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Pioneering Contemporary Filipino Artists in Hong Kong: A Legacy of Creativity and Cultural Exchange

Pioneering Contemporary Filipino Artists in Hong Kong A Legacy of Creativity and Cultural Exchange

It’s been nearly two decades since a trailblazing group of Filipino artists, based in Hong Kong, made their mark on the city’s vibrant art scene. This pioneering group of artists, comprising the likes of Bobit Segismundo, Tito Cascante, Joel Ferraris, Noel De Guzman, Arnel Agawin, and Corazon Amaya Canete, opened doors for a generation of Filipino expatriates to participate and contribute to the dynamic art scene. Their relentless showings in prestigious venues, both solo and group exhibitions, marked the golden age of Pinoy art in Hong Kong.

During this period, Filipino artists began to make a significant impact not only on the art scene but also on the cultural landscape of Hong Kong, fostering a rich tapestry of cultural diversity and harmony.

As we anticipate the upcoming exhibition “Visual Narratives From Overseas Filipino Artists” at the Hong Kong Visual Art Centre on June 5, it is a timely opportunity to feature some of the original artists from that era, showcasing their works in a significant section of the exhibition. This nostalgic nod to the past will undoubtedly spark a sense of nostalgia and pride among art enthusiasts, while also introducing a new generation to the pioneering spirit of these Filipino artists in Hong Kong.

The Evolution of an Artist: Jun Cambel’s Creative Odyssey

Jun Cambel, a contemporary artist who hails from the bustling city of Manila, wields art as a powerful medium to elevate environmental consciousness. With a distinctive approach, he often layers industrial materials, creating pronounced textures that infuse his canvases with a palpable depth. His fusion of found objects and realistic rendering adds an extra dimension, transforming everyday items into evocative symbols of our time.

As global climate change intensifies, Cambel feels a profound responsibility to address environmental protection through his art. He reimagines ordinary objects—a leaf, a crumpled newspaper, an overflowing ashtray—lifting the veil of familiarity to reveal their deeper significance. While his works prompt reflection on the past and present, they also offer glimpses into potential futures. Despite the serious themes, Cambel maintains that his primary motivation is the sheer joy of creation.

Changing Tides by Jun Cambel
Changing Tides by Jun Cambel

His artistic journey began early, winning numerous drawing contests in primary school and flourishing in high school. He pursued fine arts at FEATI University, majoring in advertising while working at his brother’s graphic studio to support his studies. There, he honed his skills under the tutelage of Ibarra dela Rosa, a renowned Filipino painter.

Transitioning from a successful career in graphic design, formerly art director of Hong Kong Tatler and Production Design Editor in South China Morning Post, and now Design Manager of G.O.D., Cambel’s foray into fine art gained momentum with his participation in the “Contemporary Filipino Artist Exhibition” at Hong Kong’s City Hall in 2005. Encouraged by the positive reception, he launched his first solo exhibition, “1st Expression,” at Asia Fineart Gallery in November 2005, marking the beginning of his vibrant journey in the art world.

Capturing Diaspora: Corazon’s Lens on Ethnic Minorities and Overseas Filipino Workers in Hong Kong

Corazon, a veteran broadcast journalist for GMA7 TV Network and co-publisher of an online news platform for overseas Filipinos, has made a significant mark in the field of social documentary with her extensive reportage video and photography works on migrants and ethnic minority communities in Hong Kong that started in early 2000s through her pioneering works commissioned by esteemed institutions such as the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB), the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB), and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD). These projects have resulted in a series of photos spanning nearly a decade, capturing the lives of Filipino professionals in Hong Kong, the profound impact of Filipino domestic workers on the city, and the diverse cultural customs of Hong Kong’s ethnic minority populations.

Inside the Sikh Temple 2K
Inside the Sikh Temple, Corazon Amaya Canete

Corazon’s photographs have been exhibited at prestigious venues, including solo and group exhibitions in Hong Kong. Her works have also graced major art venues in Europe and China, notably at the Guangzhou Art Triennial.

In addition to her seminal documentary work, Corazon is also an award-winning poet whose poems have been showcased at the US Library of Congress, alongside other expatriate Filipino women writers. Her literary accomplishments are evident in her twice winning the coveted Amado V. Hernandes National Literature Award for her collections of poetry. An anthology of her poems, titled “Kalayaan Ng Migrante,” has been published and is available in libraries across the United States and online bookshops in Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, and Switzerland. She has also authored a children’s book titled “Maraming Nanay sa Hong Kong”. Both books are also available in printed format in Hong Kong.

The Diverse Artistry of Martin Megino

Martin Megino embarked on his artistic career in 1987 as a cartoonist for the Journal Group of Publications in the Philippines. His prowess in informational graphics and editorial illustrations soon led him to roles at the Philippines Free Press Magazine and the Manila Times. In 1995, he transitioned to an international stage, joining the Hong Kong Standard as a Senior Graphics Designer, later advancing to Assistant Art Director.

In 2023, Martin’s artistic versatility culminated in a commissioned mural for an international Christian school in Hong Kong. Identifying as a multimedia artist, his passions extend to photography, videography, and painting.

Acrylic, Martin Megino artwork
Acrylic, Martin Megino artwork

Martin Megino believes his talent is a divine gift, enabling him to perceive and interpret the world uniquely. With over 25 years of experience, primarily in visual journalism, he has had the privilege of sharing his work on a global scale. His artistic endeavors encompass informational graphics, editorial illustration, cartooning, magazine and newspaper design, cover illustrations, paintings, and murals. This diverse portfolio has equipped him with a multi-dimensional understanding of art. In his free time, Martin mentors young children, sharing the beauty of art and inspiring them to unleash their inner creativity.

From Editorial to Enamel Paint: The Creative Path of Manuel Rubio

Hailing from Bulacan Province on Luzon Island in the Philippines, Manuel “Manny” Rubio discovered his passion for graphics under the mentorship of his uncle, the esteemed painter Mauro “Malang” Santos. While pursuing a Fine Arts degree at the University of the East, Manny honed his skills in Malang’s studio for two formative years. His career began in a commercial design studio in Manila, but soon took a pivotal turn when he relocated to Hong Kong. There, he transitioned into the realm of journalism, assuming the role of Art Director at Asian Finance, a publication centered on business and finance.

Enamel artwork, Manuel Rubio
Enamel artwork, Manuel Rubio

Manny’s professional journey began as a graphic designer, but it took time for him to find his true calling in art. Aspiring artists often grapple with how and where to express their unique style and creative impulse, including the choice of materials and techniques. To distinguish himself, Manuel experimented extensively with various mediums. It wasn’t until 1995 that he discovered enamel paint, a medium typically used for painting houses and cars, which allowed him to create striking works of art by carefully pouring paint onto the canvas to achieve a dramatic blend of colors.

In his own words:

“An artist’s goal is to bring people closer to an experience or thought through their work. Art is inherently about sharing. You wouldn’t be an artist if you didn’t have the desire to share your experiences or ideas.”

By the way, the “Visual Narratives From Overseas Filipino Artists” exhibition is being organized by Galleria Camaya in cooperation with the Philippine Association in Hong Kong (PAHK). Part of the proceeds of the sale will be donated to a migrant worker shelter home in Hong Kong.

Additional Information:

Visual Narratives From Overseas Filipino Artists

Exhibition will be on view until
1 pm on 10 June 2024

Opening Cocktails, 5 June 2024 6pm
at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre
5th Floor, Exhibition Hall
7A Kennedy Road, Midlevels, Hong Kong


Rodolfo Canete Jr., a seasoned freelance journalist and media producer based in Hong Kong, is a self-taught multidisciplinary artist with a diverse creative portfolio. Over the past year, his work has garnered accolades in international art competitions across Asia, Europe, and the United States. Currently, he is the artist-in-residence at ANASAEA Artverse in Berlin and Vienna. His unique style of panoramic street photography and award-winning digital collage are featured in the “Visual Narratives From Overseas Filipino Artists” exhibition at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre.