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Wander through These Culturally Eye-Opening Ayala Museum Exhibits

by Mich Escultura

When you go to Makati, especially if you work there, art is probably the last thing on your mind. But if you’re stressed out from the office or you’re not in the mood to go home just yet, take a quick stroll through the streets of Ayala and find your way to the Ayala Museum. Your mind and soul will thank you for that breath of creative air!

Here’s what you’ll encounter once you enter the ultra-chic and very modern doors of the Ayala Museum for its cultural exhibits.

Permanent Displays

1. Gold of Ancestors

gold artifacts
Photo by Mich Escultura

We’re very fashionable people, wouldn’t you say? If you don’t think so, here’s historical proof. In this exhibit of cultural glamour and gold, you’ll find over a thousand gold artifacts from way before the Spaniards decided to grace our shores. From necklaces to earpieces to a magnificent Hindu-influenced gold regalia, your eyes will be dazzled by the superb craftsmanship of our ancestors.

Bonus: Once you enter the gates of Gold of Ancestors wing, you can sit back and watch excerpts from the documentary, Gintong Pamana (Gold Heritage), which gives you a visual tour of the meaning and significance of the gold in the exhibit.

2. A Millennium of Contact

blue and white ceramics
Photo by Mich Escultura

In stark contrast to the black and gold motif of the previous exhibit is this wing filled with the blues and whites of Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics. Undeniably an eye-opening exhibit that can give us insight into our ties with China, the A Millennium of Contact exhibit is an important piece of our history that sheds light on some of our current relations with our neighboring countries.

Bonus: To see more ceramic objects and a specialized library on this subject, you can contact the Ceramics Study Center to book an appointment. Please contact Tenten Mina at +632 759 8288 local 17 or email at mina.ma@ayalamuseum.org

3. Fernando Zobel

Minimalist art
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Located on the Third Floor of the Ayala Museum, this minimalist wing filled with Fernando Zobel’s iconic works is a place to check out if you want peace and serenity. His basic choice of colors and the subtlety of his abstract work will soothe and calm even those who may not be fans of this type of art.

Bonus: For Fernando Zobel’s artwork series called the Saetas (a type of liturgical song), he was able to create his signature finely controlled lines using an altogether unconventional tool – a syringe!

4. Maritime Vessels

ship models
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As a country surrounded by bodies of water, we can’t do without our collection of ships, whether they’re used for war, for transport or as homes. The collection of ship models at the Ayala Museum features both local ships as well as foreign ones that once dropped anchor at our shores.

Bonus: One of the models in this exhibit is the Galleon, a fortress of a vessel that was often called “strong castles of the sea.”

5. The Diorama Experience

The Diorama Experience
Photo by Mich Escultura

Completed in 1973, The Diorama Experience is perhaps one of the most iconic exhibits in the Ayala Museum. A woodcarving feat executed by artisans from Laguna, The Diorama Experience gives viewers an audio-visual tour of the history of the Philippines, from prehistoric times up until the People Power Revolution of 1986.

Bonus: For just Php75, you can rent an iPod Touch that will give you a guided tour of every diorama in the display.


6. A Taste of Gutai: Lito and Kim Camacho Collection (February 5 – April 10, 2016)

Gutai art
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All the 80-plus pieces on display are from the private collection of Lito and Kim Camacho, and many of these works have never been publicly displayed. The Gutai group, founded in 1954 by painter Jiro Yoshihara, is Japan’s first radical, post-war artistic group. In simpler terms, their movement completely rejects the traditional art styles and, as stated in their manifesto, seeks to showcase the beauty that arises when a thing has been damaged.

Bonus: One of the most fascinating things about Gutai art is that the process of creation is essential to the artwork itself. How beautiful or plain you may find a piece in this exhibit, keep in mind the meticulous planning and execution required to be able to make a piece of art the way that it is.

7. The World We Live In: Through the Lens of Contemporary Photography (February 17 – March 27, 2016)

Contemporary Photography
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Five iconic photographers are showcased in this exhibit: Sebastiao Salgado, Steve McCurry, Robert Polidori, Edward Burtynsky and Annie Liebovitz. With such a diverse collection of talent, from a photojournalist’s approach to elaborately staged photographs, these photographers lend us their eyes as they seek to interpret the world around them.

Bonus: While not a household name to those who aren’t avid fans of photography, you may be familiar with Steve McCurry’s most famous photograph entitled “Afghan Girl.”

8. Ang Kiukok: The Golden Years (March 2 – June 26, 2016)

Ang Kiukok’s paintings
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Ang Kiukok’s entered the Philippine art scene in the 60s with a style that mixes cubism, surrealism, and expressionism. Some of the most common themes in his work are anger, rage, and conflict, and this caused him to become an incredibly polarizing artist, even years after his death. His display at the Ayala Museum opens in time with his 85th birthday.

Bonus: One look at Ang Kiukok’s paintings and you’ll immediately feel the boiling rage and utter despair of his artwork. But that’s a huge contrast to his mostly placid and affable personality.

The Ayala Museum is as diverse in its displays as it is modern. Head on out there for a taste of culture and art within the vast metropolis of Makati! Click here for more details on admission and other details.

Address: Makati Avenue corner De La Rosa St. Greenbelt Park, Makati City
Contact Number: +632 759 82 88
Email: hello@ayalamuseum.org
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sundays, 9am – 6pm

Main image by Michelle Escultura

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