Filipino contemporary artists take the spotlight this month as one of Singapore’s most popular art enclaves, Gillman Barracks, hosts their works.
Keb Cerda opened a solo exhibition entitled “Dahlia” while artist collective The Working Animals Art Projects brought their group exhibition “Seabound” in Singapore. Both exhibitions opened on August 24.
Following the success and breakthroughs in his earlier works, such as “Collect All Coins” and “False Profits,” Cerda introduces “Dahlia” and takes his audience into a world of dark alleys and sinister parks, visualised dramatically under a blue and purple-tinted twilight.
The exhibit plays around notions of heightened and omnipresent surveillance in the technologically-dominated era, and works around these concepts through the classic contrast between light and dark but invigorated by the interactivity brought by his mobile application Omniscope. “Dahlia” is yet another social commentary among Cerda’s oeuvre incorporated with humor and fun-filled experience that transcends the boundaries of traditional painting.
A graduate of advertising from the Technological University of the Philippines, Cerda has shown his works in the Philippines, Taiwan, and San Francisco, USA. He first experimented with the appropriation of archival photographs in his paintings to open up commentaries on history, economy, and politics, often with a tone of humor.
Taking this trajectory another direction, he began to incorporate new media to the painted image and introduced using technologies such as augmented reality and gaming platforms as integral elements of experiencing his art. As such, Omniscope, the mobile application he developed, has brought a new level of interactivity to paintings. Cerda is currently shortlisted for the Fernando Zobel Prize for Visual Art, Ateneo Art Awards, one of the most important awards in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, “Seabound” sees ten young artists from the Working Animals Art Projects.
Their journey for the past few years has been steadily progressing, individually in multiple directions as the artists explore their own themes, materials and techniques. They, however, regularly converge in a showcase of the diversity of voices that young and emerging Filipino artists has to offer.
In this edition of celebrating their shared vision and channeling their creative energies in a synchronized fashion, they adopt an overarching theme that bespeaks both of an origin and destination, of an intersection of defining boundaries and exploring what lies beyond, and of the dynamic and meaningful exchange between the inside and the outside.
The word “seabound” conveys on the one hand being surrounded by seas, a geographic reference to an area whose limits are locked not by land but entirely by water.
This sense accurately describes the collective’s origin, the Philippines which is bounded by the mighty seas and sharing no land interface with neighbouring countries.
On the other, the term may also refer to a stance of embarking on a journey towards the sea, to going beyond the boundaries of a locality and navigating a wider realm beyond it. This meaning highlights this iteration of the group’s creative exercise as an overseas engagement — their second to date — another fulfillment of their vision to participate as a collective in the larger, global contemporary art scene.
Both exhibition signaled the start of Art Trek 13, an annual programme of the Embassy of the Philippines Singapore. Cerda’s exhibition takes place at Yavuz Gallery’s premises at unit #02-23, while the group exhibition is held at a pop-up venue at unit #02-21 both inside Block 9, Gillman Barracks, Singapore.