Located in Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines, Qube Gallery is a contemporary art space created in 2013 to cater to the largest creative community outside of Metro Manila. By providing agency through education, platform, and wider connectivity to both established and new artists from the Southern Philippines, Qube Gallery posits a frontier—albeit not new but still largely uncharted—by deconstructing the local/global dichotomy through emphasis on representation of the multi-cultural and minority whose identities and identifications define an archipelagic nation.
The context of the contemporary arts which Qube Gallery caters to arose from the specific history of the city, wherein decades of art practice—from religious 19th century Spanish colonial art down to modern art—experienced an abrupt unfurling through the introduction of the Fine Arts Program of the University of the Philippines Cebu in 1975, the first formal fine arts school outside the capital and soon after the fine arts of the University of San Carlos. Succeeding cultural infrastructures were put in place over the years, such as prestige student art- activities (U.P. Annual Joya Art Competition and Mindworks performance art festival), arts-based communities, alternative spaces, and artist’s groups and associations. The local visual art scene, then mostly supported by conservative collector patronage, imploded with a new generation of artists both self-taught and schooled by the academy. But while active cultural production enabled these artists with theoretical and practical skills, material conditions could not accommodate the influx of talents through the years looking for wage-earning opportunities. The surplus of this specific labor power and its search for realization through recognition/profit/survival is an ongoing narrative against which the gallery chooses its artists to represent and promote to the local and global art community.