in 1889 the same painting got the silver medal in Exposition Universelle in Paris, France.

Almost in the same period the famed novel of Dr. Jose Rizal, (National Hero of the Philippines and a friend of Juan Luna) titled “Noli Me Tangere” ( The Social Cancer ) was first printed in Berlin, Germany. The second book titled “El Filibusterismo” ( The Reign of Greed ) was published in Ghent, Belgium in 1891. These two books which pictured the state of the Filipino people during that time indirectly influenced the Philippine revolution during the 19th century.

The publication of the books led to the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30, 1896 in Bagumbayan ( now called Luneta or Rizal Park ). This sparked the armed revolution led by Andres Bonifacio, founder of Katipunan ( Secret Society ) movement when he called upon thousands of Katipunan members and started the revolution against the 300 years of Spanish colonization in the Philippines.

Bonifacio was influenced by a book entitled “French Revolution”, while Juan Luna was influenced by a French artist, Eugene Delacroix in a painting titled “Liberty leading the People” whose statement was about the French revolution.  Jose Rizal, Juan Luna and Andres Bonifacio were members of La Liga Filipina, a society fighting for the freedom of Filipinos.

Many noted Filipino artists won international acclaim in the field of visual art like Rene Robles and Rafael Cusi to name a few. The latest whom we call as the Juan Luna of our generation is Max Balatbat who won Silver in the prestigious competition Lorenzo Il Magnifico Award during the 7th Florence Biennale in Florence, Itay in 2009 besting around 3,000 entries from 80 countries. And in music ,the Philippine Madrigal Singers won 3 times the European Grand Prix in Choral singing,( 1997 in Tours, France, 2006 in Tour, France and 2007 in Arezzo, Italy) elevating them to Hall of Fame making them the first choir in competition history to win it and the only Asian choir to do so. When asked why they won, National artist for Music and Madrigal Singer founder Prof. Andrea Veneracion answered, “it’s because we are singing with our Pilipino heart”.

We were moved by the soulful voice and brilliant acting of Lea Salonga as Kim in Miss Saigon which won her both the Laurence Olivier and Tony awards.  Once, Freddie Aguilar’s song “Anak” was a song recognized and translated into different languages around the world. Brillante Mendoza and Raymond Red bagged major awards at the Cannes Film Festival in recognition of their outstanding work on film. The Philippine Bayanihan Dancers, Ramon Ubusan Folkloric Dance Troupe and Douglas Nierras – Powerdance have brought pride to our country in their soulful rendition of Philippine Dances in Europe and America. In all of these, we see our genuine heart and soul which beats with the true sense of Filipinism and this is what makes art Filipino.