BEIJING — The contemporary photography and video art works of four Filipino artists are now on display in the Philippines Art Exhibition curated by Henry Woo at the Columbia Global Centers at Core Plaza in Haidian, Beijing.
Titled “In Between Spaces,” the exhibition aims to use video art and photography as lens to view the Philippine contemporary art landscape through Dexter Fernandez, Paulo Vinluan, Jay Yao and MM Yu.
“The exhibition brings together artistic visions and investigations from four contemporary Filipino artists whose works explore themes of traditions and modernity as well as collective and personal memory and the consciousness found in urban spaces,” Woo said during Saturday’s opening of the exhibition.
Fernandez, a resident of Caloocan and currently artist-in-residence of Art Center Ongoing in Tokyo, Japan, pays homage to Filipinos’ resilience and persistence in thriving under any conditions through his iconic image ‘Garapata,’ a tick turned into a caricature.
In his video installation Garanimation: Hobo in Wanderland, the 27-year-old Fernandez has made the six-legged creature set in motion meandering through varying backgrounds.
“The installation’s participative nature extended Fernandez’ artistic vision into a collective experience. It links us back to one’s personal experience of journey, where each share idea, moment, and creativity allows us to find new paths that forges our way into self-realization and actualization,” Woo said.
Fernandez’ art works ranging from murals, paintings, drawings, zine, mixed media and animations have been part of numerous local and international exhibitions.
On the other hand, Vinluan’s fascination with traditional hand-made animation and modular geometric images allows him to disentangle memories of personal and public spaces.
Vinluan described his particular process of animation as making a “thousand-page flipbook”, a tool that serves as an image-delivery system.
The guests also enjoyed Yao’s photography collections that raise a poignant reflection on cultural boundlessness and the interconnectivity of each individual “regardless of race and background.”
Yao’s Homecoming features 14 large-scale photographs taken on location in Cavite and Kalibo, Aklan and a collaborative project that shares the significance of “home” for well-known Filipino fashion designers.
Yu, meanwhile, is known for her photos highlighting the “beauty and chaos” of the streets of Metro Manila.
“Her works allows the viewer to ruminate the urban landscapes while providing a vantage point for introspection,” Woo said.
Yu’s works also showcase a dialogue reciprocated by images of cityscapes within a country transitioning towards modernity, according to Woo.
The 39-year-old Yu was a finalist for the Sovereign Asian Art Prize in 2010 and recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CPP) 13th Artist Award in 2009.
The four Filipino artists were not present during the opening but their art works drew praises from guests that include representatives from the Philippine embassy, Filipino expats, Chinese and foreign art enthusiasts.
“It’s fun and interesting art works that have very deep concept in showing what Philippine culture has in arts and daily common life. A very great way bridging the gap of different cultures, and understanding the beauty a country has,” commented Belle Telin Inadu, a Filipino English teacher in Beijing.
Rhio Zablan, a Filipino expat who works as broadcaster at China Radio International (CRI) Filipino Service, said the exhibition provides “bridge towards deeper cultural understanding between Filipinos and Chinese.”
“The exhibition is nostalgic, especially for new Filipino expats,” said Andy Penafuerte III, a Filipino deputy managing editor of magazine Beijingkids.
The Philippine Art Exhibition is open to public from August 21 to September 1, according to Columbia Global Centers communication officer Alvin Quan.
“This is a good opportunity for the Chinese art works enthusiasts as well as students from our universities to see and appreciate the kind of cultures that the Philippines has through this exhibition,” Quan said. (PNA)