Manila FAME Expo To Feature Works of Famous Artists, Young Talents

Intensive preparations are underway for the holding of “Manila FAME: The Design and Lifestyle Event,” which will showcase the works of the Philippines young talents in the crafts and design field.

The expo would be held in Manilas World Trade Center, from April 21 to 24, 2016, Alma Argayoso, Philippine Trade Representative to Indonesia, said here, Tuesday.

The Philippine Department of Trades promotion arm, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Museums (CITEM) will unveil the creation of a distinct Philippine brand in the creative industry, she noted.

She also said that this time FAME expects to welcome an even larger number of foreign buyers from Europe and the Americas as well as from Japan, China and Taiwan.

Also to be featured in the Manila FAME exposition are the works of Kenneth Cobunpue, whose furniture designs have received so many international accolades in the United States and Europe that TIME Magazine has dubbed him “rattans first great virtuoso.” His works today grace luxury hotels and the residences of royalties and celebrities worldwide.

Another Filipino artist whose works will be an attraction in Manila FAME is Mila Imson who won top prize in the ASEAN Jewelry Design Competition in Thailand in September 2015. Her winning design is called “The Serpent.”

The competition was organized by the ASEAN Intellectual Property Offices in collaboration with the European Union.

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According to Philippine Trade Representative Alma Argayoso, the achievements of Kenneth Cobonpue and Mila Imson did not come by accident.

They are the result of the following factors: 1) Both come from families with businesses that are already well established in the trade; 2) they passionately honed their natural skills; 3) the Philippine government, no matter how poorly it performs in other fields of governance, has consistently supported and guided the creative economy since 1983; and 4) the government, through the Department of Trade and Industrys Center For International Trade Exposition and Missions (CITEM), has instituted quality control measures that ensure Philippine crafts and designs match world standards. And then, aside from all these, there is the mentorship program.

Called “Red Box”, the mentorship program simply aims at nurturing the next generation of designers of home accents, furniture, apparel, and accessories. Young talents are paired off with successful and celebrated Filipino designers.

Under close supervision, the young talents go through total immersion in the creative fields they are passionate about.

They are challenged to turn out fresh designs, concepts and innovations, and to refine them so that they reflect their artistic personalities. In brief, to achieve branding.

As a mentorship program, Red Box is supported by a platform called FAME.

The bi-annual “Manila FAME, The Design and Lifestyle Event” showcases the works of young talents every April and last quarter of the year. The event has flourished in recent years, as it has regularly attracted many buyers from all over the world.

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As to the regional context of Manila FAME, Argayoso has explained that Southeast Asia is a region of craftsmen and designers with an abundance of natural materials that they can convert into practical items that also evoke aesthetic pleasure.

But Southeast Asian craftsmen and designers have had to struggle to gain international recognition and patronage – even among the regions collectors.

This is largely because most Asian buyers have fallen for the allure of Western designs and brands, she remarked.

But times are changing, she said. Technology and global trends have revolutionized lifestyles everywhere. This revolution in tastes has leveled the playing fields for craftsmen and designers, including those from Southeast Asia.

The Philippines has been among the first countries in the region to seize the opportunities brought about by this revolution. For over three decades since 1983, with the encouragement of a succession of government administrations, the crafts and design sector of the country patiently nurtured the skills of its professionals and the entrepreneurial foundation for a creative industry.

This endeavor was premised on a great confidence in the quality of the nations human resources, a confidence regularly vindicated by the amount of money that Filipino overseas workers remit home every year.

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