Ai Weiwei and Elmer Borlongan at Ayala Museum
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Don’t panic. It’s not a collab.
To celebrate National Arts Month, Ayala Museum presents back-to-back exhibitions of two powerhouse figures in contemporary visual arts today: Zambales-based figurative painter Elmer Borlongan, and controversial Chinese multimedia artist/political activist Ai Weiwei.

In City and Country: Elmer Borlongan 1992-2012, will showcase the artistic contributions of the man fondly called ‘Emong,’ whose lifework is composed mainly of powerful portrayals of the destitute and neglected in Philippine society.

Mobile Record Shop, 1999

Opening the day immediately after is Ai Weiwei: Baby Formula, an art installation of 1,815 milk cans in the shape of the Chinese map, originally exhibited in Hong Kong in response to the growing issue of children’s milk safety in China.

Ai Weiwei milk cans

Closeup of milk cans

Ai Wei Wei
Ai Wei Wei

Both Ai and Borlongan use art as a medium for social and political commentary.
Borlongan, who started painting during the Marcos era, was an active member of cause-oriented art collectives such as Artista ng Bayan (ABAY) and Salingpusa.
His paintings acknowledge the existence of various pedestrian characters in the Philippines, and recognize their loneliness, struggle, poverty, confusion, and resilience.
Effectively marrying style and satire in his art, Borlongan was awarded the Thirteen Artists Award by the CCP in 1994 for his contributions to Philippine modernism. He has also enjoyed travel grants to Japan, ASEAN, Australia, and other countries to exhibit his work there.

Elmer Borlongan

Ai created a buzz in international art news after boldly staging protests against the Chinese government and other cultural practices, mainly through art and communications via web and social networking sites.
The artist has produced installations, photographs, videos, performances, sculptures, and even Internet art that are always in response to pressing issues in Chinese society.
Through the help of artists and curators worldwide, the artist is able to exhibit internationally despite having his passport confiscated by the government and barring him from traveling abroad.

Ai Weiwei: Sunflower Seeds

In City and Country, Elmer Borlongan 1992-2012, opens to the public from February 18 to April 6, 2014.
Ai Weiwei: Baby Formula, is on view from February 19 to March 16, 2014.
Ayala Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 AM to 6 PM.
For more information call (632) 759-8288, or email

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