In the last few years, long-overdue monographs have finally been launched about three noted Filipino artists who are often identified with women’s issues and feminism: Agnes Arellano, Julie Lluch and Imelda Cajipe-Endaya. These artists came to prominence in the 1970s-80s, a politically turbulent time in Philippine history that ushered in social realist art. Not all three have the same opinions about politics and feminism in art – Lluch and Cajipe-Endaya are both aligned with the women’s movement, while Arellano prefers to tackle themes related to the sacred feminine and the dichotomy of life and death.
Maria Cruz and Lani Maestro both left the Philippines in the 1980s and practiced their art in other countries. Both are also socially conscious and have created works that speak and reflect on human conditions, but their practices are informed by a more subdued and silent aesthetic that contrasts the more strident urgent expressions of their Manila-based contemporaries. I have included their recent publications in this list to present a wider view of Filipino women and their art.
Imelda Cajipe-Endaya uses materials from her home – such as paper, plastic, old clothes, baskets, mats and weavings – to create prints, wall pieces and assemblages that further the debate between ‘male masterpiece’ and ‘women’s craft’. This print-by-demand book gathers essays by six authors who discuss the works of the artist according to key themes such as identity, gender, race, nation, and globalization. A folio of selected works from 1998 to 2008 is also included.
Maria Cruz’s paintings and projects combine images both from personal narratives and popular sources. Her work often delves between art and the social, individual reflection and collective collaboration. She has lived and worked in Sydney, Australia since 1980 and now resides in Berlin, Germany. ‘Oo’ means ‘yes’ in Filipino, and the title alone is indicative of the artist’s ties with her homeland despite being away for three decades. Published in connection with the artist’s first survey of works presented in the Philippines, the book includes a conversation between Cruz and Australian curator Jo Holder, in both languages, Filipino and English.
Lani Maestro’s works in the exhibition ‘Sing Mother (Twilight eats you)’ explore the subjectivities in art, language and the feminine. She has spoken of ‘mother’ before particularly in the context of identity and exile. Maestro left Manila for Nova Scotia, Canada in 1982 and now divides her time between Canada and Normandy, France. Her minimal installations using found objects, handwritten texts, constructed rooms, projections and scents create a sensuous, multi-layered experience-- to which Erin Moure, the Canadian award-winning poet, and long-time friend of the artist, responds to in her text for the exhibition catalogue.
- Collection Spotlight
- Mon, 1 Nov 2010