Text by Amanda Juico Dela Cruz. Photos courtesy of the galleries/artists.
Coming home has never been this relevant in this generation’s lifetime. Having witnessed the dramatic change in lifestyle, couple this with all the other personal and political wars that demand to be fought simultaneously, restlessness and loss of direction are quite inevitable.
Artists render their own returning to their homes. Alvin Paraguison meditates on the commonalities. Jefkin Bienes confronts his subconscious yearnings. Juan Atienza, Patrick Bautista, Leonardo Comargo, Marx Cuizon, Paula Feliciano, MC Hope Loayon, Alynnah Macla, Dan Ivan Sepelagio, Trexia Sola, Gab Sol Cruz, and Taj Hassan Tadeo in their group exhibition, and Felix Mago Miguel in his solo unearth what have been buried in our history. James Gallardo, Jao Eugene Pelaez, and Carlos Daniel “Sais” Bermas search for the self in others. Pope Bacay and Nicole Tee navigate the spaces of home/work.
Breathe, Alvin Paraguison (Art Verité)
Anatomy. Geometry. Flora. Breathe, mounted at Art Verité, is Alvin Paraguison’s attempt to parallel the human body with triadic forms and nature’s vitality. The intricacies of the muse’s body as she breathes through the yoga poses suggests a meditation on one’s own carnality, while the plants thriving from either its own soil or the muse’s flesh are an acknowledgment of one’s oneness with everything else, given that the latter heavily depends on the former for life. Breathing is the spine of Paraguison’s works as he evokes a sense of relatedness from the audience, hoping to convey peace and centeredness.
Realm of the Favored, Jefkin Bienes (Art Underground)
Jefkin Bienes, in his Realm of the Favored displayed at Art Underground, gives a glimpse of his repressed longings: the unyielding, the still, the valorous, and the sublime. Familiar elements—warriors, castles, dice, trees, clouds, animals—in their truest forms are brought together into an unfamiliar world, one that defies the gravity of the rational mind. Truth in juxtaposition with luck and chance are visually rendered on his works that tell a story of one’s quest for the crown, an innate thirst of a human person. In the end, this truth sides only with the last man standing, the favored one.
Incognito, Juan Atienza, Patrick Bautista, Leonardo Comargo, Marx Cuizon, Paula Feliciano, MC Hope Loayon, Alynnah Macla, Dan Ivan Sepelagio, Trexia Sola, Gab Sol Cruz, and Taj Hassan Tadeo (Art Portal Gallery for Contemporary Art)
To go incognito is to conceal one’s true identity. But Juan Atienza, Patrick Bautista, Leonardo Comargo, Marx Cuizon, Paula Feliciano, MC Hope Loayon, Alynnah Macla, Dan Ivan Sepelagio, Trexia Sola, Gab Sol Cruz, and Taj Hassan Tadeo owned the word to reveal what have been in Incognito, on display at Art Portal Gallery for Contemporary Art. These are the issues in Mindanao that are beyond the cultural representations and indigenous subjects, the forgotten under the stacks of history. Coming from insights of the artists, what they unveiled became a more powerful tool to tell stories that need to be heard.
Album: Filipinas, Felix Mago Miguel (Altro Mondo Arte Contemporanea)
Birds and freedom. Cage and oppression. Lamp and knowledge. Fire and passion. Pearl and the Pearl of the Orient Seas. Felix Mago Miguel paints portraits of the motherland in the different points of her story. Her portraits, from the time when her people were called Indios until they fought in a peaceful people power revolution, are the narratives that the artist safely kept in Album: Filipinas, displayed at Altro Mondo Contemporanea. These are the narratives of the nation as much as an individual’s story that have been shelved and forgotten, got lost in translation, and unearthed for her future people.
home is not an address you memorize, Pope Bacay and Nicole Tee (MO_.)
What used to be a place for slumber is now the ground during waking hours. The outside and the inside used to be two separate spaces that could be freely navigated until the need to pull inwards what was on the outside. There is a blurring of the line of what a home is in Pope Bacay and Nicole Tee’s home is not an address you memorize at MO_. It could also be seen as the reconciliation of the dichotomous thinking about the spaces of home and of work, something that is not foreign anymore for the two young artists.
Tayo, James Gallardo, Jao Eugene Pelaez, and Carlos Daniel “Sais” Bermas (White Wall Gallery)
The computer, a stark contrast against the pieces of cloth that have not been removed from the hanger. James Gallardo erases the line between home and school, a reality today. Jao Eugene Pelaez draws from the narratives of one’s self to make statements that have a collective resonance. They can be read in different ways—romantic, political, and existential. Sais goes back to birth. From there, he asks self-reflective questions that are so simple, but are difficult to confront. At White Wall Gallery, the exhibition shows how the self can never be taken away from the Tayo.