14 January 2016 – 2|This is What the Underground Art Scene Looks Like! (Kalye Art Gallery)

After saying goodbye to our good old friend 98B, where shall we head to next?
Mark says “The next destination is an underground space” with a sly smile on his face.
It is difficult even for Gerome, my reliable guide in Manila to find the place, we are near our destination for sure but there is no sign of it, perhaps it really is an underground space? Well Gerome?

After asking a tricycle driver for directions we are greeted with a quick response. And after a 10 minute ride, we arrive at Kalye Art Gallery.

With the words “HEAVEN SPOT”, painted on the entrance door, the place looks more like a garage.

Elmer Acebedo, the founder of the Kalye Art Gallery welcomes me.
He says grinning, “I can’t speak English very well”.
And during our conversation about half of what he says is in his native Tagalog.

He speaks saying anō anō (“umm umm” in Tagalog) many times, but I can understand what he means, and I have a good connection with the guy.

With the help of Gerome’s translation, we talked about the history of Kalye Art Gallery from its beginnings at Elmer’s studio in 2006. Since 2009, the space has been open to artists from a wide variety of genres.
The space focuses more on the art of the streets than fine art. Enthusiastic young artists, even those who haven’t had a formal art education, can use the space at no cost. The walls are damaged but it has a great retro character.
With a focus on graffiti art and hosting hardcore punk rock live concerts, the space is also frequented by activist types. I understand now why Mark said it was underground, this really is the center of the graffiti art and garage punk scene of the Philippines.

Elmer stands by the entrance door where many flyers are posted.

Elmer kindly explains to me many things about Kalye Art Gallery. Apparently he has several part time jobs to keep the space running. I can really relate to him so much. I am sure that so many great and crazy forms of expression are born out of this garage.
Kalye Art Gallery really could be called the big brother of the underground art scene in the Philippines.
Lastly, Elmer gives me a tote bag from the last project.

If you want to find out about the underground art scene in Manila, Please hurry to Kalye Art Gallery.
Kalye Art Gallery

Thank you Elmer, my big brother, for lending me your power (perhaps he is younger than me though)

  • Kalye Art Gallery

    1220 Estrada St. Singalong Manila
    Established Year: 2006
    Facility and Activity: Gallery, Shop, Workshop, Talk, Performance, Music Event, etc.