Auctions are exciting. From the time you get hold of the catalog up to that moment you walk into the auction hall, one can never really tell who will go home with what. The bidding wars, similarly, are an experience in itself. Myself an eager observer in these events, I’ve witnessed one phone call outdo a top bid with ease. And when that gavel is finally struck, you can’t help but feel happy for the winning bidder—no matter who he or she may be.
Two days after the lockdown in Manila was announced, Salcedo Auctions’ “Important Philippine Art” auction took place. Adjustments had to be made immediately, with announcements that encouraged art enthusiasts and auction regulars to bid online or leave an absentee bid. Director of pioneering auctions house, Salcedo Auctions, Richie Lerma, begins, “I think businesses dealing in fine art are coping with the pandemic crisis the way that they would any creative challenge—pivoting in response to the so-called New Normal with new ideas to present their pieces to their audiences.” On March 14, the Philippine art institution did just that, and brought the country’s most-sought after masterpieces to the auction floor. Among the key sales made that day were Ang Kiukok’s ‘Man’ painting (sold for around $255,000) and a limited edition Patek Philippe timepiece (sold for around $185,000).
The successful turnout is indication that art and the auction scene continue to inspire even in unprecedented times. It also supports the idea that fashion and art can come together to effect positive results .“We have been running charity auctions since we began 10 years ago. I have always believed in auctions as a great venue for fund-raising,” explains Richie. And now more than ever, funds are needed to bring food to those whose livelihoods were affected by the lockdowns. Consultant for Rise Against Hunger, Devi de Veyra explains, “With more people now out of work, especially those who are daily wagers, there is an urgent need for us to extend our support in any way we can. We have many groups helping our brave front liners but what about those who have absolutely nothing to eat? Rise Against Hunger is an NGO feeding other victims of the COVID-19 crisis—our marginalized. These are individuals severely affected by the lockdown. As a result of the current situation, food supply of Rise Against Hunger has hit critical levels. Hence, the urgency.”
As a response, Richie and his team at Salcedo Auctions decided to mount a benefit auction under its subsidiary house, Gavel & Block. He explains, “Gavel & Block is more mainstream and accessible bringing auctions focusing on art and design to contemporary audiences.” For the those working behind this initiative, it was the fitting time for all members of the local creative community to come together for a cause. Richie adds, “Fashion, is, of course, at the forefront of how many people experience art.”
Luis Espiritu, a fashion luminary in the Philippines, who has played an essential role in getting some of the country’s design greats together for this benefit shares: “The fashion industry in the Philippines is a force to reckon with. In these trying times, the collective of Filipino international, local designers and brands have come together for an auction to help rise against hunger. Driven with selflessness, compassion and love for others, I am humbled by these individuals with hearts full of love and eager to serve the Filipino.”
Happening on May 23 at 2PM GMT, Gavel and Block will open an online benefit auction, We Bid As One, in support of Rise Against Hunger Philippines. Richie expounds, “The problem of hunger is becoming more acute given the pandemic, with so many people out of work. Art is a luxury to so many people, so we wanted to underscore its abiding importance in society—uplifting our spirits while helping those who need it most.” Included in this year’s benefit are special creations by Philippine fashion greats like Michael Cinco, Lesley Mobo, Jojie Lloren, Dennis Lustico, Joey Samson, Ignacio Loyola, Puey Quinones, just to name a few. Over 500 of entries will be featured in this benefit auction. “We believe in supporting others and engaging with different artistic communities. We are delighted that leading lights in contemporary Philippine fashion are joining us as we bed as one community to alleviate hunger,” declares Richie.
Here’s a look at some of the fashion, fine jewelry and art treasures that you can find at Gavel & Block’s We Bid As One Benefit Auction to support Rise Against Hunger.
FASHION APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES
FINE JEWELRY PIECES
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ALSO LOVE ART, HERE’S ARE GEMS TO CONSIDER