Filipino (art) invasion of ‘Cool Brittania’ | Inquirer Lifestyle

Filipino (art) invasion of ‘Cool Brittania’

Forbidden strangers, mysterious exiles, hidden treasures are the themes of the Filipino works set to be exhibited in London at the end of this month.


Four Filipino artists will be in focus at the Asian Art in London 2014, as part of the One East Asia show on Southeast Asian contemporary art, Oct. 30-Nov. 9, at Gallery 8, Duke’s Street in the British capital’s art hub of St. James.


(One East Asia is the Art Management arm of Larasati Auctioneers that deals with various art projects and educational programs.)


Daniel Komala, One East Asia managing director, said: “In order to put Southeast Asian art on the same footing as China, the region’s reigning art superpower, it is essential to move forward as a united community.”


In order to do that, Komala explained, “the art and culture of all Asian countries must be brought to the attention of the West.”


“About 600 million people live in Southeast Asia,” he noted, “although that’s less than half of the total population in China, this group of countries is perhaps the more colorful of the two in art and culture.”


The Philippines, he noted, is one of two powerhouses in modern and contemporary art in the region; the other being Indonesia.


Nevertheless, he considers art from both countries as under-valued. “Perhaps it’s no accident that the most exciting art today is coming from Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and the Philippines, the most populous Catholic nation in Asia,” he said. “Freedom of expression holds its head high in both countries.”


“But,” he emphasized, “The Philippines has that X-Factor that makes it so uniquely different from the rest of its neighbors in Southeast Asia.”


He noted that One East Asia is based in Singapore primarily because the city-state “provides all Southeast Asian (SEA) countries with various doors to the international markets.”


Mark Lewis Higgins, one of the featured artists at the One East Asia London show, said: “The more Filipino art is exposed in the international art scene—to both curators and collectors—this will contribute greatly to forming our sense of identity as a nation, by showing us how the outside world sees us, and not only how we see ourselves. I think our sense of identity has become more and more elusive, certainly in the past few decades. The history of our country is unique, and it must be celebrated, in an informed way, in our art.”


“It’s a real delight to see how these four Filipino artists boldly go to explore possibilities that no one has done before,” said Komala. “I’m confident they would bring Southeast Asia one step closer to One East Asia’s goal of making our region’s art stands tall among its equals.” Lizza Nakpil

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