The British Council and National Museum of the Philippines come together to present the virtual exhibition ‘Together Apart — Art world voices that connect us now’, launching this 19 August through the British Council in the Philippines’ website.
The exhibition highlights thoughts of art leaders in the Philippines, UK and other parts of the world during a global crisis. Responding through artworks from the British Council Collection, their reactions are deeply personal and serve as a reminder of the transformative power of art.
Boots Herrera, Chief Curator of the Ateneo Art Gallery and Rafael Schacter, Anthropology Lecturer at the University College London are just some of the participating leaders. ‘We want to bring the experience to the Filipino audience during this time of closed art galleries, physical distancing and digital interaction,’ said Pilar Aramayo-Prudencio, Country Director of the British Council in the Philippines. ‘As a cultural relations organisation, we have always believed that culture connects us. As the world moves to a more virtual space, these digital innovations enable us to connect despite current restrictions.’
Co curated by the National Museum of the Philippines, the presentation allows a global audience to discover select pieces from the National Fine Arts Collection. The artworks bridge circumstances from the time they were created to today’s context. They evoke familiar feelings and perspectives presented through the exhibition themes, from anxiety to the need for solidarity.
Notable artworks include those by Lucian Freud, well known British portraitist, and pioneering female abstract artist Nena Saguil from the Philippines, just to name a few. ‘As the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic progresses, we learn that museums, through its collections, have important roles to remind us that, especially during hard times, we can always turn to art for social and personal redress,’ shares Dr Ana Labrador, Deputy Director General for Museums, National Museum of the Philippines.
‘Together Apart — Art world voices that connect us now’ started as an online campaign through Platform, a new avenue for cultural engagement, which ran earlier this year. Since 1938, the British Council has been collecting works of art, craft and design to promote the achievements of the very best British artists, craft practitioners and designers. This global resource features over 8,500 works and has been referred to as a ‘Museum Without Walls’.
Meanwhile, housed at the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Fine Arts Collection is protected and promoted by the National Museum of the Philippines. It represents Philippine art from the 18th century to today. The works are accessible to the public through programmes that showcase achievements and aspirations of the country’s artistic heritage.