Curated by Sam Domingo, Delineating Her Dossier: On Nena Saguil and Her Fragments in Paris is part of UP Vargas Museum’s Proto/Para: Rethinking Curatorial Work project.
Nena Saguil, a U.P. Fine Arts educated visual artist enjoyed a successful career in the Philippines. In 1954, she received a scholarship that allowed her to study in Spain. She moved to France the following year when she was awarded another scholarship by the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris.
Delineating Her Dossier: On Nena Saguil and Her Fragments in Paris follows the adventures of a middle-aged Nena Saguil from (1955 to 1976) as she works her way into the Parisian art scene.
“Despite a life spent in relative solitariness, Saguil had surprisingly woven an occluded art history in her fleeting presence that has always left a mystery in the Philippine art scene. The project urges visitors to navigate Saguil’s timeline, actively participate in it, and contribute in constructing her profile.” says exhibit curator Sam Domingo.
The physical offering for this project is placed in unconventional spaces within UP Vargas Museum. “The main point of my project is that it is parasitic. It must stay hidden from the viewers, and they have to be sensitive and alert to find the stickers lying around UP Vargas”, explains Domingo.
The project’s online version is on view via Instagram. The curator made multiple accounts that serve as gateways to Nena Saguil’s records in art history. Viewers are asked to navigate and form the chronology of the reclusive artist’s endeavors in Paris, France.
Constructed as a first-person narrative, the viewers follow Saguil’s invitations to unveil excerpts of her Parisian life in each account hidden in photo carousels until the viewer finally finds Nena at the end of the “maze”.
The artist’s Paris escapades may have had a profound impact on Saguil for she stayed in the City of Light for the rest of her life. “Hopefully, apart from uncovering Nena Saguil’s complexities, this innovative and private contact with Nena Saguil prompts an honest reflection of oneself.” states Domingo.
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The visual interpretation of the curatorial project features the digital works of Kathleen Noelle Asis, a designer and illustrator from Laguna, who took on the challenge to interpret the transience of Nena Saguil’s position.
Delineating Her Dossier: On Nena Saguil and Her Fragments in Paris is still up at UP Vargas Museum. Although the museum is currently closed due to ECQ, the online experience can be found on IG @whereisnenain1955.