2019 promises to be vibrant! I look forward to the rest of this eventful year!
We are in the thick of preparations for the 2019 Venice Arts Biennale. We will install Island Weather for the Philippine Pavilion beginning April.
I was at The Japan Foundation Asia Center Tokyo recently; joining curators of the Singapore and Indonesia Pavilions at the Venice Arts Biennale for a forum on representation and related concerns regarding the biennale exhibition platform.
Taiwanese curator Fang-Tse Tzu and I recently opened the exhibition Gendered Bodies in Southeast Asia. This was a long time realising – from when we participated in an exchange program between museums in Manila and Taiwan, our individual exhibitions at the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts Taipei and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and our recent collaboration at latter.
This weekend February 23rd will be artist Eisa Jocson’s preview of work-in-progress The Filipino Superwoman Band, followed by a dialogue between her, myself, and Vietnamese artist Tzuan Wu. We hope you can join us!
I received my 15th year service pin ( it is a loyalty badge) from the University last July. I have always been proud to be part of a dynamic and quite diverse department. I look up to my senior colleagues for their steadfast commitment, and scholarship that spills over the confines of classroom walls. For them, scholarship is committed practice and practice is articulation of scholarship.
Let us continue to learn from them in a lecture series colleagues and I organised for 18 September 2018, Tuesday at the UP Vargas Museum
Islands are at the core of this exhibition project as it crafts and proposes new imaginaries of place-histories.
Islands connote origins and leave-takings. Islands are simultaneously finite and endless because bound by land and open to sea. They intimate grounding yet their very nature is movement: the shifting of earth, the crawl of clouds, the crash of waves, the very weather itself.
Islands are malleable and allow ‘grand designs’.These designs shape the investigations the exhibition will take, as it lays out a trail marked by imposing and beguiling structures and forms. Image, sound and movement will be explored in a site-specific and site responsive installation project, an immersive environment to simulate a voyage – an island hop. The trail will consist of tableaus: expansive sceneries that combine history, fantasy and myth; signposts to our histories, an archipelago strung along a fraught past and uncertain future, burdened by the legacies of colonial history and the weight of protracted modernity.
Island Weather also references a vernacular quip for the fleeting nature of power. It deepens artist Mark Justiniani’s investigation of vision and its role in the construction of truth. It is aimed at deepening our conversations on ways of seeing and means of perception, the nature of space and the constructs of time. In a piece where stillness and movement are combined and contrasted, where journeys are simulated, the history of a nation is refracted to conjure an image of radical hope.
The journey the art project will take will be on islands drifting on bodies of water, in a manner similar to the way art buoys the spirit, its capacity to keep us afloat. Imagination’s terrain cannot be fully charted as do the edges and limits of the human will.
Art after all, remains the last frontier of an agency rooted in imagination and mobilised through hope.
The skies were fickle – clearing one moment and pouring the next but our enthusiasm was steadfast. Encounters happened as planned last 13 June! It was choreographed by Ea Torrado and performed by Daloy Dance Company.
with co-curator Cecile De la Paz
Artist Agnes Arellano, dancer choreographer Ea Torrado
The rain rendered the performance vigour. Ea Torrado likened it to ‘dwelling the womb’ specifically when the dancers entered the grove, alternating between movement and stillness, flitting in and about the goddesses, rendering air and space legible with movement and voices.
They emerged from the Vargas Museum’s west porch in two files, chanting and marching. Their animal heads were curious, if not amusing counterpoints to their martial like movements. All was pulsing energy pronounced through strength of limbs that sliced rain and air, the rhythm of dancers’ voices lent spark to a fast encroaching night.
It is this straining against odds and the very elements that was the most remarkable character of the performance. We were drenched but oddly entranced by bodies weaving in and out of the grove, around the goddesses’ inert and viewers’ unsettled yet expectant bodies. This atmosphere of chance placed in relief the exactitude the piece demanded of dancers. The dimming skies and pouring rain echoed their feral cries and sober silence, their rolling and falling forms contrasted strongly with austere marches and lively gestures.
It was an evening of strong and memorable contrasts, the weather and the piece coming together fully, eliciting from us a similar straining – because how else can life be without constraints? It is only in the latter where we come together through the wholeness promised by the goddesses Pleiades, however fleetingly.
Encounters was a singular offering to this moment.
The LAWAS curatorial team has organised a series of events around the works Pleiades, Pagpamulak and Pusod.
The first collateral event happens on June 13, Wednesday 6PM at the Vargas Museum Grounds and CAL Lawn. Encounters is a piece by contemporary choreographer Ea Torrado.
It developed around Agnes Arellano’s suite of goddess sculptures Dakini, Innana, Kali and Magdalene. The goddesses appear descended in a grove at the Diliman campus, strong verdigris forms amidst lush green growth.
Encounters explores dualities of human existence and is rooted in Ea Torrado’s exploration of dance as emancipatory ritual. In it, dancers descend into the depths of being with the body as channel for the divine. The encounter is coming together of corporal flesh and greater divinity.
The dance performance is shaped by active energy and force, listening and rest, presence and song. The intervals are marked by dancers heeding the call of the goddesses and becoming like prophets conveying a holy secret. It reflects on human anxieties and the speed we careen towards greater progress or utter destruction.
Agnes Arellano’s goddesses remind us to be rooted – perhaps, that which we frantically seek is in all of us.
Choreographer Ea Torrado is the recipient of Alvin Erasga Tolentino Koryograpiya Award in 2014, Remedios De Oteyza Choreography Award in 2016 and Asian Cultural Council Grant in 2017. Her creations manifest in choreographies, film, installation, site-specific work, and improvisational performance. She is the Artistic Director of Daloy Dance Company.
Daloy Dance Company interweaves dance, theatre and improvisation to create daring and evocative contemporary dance. Since its establishment in 2014, Daloy has made waves in the Manila art scene with critically acclaimed and exceptionally varied body of work. With its strong collaborative thrust, the company has worked with notable visual artists in various museums and galleries in the Philippines, and has enjoyed diverse audiences and performed in a range of dance and art festivals locally and abroad in Japan, Thailand, Korea and USA.