With the title UnBound, this exhibition explores how culture moves beyond cartographic or physical boundaries, from the physical passage of the object to questioning how ideas and histories are carried and rewritten, responding to different criteria and value constructs.
Commissioned by the Australian Embassy Manila, in partnership with the Yuchengco Museum, Australian curator Gina Fairley has turned to a group of six artists who live between and across the Philippines and Australia. It is their self-driven passion for nearly two decades that has grown an incredible bond and influenced a next generation of artistic exchange.
2013 marks 20 years of Tony Twigg coming to Manila, having presented over 12 solo exhibitions within this art scene. Diokno Pasilan was involved with the Australia Centre as a host for visiting artists when it opened in the early 1990s. He now lives between Melbourne and Palawan and is active in both art scenes. Juni Salvador (who takes his oath on this coming Australia Day) lives across and between Manila and Sydney. David Griggs in recent years has made Quezon City his home, and Maria Cruz’s career stretches from Sydney to Manila to Berlin, where she has exhibited and taught. This dialogue started in the 1930s, when Scottish-born, European-schooled artist Ian Fairweather spent time in the Philippines painting before making Australia his home. Tony Twigg’s installation Anak Bayan (again) draws tribute to that history at the foundation for this exhibition.
These artists are clearly unbounded by ideas such as ‘nation-based identity,’ rather choosing to embrace the intuitive flow of ideas that comes from the movement between places.
UnBound is an exhibition that throws up fresh thoughts on how we define histories, identity, and movement in our times. Using the metaphor of an airport’s transit lounge as the point of intersection for coming and going, arriving and departing—for ideas of home and away—this exhibition has a particularly contemporary feel to it with the frequency with which these artists move across our region.
UnBound is an acknowledgment of a long-held creative respect between Australia and the Philippines and the artists who have made both places their home.
“All six artists have been instrumental in taking the work of Filipino artist’s abroad—they are great ambassadors and have continued what the Australia Centre started in the 1990s.”
– general quote that you can use or apply.
“The artists in this exhibition have been particularly committed in their desire to live and work across our two countries – one that has been driven by passion,” said curator Gina Fairley. “As a curator it is fabulous to work with material that connects with audiences of different locations in unique and local ways. Clearly it is this passion that is felt.”
“How culture is transported, repackaged by these artists, and then interpreted by local audiences, sits at the core of this exhibition. It is a both an expression and a questioning of our times.”
– Gina Fairley, Australian curator
“The question most often asked is, ‘So Tony, where are you based?’ While it is usually just friendly banter, for me the answer is consequential. It attaches me to a place and defines me within nationalistic structures that govern ideas such as Australia’s cultural politics, but also the kind of global art rhetoric that identifies artists such as myself as peripatetic - born here, lives there, lives and works. For me it is a much broader geographic experience that has little to do with cartography or categories. It is about space.”
– Tony Twigg, Australian artist
“In our practice we always try to make sense of how the materials on hand relate to an idea.”
– Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan, Filipino artists living in Australia
“Engagement is the key element in the work; the inter human relations that go into the artistic production.” The Aquilizans continued, “Our projects go beyond their material form. Our interest lies in the works providing a platform for exchange through creative processes, [and] negotiations with the audience.