Mirrors on the Wall
Filipino artists reflect on Philippine society at the Singapore Biennale 2016
“Endless Hours at Sea” Martha Atienza
Martha Atienza’s father was a lighthouse keeper and her family was involved in the maritime industry. “Endless Hours at Sea” is a nostalgic multimedia installation exploring not only her personal voyages but the diaspora of almost half a million Filipino workers, oceans apart from their motherland. Atienza’s work is not just devoid of time but also of a sense of space, perhaps to evoke the idea of nowhere.
“Karagatan (The Breadth of Oceans)” Gregory Halili
With the Philippines surrounded by water, Gregory Halili’s “Karagatan” series revolves around the sea and the people who live by and through it. He painted images of his seafaring subjects, most of whom live in destitution, on precious mother-ofpearl, which harks back to their noble profession. Looking into these miniature eyes, there’s a sense of melancholy in how they stare back at the viewer.
“The Hunters Enter the Woods” Patty Eustaquio
From afar, Patty Eustaquio’s work resembles a Rorschach test. If it were one, it could be interpreted as the intricate tail of a Siamese fighting fish. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see details of endangered species painted on two panels: the Paphiopedilum fowliei on the left side and an orchid hybrid on the right. Eustaquio ponders on man’s obsession with collecting orchids to manipulate their growth outside their natural habitat.