The end of Arts Month 2023 is almost upon us. But before it arrives, let’s take a step back and appreciate the work of these local women and queer artists—some familiar and others you should look out for—from recently concluded shows.
Wawi Navarroza’s “As Wild As We Come” with Silverlens Galleries
In her latest series of vibrant self-portraits called “As Wild As We Come,” Wawi Navarroza explores relocation and rebirth of identity, motherhood, and bodily transformation. Navarroza worked on the series when she moved to Istanbul two years ago and here she asserts the capability of a transplanted mom like herself to “return” as a woman artist and transnational Asian. The exhibition will be remounted at Silverlens Manila from Mar. 2 to Apr. 5. Learn more about the series in her interview with our sister brand Nolisoli.ph.
Gravity Art Space presented three different programs for each day of Art Fair Philippines 2023. Among the artists featured in “Materiality & Manipulations” are designer Jude Macasinag and mixed media artist Ginoe.
Macasinag’s “Artist Proof” is a collection of 10 looks that continue to undergo development and pays homage to the processes of art object making. It features malleable garments that create sculptural shapes with the body, unconventional silhouettes that cater to imagined limbs, and a repurposing of found fabrics like a Sparrow blanket for haute couture-like pieces.
Ginoe presented lenticular self-portraits that show his different selves. One of them is a photo of himself in a suit and tie that changes into one where he’s wearing a ski mask adorned with cross pendants and waving rainbow flags.
Lens-based artist Ricardo Yan is part of the “Figurations & Forms” program where he presented “Innocent Desire,” a series on the male body inspired by underwear packaging photos that rekindles the fantasies of his younger self and affirms that there’s nothing wrong with queer desire.
Eisa Jocson’s “Corponomy” for ArtFairPH/Performance
Contemporary choreographer and dancer Eisa Jocson’s “Corponomy” is a performance lecture that investigates labor and representations of the dancing body in the service industry. By looking into pole and macho dancing and hostess work, she is able to discuss how they shape identity and gender formation, seduction politics, and Filipino social mobility.
Yeo Kaa’s “This exhibition is about strength.” for ArtFairPH/Projects
Yeo Kaa’s latest collection of paintings and sculptures called “This exhibition is about strength” asserts her stand-in character Krinini as someone imbued with strength. The interactive exhibition invites viewers to use the spray bottles full of bright paint left by the sculptures’ bases.
The artist shares that they used to hate flowers but has since learned to appreciate them. By inviting others to find joy in her flower sculptures, she hopes people will reflect on how their actions affect the surrounding world.
There’s also a wall of 121 paintings with hidden messages like “You are strong, really strong. I am glad you are still here.”
Fifth Wall Fest’s “Pwesto. Teka… Rampa!” features photo collections of Koji Arboleda’s “Always On My Mind” and Renzo Navarro’s “Plus Minus” as well as site-specific performances.
“Always On My Mind” is a showcase evocative of what it’s like to have someone in your head. With a limited view of the dancers’ faces, it solely relies on the simultaneous movement of bodies to convey emotions.
Faye Abantao’s installation called “Don’t Forget to Remember” guides the audience through a series of closed doors that reveal paintings, objects, photographs, and other ephemera once opened. The keepsakes are part of the artist’s personal archive. Abantao hopes that the private, intimate spaces created can also house viewers’ own memories. The installation explores the nature of memory and the power of objects.
Syn’s “To Destroy is to Create” with Secret Fresh Gallery
Street artist Jade Suayan, also known as Syn, wants viewers to know that not all creation comes from clean blank slates and linear processes. Her solo show “To Destroy is to Create” features neon cartoon-like characters painted in a “shattered and disordered” style to show how “chaotic” experiences can also lead to self-growth.
Art Verité’s “The Red Diary” is an all-women show featuring works of Filipina artists with Chinese descent that explore their tradition and heritage. Clairelynn Uy, Tiffany Lafuente, Winna Go, Celine Lee, Kadin Tiu, and Billie Jean give us a glimpse of their narratives on identity and belongingness. Go’s “Puzzled Identity,” for example, is a series of paintings of Philippine traditional clothing made of a patchwork of Chinese pattern fabrics.