Norberto Roldan will be the only Filipino artist to be featured with a work from the Guggenheim Museum collection when the traveling exhibit, “No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia,” opens in Hong Kong next month.
Featuring recent works by artists from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, “No Country” presents a cross-section of the leading contemporary artists from South and Southeast Asia today.
To be mounted at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center (9 Justice Drive, Admiralty), the show will run from Oct. 30, 2013, to Feb. 16, 2014.
The exhibition was first seen at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (Feb. 22-May 22, 2013) as part of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, a multi-year collaboration that surveys contemporary art practices in South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa.
In the New York exhibit, included was a work by Poklong Anading, another Filipino contemporary artist.
All works have been newly acquired for the Guggenheim’s collection under the auspices of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Purchase Fund.
After Hong Kong, the exhibition will travel to Singapore.
Curated by June Yap, the exhibit draws its title from the opening line of Yeats’ “Sailing to Byzantium.” It “proposes an understanding of South and Southeast Asia that transcends physical and political borders.”
“The historical narrative of South and Southeast Asia stretches from the era of its ancient kingdoms and empires to that of today’s nation-states,” according to the exhibit notes. “The region is marked by traces of colonization, division and intervention, events and processes that are inscribed in cultural memory. South and Southeast Asia [are] also home to numerous influential faiths, religions and ethical codes, including Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam.”
Featuring 18 works, the exhibition includes painting, sculpture, photography, video and mixed media.
Aside from Roldan (b. 1953, Roxas City, Philippines), artists in the Hong Kong tour are: Aung Myint (b. 1946, Yangon, Myanmar); Bani Abidi (b. 1971, Karachi, Pakistan); Reza Afisina (b. 1977, Bandung, Indonesia); Khadim Ali (b. 1978, Quetta, Pakistan); Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976, Mumbai, India); Vincent Leong (b. 1979, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); Tayeba Begum Lipi (b. 1969, Gaibandha, Bangladesh); Tuan Andrew Nguyen (b. 1976, Saigon, Vietnam); Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook (b. 1957, Trad, Thailand); Vandy Rattana (b. 1980, Phnom Penh, Cambodia); Tang Da Wu (b. 1943, Singapore); and Truong Tan (b. 1963, Hanoi, Vietnam).
In the New York exhibit, Roldan was represented by “F-16” (2012), an oil-and-acrylic-on-canvas diptych (6 ft x 12 ft), which draws parallels between the American invasion of the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century and American imperialist adventures in the new century. It shows a US fighter jet complemented by the text of an interview published in the early 20th century in which William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, pressed for “benevolent assimilation” of the Philippines in the Spanish-American War of 1898.
According to McKinley, the Filipino people “are unfit for self-government and they will soon have anarchy and misrule there worse than Spain’s wars; […] there was nothing left for us to do but take them all; and to educate them and uplift and civilize and Christianize them.”
Roldan has a Philosophy degree from St. Pius X Seminary, Roxas City, Capiz, and a Fine Arts degree from University of Santo Tomas.
He was a finalist in the Philip Morris Philippines Art Awards in 1996, 1997 and 1999. In 1998, he was awarded the Juror’s Choice.
Previous to the Guggenheim exhibit, Roldan has been included in two notable surveys of Southeast Asian contemporary art—“New Art from Southeast Asia 1992” by Fukuoka Asian Art Museum curated by Masahiro Ushiroshoji, Hideki Nakamura and Arata Tani; and “Negotiating Home History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia 1991-2011” by the Singapore Art Museum.
His works are in the collections of Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Singapore Art Museum, Deutsche Bank, and other major collections.
Roldan has an ongoing exhibit at Taksu Singapore (43 Jalan Merah Saga, Singapore 278115; tel. +65-6476-4788). In the Philippines, his works hang at Hiraya Gallery on United Nations Avenue, Ermita, Manila (tel. 02-5233331).