Friday, 22 March 2013

Art measures woman, measurement and ecology

Category: Opinion
Published on Saturday, 16 March 2013 19:48
Written by Tito Genova Valiente / 

THE last time I saw the name of Kiri Dalena, it was in a film called Ka Oryang. Mysticism and gothic politics suffused the piece, which was about a woman working for the communities that our government calls subversive. At the end of the film, I was stunned to realize that the character I was rooting to succeed had to die. I do not know if death could terminate visions. In the film, I rooted for the woman to live and be happy. Death was just too much for my middle-class sensibility. I wanted death and killing to be metaphorical so I could negotiate the concept in my mind, work on the symbolic plane. But this was living on lies, and the film was really against that.

Dalena disturbed me with that discourse. And on March 8, Dalena was featured in a program called “ArtSpeak,” a lecture series of the Ateneo Art Gallery. Her talk also marked International Women’s Day. Dalena is a visual filmmaker and a documentary filmmaker. She has received the Ateneo Art Awards and the Cultural Center of the Philippines 13 Artists Awards. She was also a finalist for the 2012-2013 Sovereign Asian Art Prize.

Dalena is scheduled to hold her talk at the Ateneo Library for Women’s Writings. Dalena graduated from the University of the Philippines Los Baños and studied 16mm filmmaking at the Mowelfund Film Institute. Her works reflect her concerns as an activist, highlighting social and politically charged issues.

ArtSpeak is a lecture series which supports and enhances the experience offered by the Ateneo Art Gallery. The talk of Dalena is part of the series aimed at expanding the aesthetic space of an ongoing exhibit called You Have Every Right. The project focuses on contemporary female artists working with video, painting, photography, media and technology, producing what the exhibition notes describe as “process-oriented works that often involve collaborations, social interaction and the inclusion of real situations in their pieces. Participating artists included Maria Cruz, Tracey Moffat, Annika Eriksson, Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, Claudia del Fierro, Lizza May David and Dalena. The “personal becomes political” in the works of these artists. Lian Ladia curates the art program.

At the other end of Katipunan, an ancient measuring device will be the concern of artist Diokno Pasilan. The exhibit is dubbed Ganta. According to the curatorial notes, the exhibit is about “a word referring to an act of measuring or signifying a quantity, the title Ganta derives from Pasilan’s appropriation of a local device used to gauge the volume of grain.” Pasilan is described as transforming “the cube-like form of the gantangan into light boxes evincing images of indigenous houses.” The exhibit Ganta opens on March 20 on the ground-floor lobby and West Wing Gallery of the UP Vargas Museum.

The exhibit tells of the artist “who weaves stories and narratives, responds to local conditions, and plays the role of a visitor who is neither distant nor alien from his subjects.”

The exhibit will also feature a collaborative performance with fellow migrant artist in Australia, Martin Heine.

Pasilan, known for his art production that encompasses painting, installation, video, performance and music, was once involved in Asin and Pinikpikan, two musical groups that defined the ethos of the 1970s and 1980s. He received a Diploma of Fine Arts from the Western Australian School of Art, Design & Media. He was one of the founding members of the artist-run space Kurb Gallery in Perth.

Out in Rizal, Laguna, the concepts and practices of sustainable architecture, environment, recycling and programs for senior citizens get a framework and boost from a program of the MyShelter Foundation. Community participation and recycled materials are at the center of this project. Bottles and aluminum cans are recycled to provide materials for the building of a center for its senior citizens. The use of local green architecture, according to the foundation, resulted in substantial savings of almost 40 percent. The use of solar-bottle lights and eco-bricks had an impact on the carbon-dioxide production.

The foundation works with Rizal, a fifth-class municipality of the province of Laguna. The organization has a mission of promoting access to sustainable architecture and expanding local and grassroots capacity by continuing to lead in innovative programs in using clean and renewable design. Illac Angelo Diaz, visionary, entrepreneur and daring crusader, is the person behind the foundation.

The mayor of the town, Antonino A. Aurelio, is recognized as a local environmental leader, having established several programs like the Tayak Hill Eco-Trails, Tree Planting Programs and this project, the Bottle Center for the Aged.