Amplifying a renewed interest in Malate, the district once favored by socialites and bohemians alike, a newly opened museum and gallery from Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo—the creative duo behind Silverlens—is set to attract even more arts and culture enthusiasts to the area.
Described by Lorenzo as “a very modest arts house,” Calle Wright is technically not just a gallery, in that its primary purpose is not to sell the works on display. Rather, the art at Calle Wright is meant to be seen and experienced. And with its exhibitions’ three-month-long runs, viewers are given more than ample time to see a show—and return many more times, if they wish to. The space, a project that took Lorenzo and Rillo two years to fully realize, is designed to serve as a venue for contemporary artists to exhibit their work within the historical and cultural context provided by Calle Wright’s unique and storied location.
“We wanted to put up something in the old part of town, [specifically in] Manila,” Lorenzo says. “I grew up here, and Rachel grew up in Pasay, so we’re trying to revive some [art experiences] in this part [of Metro Manila].”
Originally built in 1956, the two-story house has been restored to its former glory by architect Ae Geli Pastrana. “She decided to keep a lot of the same details from that year, such as the grills and the flooring,” says Arianna Mercado, curator of the house and Calle Wright’s project manager.
Opening Calle Wright is “Never is a Promise,” a two-man show by Malaysian artist Heman Chong and Filipino artist Gary-Ross Pastrana. Depicting a dialogue between the two artists, both have elected to mount past works that have been “neglected, discarded, unexhibited, or completely forgotten,” alongside one work from each of them that has been shown time and again. Chong is the founder of “The Library of Unread Books,” which has been shown at the NTU Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila, and Casco Projects in Utrecht; Pastrana is a mentor, curator, and artist, and a recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 13 Artists Award. Chong and Pastrana will be selecting the next artist/s to present at Calle Wright when their exhibition comes to its conclusion in May.
Calle Wright is located at 1890 Vasquez Street, Malate, Manila. Regular hours are from 12 nn to 7 p.m., Friday to Sunday. “Never is a Promise,” an exhibit by Heman Chong and Gary-Ross Pastrana, runs from February 27 through May 26 at Calle Wright.