Books & Art

This 'Digital Palengke' Is Giving Young Filipinx Artists a Global Platform

What started as a community initiative took on a life of its own as Mercado Vicente has become a source of inspiration and pride in these troubling times.
ILLUSTRATOR Alagadngsining
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Part palengke, part exhibit, part ode to Filipino culture, Mercado Vicente is the creative index to go to for curated content featuring some of the best young and emerging Filipino artists in the world. The online index was created to showcase Filipino talent in an age when anti-Asian sentiments are rising due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what started as a community initiative took on a life of its own as Mercado Vicente has become a source of inspiration and pride in these troubling times.

“With the growing reports of anti-Asian racism in the United States and the concerning actions of the Philippine president to our citizens back home, we believe that this message of support, solidarity, and community has never been so important,” said the platform. “Hate has no place in the world especially in a crisis.”

With the caliber of Filipino creatives on full display, the “digital palengke” is an empowering international platform for the young and emerging artists of Filipino society. The pandemic has hit the art community hard with many creatives now trying to survive unemployed. To empower those who are struggling, Mercado Vicente has become a voice and a medium for its pool of multidisciplinary artists. The index features photographers, painters, graphic designers, fashion designers, and more, and the platform’s e-commerce features are on the way.

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MERCADOVICENTE.COM IS LIVE. Thank you to everyone that came through our Digital Launch Party! (So sorry that we maxed out the room and had all the technical difficulties ????) Thank you to the 38 artists that put their faith in me and the project. Thank you to my amazing team @steffi.ny @patriciarazon_ and @alelimayv for working on this with me and putting everything together in 16 days! Even before it’s launch, MV was featured on the @nytimes @wwd @garagemagazine @clavelmedia and @readunderdog There is nothing we cannot do if we put our minds to it and do it together. I’ll say this again: I want people to look at this index and see their future selves pioneering new ideas and forms of expression that will live beyond them. This is my most important project yet. It leans into everything I believe in while challenging the way that I think and act. It asks... how can I better? What can I do to grow? How can I make a difference? Help me, help you. In everything that I do, I always strive to make a difference in our country, our culture, and our future generations. This project is my love letter to the Philippines. #JANVINCENTGONZALES #MERCADOVICENTE #NYTIMES #WWD #GARAGEMAGAZINE #CLAVEL #UNDERDOG #FILIPINX

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A big THANK YOU / MARAMING SALAMAT to everyone that came through our Digital Release Party this past weekend. Surpassing our first release in April, we had over 130+ people from all across the globe call in to celebrate MERCADO VICENTE's VOLUME TWO. MERCADO VICENTE IS GLOBAL. ???? FILIPINX PEOPLE ARE GLOBAL. ???????? WE ARE ALL CONNECTED WITH EACH OTHER ???? AND WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER. Shout out to everyone from all these spots: New York City (Queens, Brooklyn, Astoria), Los Angeles, Manila, Pasig, Portland, Virginia, New Zealand, Atlanta, Toronto, Houston, Pennsylvania, Hudson, Seattle, Long Island, London, Louisiana, Torrance, Singapore, Antipolo, New Jersey, Laguna, Saudi Arabia, Marikina, Paranaque, Antipolo, Ottawa, Bulacan, Quezon City, Mandaluyong, Davao City, Baguio City, Tarlac, and more. If you haven't checked it out already, head to MERCADOVICENTE.com to see the newest additions to the index along with our latest series, TAWARAN. PLUS -- y'all asked for it and we've delivered. Check out @simon.te 's exclusive TUNES BY TE VOLUME TWO for MERCADO VICENTE on mercadovicente.com/ngayon. Finally, as a kind reminder, we built the index to help out our global creatives during this global crisis. If you are at a position to help, please donate to the index. All donations will be distributed to everyone involved in the index following the pandemic. #MERCADOVICENTE #VOLUMETWO #JANVINCENTGONZALES #FILIPINX #FILIPINO #FILIPINA #AAPI #APAHM #COVID19

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“Taking these elements of discovery, accessibility, and community, I wanted to create a platform similar to this market (palengke),” said Jan Vincent Gonzeles, the man behind Mercado Vicente. “I wanted to build a market in which our community can turn to. Instead of physical commerce, I wanted this for digital exchange. I wanted young and emerging talent from all over the world to see that there is a community behind out there to support them."

"If I could leave a legacy in the world, it would be to show young, queer, and brown Filipinx like me that it’s okay to be creative. It’s okay to draw. It’s okay to love fashion. It’s okay to build your life around art. There are people in the world just like you and they’ve found success in doing what they love to do.”

Mercado Vicente is an extension of Jan Vincent Gonzales, a global consultancy firm that caters to Filipinx brands and creatives. Main image courtesy of visual artist, illustrator, and designer Alagadngsining.

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Anri Ichimura
Staff Writer, Esquire Philippines
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