Josie Natori

JOSIE ALL-IN FOR ART: For 24 hours later this month, Urban Zen will showcase 30 contemporary artists from the Philippines.

The Pintô Manhattan Manila exhibition will benefit the Asian Cultural Council and the Pintô Art Museum. As a 22-year ACC board member, Josie Natori initiated the ACC Philippines 17 years ago, and she will cochair the May 22 downtown event with Susan and David Rockefeller.

The exhibition is being curated by Federico de Vera in conjunction with Pintô’s founder Dr. Joven Cuanang, art historian Patrick Flores and Dr. Luca Parolari. Pintô International’s mission is to present Philippine contemporary art beyond Asia in the same vein as the Pintô Art Museum, both via its online gallery and upcoming exhibitions in Milan, Paris and Tokyo. For the New York installment, Cuanang has drawn from the artists he has been supporting and cultivating for more than 20 years. The artists represented by Pintô cover the wide range of aesthetics unique to the Philippines. Their styles include Surrealism, Expressionism, Minimalism, Social Realism and Conceptual Art.

“The whole intent is to expose and hopefully to sell and attract people to contemporary Philippine art. The art world in the Philippines has really been exploding in the last 10 years. This is really just to expose people to it that haven’t been there,” Natori said, adding that some of the featured artists would have been grant recipients in the past. In its effort to advance international respect and understanding between people and cultures, the ACC awards fellowship grants to artists and scholars in three sectors — Asia to the U.S., the U.S. to Asia and inter-Asia.

This week will be a memorable one for Natori beyond the fact that her birthday was Tuesday. She will be part of a panel discussion Saturday at the Global Summit of Women in Tokyo where 1,400 women from more than 60 countries are expected. “This is really a powerful group that gathers each year. It links women in business but you also have presidents, ministers and women leaders from around the world,” she said.

She will talk shop with MCM Holdings’ chairwoman Sung Joo Kim, Hiroko Koshino and the Eve Group’s founder Xia Hua. Natori will be off to Osaka Monday for an in-store press event. In honor of her company’s 40th anniversary, the designer will be flying to Manila for a May 26 event. “So we will keep celebrating the anniversary, right, until it’s over?” she said.