There has been a growing recognition of the art of the Southeast Asian region over the last few decades but little attention has been paid to the art of the Philippines.
Dr John Yu, (former) Chair of VisAsia
Australia and the Philippines have built an enduring relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations following Philippines independence in 1946. To commemorate this 70th anniversary and address the importance of Philippine art, Dr John Yu AC approached Mosman Art Gallery to establish a Philippine Visual Arts project. After conferring with the Consul General of the Philippines, they reached out to the Art Gallery of NSW forming a core group for the project. Soon after, Blacktown Arts Centre, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Peacock Gallery (Auburn) and Museums & Galleries NSW came on board to form the Bayanihan Philippines Art Project. Also supported by the Australian Museum as a lending organisation, the project is founded on the concept of Bayanihan, the traditional practice of community group work, and will present a range of collaborative multi-arts projects including exhibitions, performances, publications and community programs, showcasing the extraordinary art and culture of the Philippines and its strong links to Australia.
This issue of the TAASA Review is also dedicated to the art and culture of the Philippines.
While the Project celebrates 70 years of official diplomatic relations, unofficially, indigenous people of Australia and the Philippines have also had contact, as borne out in Ruben Allas’ article on contemporary exchanges between Wiradjuri and Sagadan artists. There were colonial connections too, including the discovery of Luis Vaz de Torres’ map of Australia’s coastline by Alexander Dalrymple while held captive in the Spanish quarters of Manila. The map, later published in England, gave Torres Strait its name and prompted James Cook’s voyage and landing on east coast Australia.
In the 20th century there is the oft-mentioned interaction of Australian Ian Fairweather with modernist circles in the Philippines, but in reality Australians didn’t show much interest in Philippines art until the late 1980’s and early 1990s. Perth’s Artists Regional Exchanges (ARX) Projects (1987-1999) brought out artists like Alwin Reamillo, who features across a number of the Bayanihan programs. The inaugural issue of Art Asia Pacific (1993) was dedicated to the Philippines and the first iteration of the Asia Pacific Triennial (1993) in Brisbane kicked off with the inclusion of nine Filipino artists, including Santiago Bose whose work will feature as part of Passion and Procession at AGNSW.
By the new millennium, artists like Norberto (Peewee) Roldan and Robert Nehry began to extend their art practices in Darwin and Sydney. Robert Nehry will curate the Blacktown film program. In 2006 David Griggs found himself in Manila and remains enamored with the city, writes Megan Monte. His new feature length film will screen as part of Campbelltown’s exhibition Cowboy Country. Ma. Victoria T. Herrera (Boots) and Paul Northam tell us that ten Filipino artist travelled to Bendigo, Victoria over ten years as part of an exchange program between Ateneo Art Gallery and La Trobe University. In that time the Filipino-Australian population has grown from 120,000 to close to 180, 000 with many living in Sydney’s west. This growing Filipino diaspora has changed the nature of exchange, with many Australians reconnecting to the Philippines through family ties and long term collaborative projects like Sipat Lawin and Anino Shadowplay Collective whose members are based in Sydney and Manila. Paschal Berry and Paul Howard tell how these groups will make up part of Blacktown’s Balik Bayan (Back to Country) alongside new performance works by Benji Rha and Justin Shoulder.
Such collaboration and family ties, while stimulating creativity can also create anxiety and displacement. Jenny Cheeseman describes Auburn’s Talik Bayan (Looking back) program that invites four local artists to address these issues and bring the community together in a festive ‘open house’. The husband and wife artist team, the Aquilizans, also touch on this subject in the context of global migration, writes Katrina Cashman. Their collaborative projects will transform Mosman into a site for community collaboration where rubbish will be recycled into art.
This issue is rounded off by Lucie Folan’s profile of the artist Rodel Tapaya and his NGA exhibition, Russell Kelty’s insightful glimpse into the Art Gallery of South Australia’s collection and Anna O’Loughlin’s book review of No Chaos, No Party (2016). Coming full circle, Ross Langlands talks to John Yu about his passion for the Philippines, his collection of textiles and why the Bayanihan Philippines Art Project is so important in creating a dialogue between art institutions and communities through participatory experiences and cultural exchanges.
3 EDITORIAL: PHILIPPINE ART - Matt Cox, Guest Editor and John Cheeseman
4 PASSION AND PROCESSION: ART OF THE PHILIPPINES AT AGNSW - Matt Cox
7 INTERVIEWING ARTIST J.D. REFORMA - Katrina Cashman
8 COWBOY COUNTRY IS MY EASY RIDER MIXED WITH MAD DOG MORGAN: A FILM BY DAVID GRIGGS - Megan Monte
10 BALIK BAYAN: A PHILIPPINE ARTS PROJECT AT BLACKTOWN ARTS CENTRE - Paschal Berry and Paul Howard
12 LIVES IN TRANSIT: ALFREDO JUAN AQUILIZAN AND ISABEL GAUDINEZ-AQUILIZAN - Katrina Cashman
14 BALIK TANAW (LOOKING BACK): AN EXHIBITION AT PEACOCK GALLERY AND AUBURN ARTS STUDIOS - Jenny Cheeseman
16 CULTURAL EXCHANGE BETWEEN INDIGENOUS ARTISTS: WIRADJURIS IN CENTRAL WEST NSW AND SAGADANS IN NORTHERN PHILIPPINES - Ruben Allas
18 RODEL TAPAYA: NEW ART FROM THE PHILIPPINES AT THE NGA - Lucie Folan
20 ON UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS AND MUTABLE TRUTHS - Maria Victoria T. Herrera and Paul Northam
22 COLLECTING FILIPINO TEXTILES: INTERVIEW WITH JOHN YU - Ross Langlands
23 IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN: PHILIPPINE ART AT AGSA - Russell Kelty
24 BOOK REVIEW: NO CHAOS NO PARTY - Anna O’Loughlin
25 CHINESE POLITICAL POSTERS AT THE NLA - Nathan Woolley
26 RECENT TAASA ACTIVITIES
28 TAASA MEMBERS’ DIARY: JUNE - AUGUST 2017
30 WHAT’S ON: JUNE - AUGUST 2017