If there’s one thing Bonifacio Global City visitors notice first, it’s the larger-than-life art installations that bring vibrancy to the already effervescent small town. Several Filipino artists have turned BGC’s streets and parks into giant canvases, letting their imaginations run wild with art pieces that make for an enriching stroll through the city.
Tagged the “Artwalk”, this Public Art Program is managed by the Bonifacio Arts Foundation Inc, and goes through Seventh Avenue to 32nd Street and all the way down Rizal Drive. From a water-spouting boulder to a tribute to the city’s namesake, here’s your guide to BGC's Artwalk.
Bonifacio High Street (between Lanes P and O)
A collaboration between painter Ronald Achacoso and sculptor Reg Yuson, “Bearable Lightness” is a flowy, plank-like form with bright colors colliding. One might say the creators meant for it to look like a flying carpet, in that terms such as “perpetual lightness” and “the tension between gravity and weightlessness” have been used to describe it.
“Hearsay” is among Yuson's many works in BGC. This one, a collection of twisted green pipes that seem to burst forth from the earth (but are actually connected to each other underground), is his interpretation of hearing news through the grapevine. If you choose the right two pipes, you can use them to gossip, hence the “through the grapevine” reference.
Yuson must have been tapping into his inner hippie when he created “Presence.” For this piece, he installed 20 free-standing floor chimes that people are supposed to prod in order to attract positive vibes into the area.
“Specific Gravity” is yet another art installation by Yuson. A huge boulder held up by three seemingly flimsy-looking steel bars, it’s supposed to make people contemplate their relationship to gravity. But if you’re there just for fun, it’s also a great way to reminisce about playing in the rain as a child, since the giant structure is also a fountain.
You’d think children would shy away from a bronze structure towering over them, but “Tinstaej #85” is far from imposing. Created by Conrado Velasco and nicknamed "wee beastie" despite its massive nature, #85 is an upright sky-blue sculpture that resembles the silhouette of a teddy bear, and is part of the artist’s ongoing art series called “Tinstaej” (the acronym for "There Is No Such Thing As Endless Joy").
You can’t name a satellite city after a national hero and not have something to honor him with inside it. Artist Ben-Hur G. Villanueva’s “Ang Supremo” is just that: a tribute to the great Katipunero Andres Bonifacio himself. The three-meter tall commemorative structure is made of brass and bronze, and can be found at the junction of Rizal Drive and 3rd Avenue.
Found at the rotund connecting 4th Avenue and 23rd Street, “Balanghai” is Leo Gerardo Leonardo’s contribution to the BGC art installation scene. This sculpture of a native vessel with masts and sails mounted on pivots that move to the wind’s direction depicts our Malay ancestors as they journeyed across uncharted waters in search of a place where they could form communities. (In case you missed history lessons at school, balanghai – the name used by native Filipinos to refer to their boats – is the origin of the word “barangay” or community.)
Jerry Araos designed “Kasalikasan” (a conjunction of “kasali ka sa kalikasan” or “you are one with nature”) to be a breathing space where anyone could go and unite themselves with the natural elements despite its ironic placement among the paved streets and rising buildings of BGC. Found across the De Jesus Oval, this garden is a known area for outdoor gatherings and parties.
Kasaysayan Bawat Oras
The 16-meter sculpture “Kasaysayan Bawat Oras” is made of brass and cement, and stands along 24th Street. Created by Juan Sajid de Leon Imao, the installation is composed of a sundial half-surrounded by seven linked human structures representing the Philippines’ 7,100 islands.
“Pasasalamat” is the brass creation of sculptor Ferdie Cacnio located along Rizal Drive and close to 27th Street. The art installation is of two fishermen (reminiscent of the Oblation at the University of the Philippines) on a boat hoisting a net full of flapping fish, representative of our gratitude for God’s blessings.
Architect Lor Calma’s “Transformation” is a glass edifice that stands at the corner of 5th Avenue and 32nd Street. The whole structure signifies Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao through three forms of stacked laminated glass, each between five and 10 meters tall. The sculpture comes to life at night when internal lights illuminate the flowing water surrounding it.
Located smack in the middle of Padre Burgos Circle, “The Trees” is a great example of finding art in nature, or making art through it. Sculptor Reynato Paz Contreras interlocked the branches of three trees to form a circular canopy that represents Mother Earth’s ability to unify everything in nature.
The next time you’re at BGC, take some time to relax and take in the art around you before doing anything else. It's guaranteed to give you an entirely new appreciation for the beauty of BGC.