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Venice Power Brokers: Loren Legarda, Cultural Impresario, Philippine Pavilion

May 6, 2015

In its May edition, Art+Auction looked at the power brokers behind the Venice Biennale — curators, a gallerist, a patron, a banker, and a politician — who remain relatively unsung in their efforts to ensure that the art stands out.

Next in the series: LOREN LEGARDA, Cultural Impresario, Philippine Pavilion, “Tie a String Around the World”

With its long history and global scope, the Venice Biennale can inspire sweeping ambition in people. Take Senator Legarda, who has returned the Philippines to the event after a half-century absence.

“A national pavilion not only presents the work of its curator and artists but also uses that space to communicate with the world,” Legarda says. “We want the country to use this as a platform to engage the international community on the cultural level.”

A child of art collectors, Legarda wrote her thesis on the Cubist painter Vicente Manansala. She used a subcommittee role overseeing budgets for the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Center of the Philippines to initiate a search for funding in 2013, and by last year she was sitting on a six-member international jury reviewing 16 exhibition proposals.

The final selection from curator Patrick Flores gives a nod to the country’s long hiatus by setting Manuel Conde’s Genghis Khan, which screened at the 1952 Venice Film Festival, in dialogue with new artworks from media artist Jose Tence Ruiz and filmmaker Mariano Montelibano III. “I wanted to focus on the robust modernity of Philippine art that mediates the global and the contemporary,” says Flores.

Legarda, who is committed to seeing the country return in future years, wants something more. “Art should be an enabler of development and is an important facet of nation building,” she says. “I hope that this will promote a cultural renaissance in the Philippines.”

Source: BlouinArtInfo