Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, H.E. Enrique A. Manalo, hosted the launch of Batubalani at the Philippine Embassy in London last 24 July.

Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo hosted the launch of Batubalani at the Philippine Embassy
(From left to right: Mr Noel Ed De Leon, Mr David Medalla, Ms Eva Bentcheva,
Ambassador Manalo, and Vice-Consul Rommel Romato)

Batubalani is a newly formed group of artists and art historians seeking to spread knowledge of modern Philippine art and support the work of contemporary Filipino artists in the UK. It was organized by the London-based multimedia artist Noel Ed de Leon and London Biennale curator Eva Bentcheva (art historian from SOAS, University of London), with the supervision of renowned Filipino artist David Medalla.

With the support of the Philippine Embassy, Batubalani has initiated discussions about recent achievements in Philippine arts and curating in view of the Philippines' return to the Venice Biennale this year. The group has organized a lecture by Dr. Patrick Flores, curator of the Philippine pavilion at the Biennale, at SOAS in October. It will be attended by key personalities from modern art galleries and museums, as well as art critics and lecturers from visual art departments across the UK.

In his remarks, Ambassador Manalo said "Batubalani is a Filipino term for 'magnet'. As you know, magnet attracts ferrous objects and is also used as compass needle to point a particular direction. With this in mind, I hope Batubalani will attract more artists and supporters towards the realization of its mission and vision. I am also optimistic that Batubalani will direct us to a more profound cultural exchange between the Philippines and the United Kingdom."

The launch also included an exhibition of contemporary Philippine photography, featuring photographic works by Filipino artists Kat O, Noel Montano, Norlito Lalo and Noel De Leon. END