The Philippines Announces the Curators and Artists of the Philippine Pavilion at the 59th Venice Art Biennale

July 6, 2021

The Philippine Pavilion has selected the exhibition All of us present, This is our gathering/ Andi taku e sana, Amung taku di sana curated by Yael Buencamino Borromeo and Arvin Jason Flores to be the country’s official representation at the 59th edition of the prestigious Venice Art Biennale in 2022. It will feature artist Gerardo Tan in collaboration with the musicologist Felicidad Prudente and the accomplished weaver Sammy Buhle.

The Philippine Pavilion exhibition is set to open in April 2022. It is presented by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Office of Deputy Speaker and Congresswoman Loren Legarda.

All of us present, This is our gathering/ Andi taku e sana, Amung taku di sana involves an interdisciplinary approach to transmitting culture with sound and textile, weaving the customary and the contemporary across the archipelago. It presents a highly mediated process of generating sound, performance, image, and object.

Through the exploration of sound material and field recordings of indigenous weaving practices across the Philippines, the exhibit performs the translation of data around culture into visual discourse, collectively evoking Philippine traditions and ensuring their contemporary resonance through universal exchange.

As the exhibit invites interconnectivity and heterogeneity all throughout, two approaches converse: One component is Speaking in Tongue that includes a video installation featuring the transposition of a traditional chant into visual codes by way of painting. Another is titled Renderings, which presents the transmission of sound collected from traditional weaving processes and their materialization through video, sound transcription, and textile production.

The title All of us present, This is our gathering/Andi taku e sana, Amung taku di sana, is inspired by a sogna, which is sung extemporaneously to express the self to participants of a gathering and a dialogue. It forms part of important Madukayan occasions. The Madukayan people belong to the Kalinga ethnolinguistic community.

The curators state, “In a time of crisis such as we have today, it is worth noting and commemorating absence through continuity, as we make a gathering to show that nothing truly ends alone by itself but only through the process of change can something emerge.”

“The verse thus inspires us that through communication, we are able to continue. This is the function of art, to express our humanity through diversity,” conclude curators Borromeo and Flores.

Featured Artists

Gerardo Tan works across media from painting, collages, photography and artists books to video and found objects in room-sized installations.  His materials range from the traditional – oil, acrylic and digital prints on canvas to the everyday- dust, mirrors, clocks and vinyl records. Tan’s work deals with issues of representation and conceptual plays. He often appropriates reproduced images from the world of art and mass-media in order to subvert hierarchies and give way to new itinerant meanings. In 1982, Tan was part of the 2nd Asian Art Show at the Fukuoka Museum, Japan and in 1999, he was the representative of the Philippines to the first Melbourne International Biennale.  His work is represented in the collections of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Singapore Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, Central Bank of the Philippines, and the Ateneo Art gallery.  His distinctions include a Fulbright-Hays Grant at SUNY Buffalo, the Barbara Schuller’s Arts Associates Award in Buffalo, NY; 44th Western NY Exhibition; the Juror’s Choice Award from the Art Association of the Philippines; and a Cultural Center of the Philippines 13 Artists grant from the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He regularly exhibits in museums and galleries in Asia, the US, Europe and Australia. Tan lives and works in Manila, Philippines.

Felicidad A. Prudente is one of the leading Filipino ethnomusicologists in the country today.  Her field of expertise is in indigenous music cultures with specialization in Philippine music.  Having conducted field research around the Philippines over the years, Prudente has written and published articles on various aspects of Philippine music such as epic singing, vocal polyphony, and gong culture.  A piano and music education graduate from St. Paul College of Manila, Prudente pursued graduate studies in musicology with emphasis in ethnomusicology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she was Visiting Professor in 2004.  She served as music professor at the University of the Philippines and consultant at the Philippine Women’s University.  Currently she is an active member of the International Council for Traditional Music and its study group on the performing arts of Southeast Asia where she regularly presents her research.

Sammy Buhle belongs to the younger generation of weaving artisans of Ifugao Province.  He comes from a family of weavers who taught him the art of weaving at an early age.  Born in 1989 in Banaue, he acknowledges his maternal grandmother Kittayan Niploy, a respected and well-known weaver in her time, and his mother Angelina Niploy who continues to weave using a backstrap loom. His father Fernando Buhle specializes in dyeing and is a weaver as well. Buhle studied management accounting at St Mary’s University and accounting at Aldersgate College in Nueva Vizcaya but decided to pursue his passion for weaving. He now manages the family weaving house, which was established in Hingyon in 1982, and actively participates in textile fairs. 

Curators

Yael Buencamino Borromeo is Head of Programs and Audience Engagement at Lopez Museum and Library and was the Director of the recently concluded Manila Museums Summit 2021.  Her professional interests lie in interdisciplinary initiatives in cultural institutions and museum development.  She was the Executive Director of Areté, the creativity and innovation hub of the Ateneo de Manila University (2017-2019), and managing curator of the Ateneo Art Gallery (2007-2017). She contributed to the book Making Museums Work : A Zero In Handbook. She holds an MA in Southeast Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Arvin Jason Flores has an MFA graduate degree from The School of the Arts, Columbia University, New York NY, and a BFA from the College of Creative Studies, University of California at Santa Barbara. He is also co-Director of Artery Art Space, an artist-run gallery in Manila since 2014. A practicing artist, Flores has done independent curatorial work, and writes as an extension of his creative and critical practice.

The Selection Process

Since its participation in 2015, the Philippines has selected its exhibition at the Venice Biennale through a democratic process of selection which begins with an open call for curatorial proposals. For this edition, the open call was announced on January 30, 2021 with a deadline set on May 20, 2021.

The NCCA, through the Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale Coordinating Committee, received eleven curatorial proposals (11), which was deliberated upon by a panel of jurors on June 18, 2021 via Zoom.

The jurors are the following:

•           Curator and writer Yukie Kamiya, Director of Japan Society Gallery, New York.

•           Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

•           Ma. Elizabeth “Mariles” L. Gustilo, Senior Director of Arts and Culture at Ayala Foundation and Senior Director of the Ayala Museum.

•           Arsenio “Nick” J. Lizaso, Chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines; and the Commissioner of the Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

•           Loren Legarda, Advocate of the Philippine Pavilion project and Deputy Speaker and Congresswoman of Antique.

This is the Philippine’s fourth official participation at the Venice Art Biennale and the seventh consecutive participation of the country at the Venice Biennale for both its art and architecture expositions since 2015. Currently, the Philippine Pavilion is exhibiting Structures of Mutual Support curated by Framework Collaborative (GK Enchanted Farm community and Architects Sudarshan Khadka, Jr. and Alexander Eriksson Furunes) for the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. It has been cited as one of the noted National Pavilions in this year’s Biennale according to international architectural publications and art magazines.

The 59th Venice Art Biennale will be curated by Cecilia Alemani with the theme The Milk of Dreams. The line was taken from a children’s book by the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington, which includes a man with wings instead of ears and a two-faced character called Señor Mustache Mustache.

Learn more about the Philippine Participation at the Venice Biennale through the website https://philartsvenicebiennale.org/ and social media Facebook and Instagram @philartvenice.

For more information contact Jeanne Melissa R. Severo through (+632) 8543-8767 / 09274967752

July 6, 2021

“Sining Katipunan: The Arte Pintura Group Evolving with the Times” at the NCCA Gallery

The NCCA Gallery is proud to present SINING KATIPUNAN: The Arte Pintura Group Evolving with the Times.  Framed as an anticipated 25th anniversary celebration of the Arte Pintura Group, the exhibition features early works, as well as current works of Addie Cukingnan, Abelardo Pasigado, Antonio Yusi, Azor Pazcoguin, Flor Baradi, Margarita Lim, Rey Arelio, Reynaldo Ademis, Shirley Tan, Ronnie Lim, and Nena Frondoso which showcase their transition from Mabini Art to Contemporary Art as a response to various stimuli over the years.  Curated by Ricky Francisco, the painting exhibition is complemented by an archival exhibition which tracks the various landmarks and accomplishments of the group over the years.  As an archival exhibition, it focuses on the groups various strategies in achieving sustainability, group cohesion, and growth.

“Sining Katipunan: The Arte Pintura Group Evolving with the Times” by the Arte Pintura Group from is exhibited from July 05 – 31, 2021 at the NCCA Open Gallery.

For queries, you may contact NCCA Gallery at  gallery@ncca.gov.ph

July 6, 2021

On mental health and artists amid crisis: Borderline at the NCCA Gallery

The NCCA Gallery presents Borderline, an exhibit by Block Y of the University of the Philippines Diliman’s College of Fine Arts. The exhibit will open at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Gallery in Intramuros, Manila, on July 6, 2021.

 Formed in 2018, Block Y is a collective of young artists dedicated to exploring and pushing the boundaries of Philippine contemporary art. Through their works, they aim to generate discussion and awareness of various issues in Filipino culture, such as poverty, mental health, and political oppression— issues at the very heart of Borderline.

 Through surrealist explorations of the subconscious, the artists of Borderline engage with the topic of mental health as impacted by the volatile conditions of Philippine society today. The exhibit is comprised of wall-bound paintings, mixed media art, and sculptures that illustrate the emotional experience of living through modern crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread destitution, and sociopolitical turmoil.

 The participating artists are Paolo Gonzales, Georgina Pomarejos, Angelica Jacoba, Rexell Orencio, Asaliah Reiiel Reyes, Bianca Fabrigaras, Krister Isip, Ding Royales, Sophia Sotolombo, Cyrah Contreras, Yllang Montenegro, Alexis Matta, and Andree Tiongson.

“Borderline: Conscious and Sub-conscious” by the Block Y Group from University of the Philippines Diliman’s College of Fine Arts is exhibited from July 06 – 31, 2021 at the NCCA Glass Gallery. Written by Camille Aguilar Rosas

For queries, you may contact NCCA Gallery at  gallery@ncca.gov.ph