Jay Treñas on how Iloilo Art Festival 2015 Can Show There’s ‘Art’ in Daily Life 

By marc belloni

February 20-21 2015 should prove to be something momentous: an art gathering event will take place in our city, and it will be in the form of the Iloilo Art Festival 2015.

Iloilo Art Festival visual artists - Project IloiloThe second edition of the fest will be held at the Megaworld Blvd., Iloilo Business Park and this event will host a bunch of fashion creators, musical performers, painters, and photographers just to mention among the many who will be participating. And from the sound of it, it promises to show us the wide array of talents local Ilonggos have in their respective fields.

Meeting with one of the persons behind the Iloilo Art Festival, City Councilor Jay Treñas allowed us to learn a little bit more about it. Though his brother Quito—himself an accomplished visual artist—is the one who is involved with the day-to-day planning of the entire event, Jay’s action in favour of local contemporary culture started a few years ago with music. Apart from being a committed city councilor, Jay is also well-known in the local rock scene through his frontman duties for Joscko; they even had a six-song EP out a few years ago. However, it was his pioneering work with Bam Araneta where they were able to enact a massive contribution to the local music scene with the Iloilo Lokal music compilation series, with Vol. 1 being released in 2010. Followed by Volumes 2 and 3, the aims of the LPs were to promote the original compositions of the 18 local bands they have featured on each compilation.

He and his siblings Amanda and Quito then opened a monument to Iloilo music with the opening of JAQ’s Bar, where the varied sets performed went from those from acoustic musicians during the weekdays to steamy hot reggae (with Bahagari) on Fridays and good hard rock—Hell yeah!—past midnight (with 4 Elements) on Saturdays. Unfortunately, JAQ’s had to close down much to the dismay of music fans, but they’re gunning for a comeback of sorts by setting up a weekly kiosk at Calle Real during Sunday evenings, complete with the requisite musical acts. Maybe it can be like the phoenix and rise again from the ashes? That is a question to be answered on a later piece, but I digress.

Iloilo Art Festival fashion segment - Project IloiloAfter his college days and his involvement in the arts (specifically, in theater and music), a question came repeatedly to his mind: “How to promote the local art scene LOCALLY?” As a matter of fact, Ilonggo artists have frequently been attracted by the call of big-city Manila. And it is with good reason too, as they have a historically, well-developed infrastructure that can receive and promote the talents there.

However, from the point of view of a proud Ilonggo, it was disheartening to see the talents leaving in massive numbers. The time was ripe for the creation of a local venue for the Ilonggo public to discover their homegrown artists. In this regard, the JAQ’s experiment showed the eagerness of the public to support local creative talent. This event (and others in the city, of course) will show that, in parallel with the visible and tangible growth of Iloilo, there is an extensive Ilonggo artistic scene that is worth promoting.

This is how the Iloilo Art Festival was born, with its first edition starting in 2014. The event is 100% non-profit, with all of the earnings going to the artists themselves. This is why I call upon you, dear Iloilo, to leave the boring comforts of your air-conditioned buildings and join the hype in Megaworld Blvd. this February 20 & 21. They’ve got fashion shows, live music and DJs, tattoo artists, indie filmmakers, painters, photographers and other performers. You just don’t want to miss it!

The following musical acts is scheduled for the Iloilo Art Festival:
Beggar’s Description
Drive Letter
Pulsing Chunky
Death by Headphones
Four Leaf Clover
Tribu ni Mali
Holiday Monster

DJs :
El $leeper Sound
Little Echo

Marc Belloni is a writer for Project Iloilo.