Philippine history in augmented reality


Gateway Gallery celebrated the second year of its “Sining Saysay: Philippine History in Art” exhibit by launching a digital interface that utilizes augmented reality (AR) to recount Philippine history and make it more interesting to an increasingly digital-savvy generation.

On February 22, the Gallery launched “Sining Lakbay: Philippine History in Augmented Reality,” a project that marries art and technology to give visitors a more enhanced experience of its long-term collection.

Sining Saysay attendeesThe event was attended by guests of honor like:

  • Mrs. Judy Araneta Roxas, president of the J. Amado Araneta Foundation president and vice chairman of the Araneta Center, Inc.
  • Manolo Roxas, grandson of Philippine president Manuel L. Roxas
  • Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc chairperson Stella Marquez-Araneta
  • esteemed painter Betsy Westendorp
  • Divina Gracia Pascua, OIC of the Culture and Tourism Affairs Office
  • Dinky Soliman, former DSWD secretary
  • as well as Binibini queens Nicole Codroves, Jennifer Hammond, and Nichole Manalo
  • and 2016 Miss International Kylie Verzosa.

Viewing a painting with ARDuring the event, guests were able to test the AR feature and were encouraged to go around the Gallery to experience it first-hand. Ten DOT-accredited history teachers from various Quezon City schools served as Gallery Guides.

Art and AR

Sining LakbayThe “Sining Lakbay” project is a product of careful and creative implementation spearheaded by artists, filmmakers, historians, curators, editors, and technology providers.

It aims to be a platform for gallery guests to have a more enriched experience of “Sining Saysay”, a collection of 30 large history paintings that resulted from the collaboration between the University of the Philippines and the Araneta Center.

“Sining Lakbay” also aims to create awareness of history among the youth by appealing to their interest in digital technology.

Watching Philippine History unfold on their devices

Watching Philippine History unfold on their devices

Layar logoTo Gallery visitors a more immersive experience, 10 paintings from the collection will “come to life” on their WIFI-enabled digital devices like mobile phones and tablets using the Layar app that can be downloaded for free (on iOS and Android).

Users will then be able to scan the selected paintings on their device to watch the video and hear the narration on chapters of Philippine history.

The videos are accurate historical accounts of events depicted in the paintings. Each video lasts roughly three minutes, with the whole tour lasting about 30 minutes total.

This launch is just the first phase of an even bigger project of making all 30 paintings in the collection AR-enabled.

Gateway Gallery: Here and now

Gateway Gallery opened on November 21, 2014. Its long-term exhibit, “Sining Saysay: Philippine History in Art,” opened to the public on Feb. 18, 2015.

The Sining Saysay artists are:

  • Grace Alfonso
  • Don Artificio
  • Bim Bacaltos
  • Adi Baen-Santos
  • Grandier Bella
  • Angel Cacnio
  • Romy Carlos
  • Cris Cruz
  • Dennis Dasco
  • brothers Simkin and Vincent de Pio with their father Gig de Pio
  • Neil Doloricon
  • Norman Dreo
  • Ding Hidalgo
  • the late Abdulmari Asia Imao, National Artist for Visual Arts
  • Ben Infante
  • Junyee
  • Aileen Lanuza
  • Romy Mananquil
  • Norly Meimban
  • Jonal Salvosa
  • Julius Samson
  • Randy Solon
  • Michael Velasco
  • and Janice Young

In over two years of operations, the Gallery has grown its art collection to 50 artworks donated by various artists. Attendance has also risen to an average of 200 visitors a day in the same period.

Last year, it received an accreditation from the Department of Tourism.

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The Gallery will continue to expand its horizons this year, providing artists a home to hone and showcase their craft, and giving the Filipino public a haven of learning and creativity. Projects lined up for this year include:

  • the Reading Nook, a mini library for all ages, highlighted by story-telling sessions for kids in partnership with Adarna Publishing;
  • and Bravo Weekend, which showcases Filipino culture through music and dance.

With its vision to make arts and culture accessible to ordinary Filipinos, Gateway Gallery will continue programs that introduce arts to young children, holding art workshops for hobbyists, portrait sketching sessions for professional artists, and hosting talks by artists and historians.

Located at the 5th level of the Gateway Tower at the Araneta Center, Gateway Gallery is free to the public and is open Mondays to Sundays from 10am to 7pm. It is supported and managed by the J. Amado Araneta Foundation, the CSR arm of the Araneta Group.