Arts & Culture

5 Fabulous Filipino Artists in the Global Art Scene

These contemporary artists are making waves in the local and international art scene.
IMAGE Jake Verzosa


Receiving the rank of National Artist for the Visual Arts in 2006, he remains highly active and forward-looking in his practice, be it with prints, painting or photography, all the while supporting younger artists through the Indigo gallery at his inimitable eponymous museum in Baguio. In the past, we’ve seen him turn drawings into bronze sculptures. These figurative sculptures began as stretches of metal, but are then cut, punctured, bent, or folded. Through such manipulation, what is generated is not only volume but movement as well. It translates into three dimensions all the familiar imagery that bear the artist’s signature: sweeping strokes, flowing drapery, and suspended dynamism.



People often make the mistake of pinning an artist to a single, iconic image (usually brought to the spotlight by an award) or a recurring, favorite subject. Best known for her delicate paintings of children’s dresses, Cruz has often proven that her body of work actually extends way beyond that.  A graduate of U.P. Fine Arts with honors, her works have been shown overseas, from Beijing to Singapore. She has also received several residency grants including in Vermont, U.S.A., and Victoria, Australia, the latter in conjunction with her 2008 Ateneo Art Awards win.



Prize-winning painter Tapaya has garnered accolades for his massive, captivating murals, which often reference Filipino myths and indigenous iconography. Though the artist invokes narratives in his paintings and murals, he always leaves room for the viewer to hem the story together.



Javier’s trajectory as a contemporary artist of international caliber remains steady, with a string of recent solo shows at respected spaces in cultural capitals such as Singapore and Berlin. A recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Thirteen Artists Awards in 2003, Javier has been showing overseas for nearly a decade, and her works have been featured in prestigious auctions and international art fairs. Her daring is visible not only with the themes she tackles but also in the media she employs. Her recent installations show an ease, if not irreverence, in juxtaposing contrasting and unconventional materials—be it oil paint, found objects, yarn, or organic matter—to put her visions into flesh.



The soft-spoken Santos produces works that are highly sought after, with avid followers traveling distances to secure—or at least gaze at—his finely rendered pieces. The low-profile artist is known for his surrealist paintings of assembled images as well as still lifes that display the dexterity of his hand. Also an art professor, Santos is a recipient of the Thirteen Artist Awards from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. His works have been shown in various spaces locally as well as in Kuala Lumpur, New York, Beijing, and Copenhagen.

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