A DAY WITH NIKKI LUNA
The artist talks to Manica C.
tiglao about feminism, her creative process, and current projects in New York.
THE ARTIsT AND ACTIvIsT spEAks TO Manica c. Tiglao AbOUT CREATIvITY, FEmINIsT ADvOCACIEs AND dreaM projecTs, AND THE LOvE OF HER LIFE.
WhAT TImE DID YOU WAkE Up TODAY? Around 8 a.m.
WhAT’S ThE FIRST ThING YOU USUALLY
DO WhEN YOU WAkE Up? I get kisses from my husband, ABS-CBN football commentator Mikee Carrion, and then make coffee.
WhAT DID YOU hAvE FOR bREAkFAST? Coffee and toast. ExERCISE ROUTINE? I do Pilates and go to the gym.
WhAT DO YOU USUALLY WEAR TO
WORk? Shorts if I’m working in my studio, outside I wear pants.
WhAT’S ALWAYS IN YOUR hANDbAG? I
don’t usually have one. WhAT INSpIRES YOU? The world we live in.
STYLE ICONS? I love the style of all the girls in the movie Dazed and Confused.
hOW DID YOU FALL IN LOvE WITh
ART? All I remember as a kid, I would rather draw or create something to articulate whatever it was that I felt.
TELL US hOW YOU bECAmE AN ARTIST. I had always been drawn to art, making art—from films and sculptures to architecture, I would appreciate the history and concept behind every art work. Growing up, all my notebooks had more drawings rather than notes, and my table and school walls would be “vandalized” since I drew on them. As far as I can remember, the only thing I’ve been sure of and have felt comfortable with is making art.
FAvORITE ARTISTS? Janine Antoni, Eva Hesse, Annette Messager, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Rachel Libeskind, Emma Sulkowicz, and Eileen Boxer.
FAvORITE LOCAL ARTIST pEERS? Kiri Dalena, Jaja Arumpac, Renan Ortiz, Yvonne Quisumbing, Toon (Marina Cruz), Maria Taniguchi, Racquel de Loyola, and Lara de los Reyes.
WhAT’S ONE ART WORk YOU WOULD kILL TO hAvE? Anything from my aforementioned favorite artists.
FAvORITE mUSEUmS? The Prado and Reina Sofia in Madrid; Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the Whitney Museum (because they allow you to protest, critique, and even challenge the institution), New Museum, The Guggenheim, and The Jewish Museum, all in New York; and the Centre de Pompidou in Paris.
WhAT WOULD YOU LIkE TO SEE mORE OF IN
ART? I hope more artists create art that speaks of issues that matter.
WhEN’S ThE bUSIEST TImE OF YEAR
FOR YOU? March since it’s National Women’s Month, and November, when it’s the international day to eliminate violence against women.
YOU’RE CURRENTLY pART OF A RESIDENCY pROGRAm IN NEW YORk. WhAT ARE YOU
WORkING ON? I am very happy with my ongoing artist grant. New York’s visual culture is tied to women, art, gender equality, and feminism. I have been able to connect with feminist artists, women’s organizations, and artist groups, such Mary Kelly, The Guerrilla Girls, artists Rachel Libeskind, Emma Sulkowicz, and Eileen Boxer, to name a few, and I look forward to meeting more like-minded individuals. I have participated in some organizations such as Hand Off Our Revolution. I will immerse myself in finding more people and groups who are involved in fostering social progress through art and pushing boundaries of art from its “normal” environment, which is the gallery, and reach out to the public sphere.
hOW hAS IT bEEN SO FAR?
I love New York and I definitely plan to take advantage of the city’s richness of resources in art and feminism.
hOW DO YOU pREpARE YOURSELF TO bE
CREATIvE AND GET WORk DONE? I don’t really have a ritual. But my pieces are research-based. The process and the concept behind the piece are more important to me. Then I marry both aesthetic and substance. I do this by immersing myself in whatever my projects are, which means that when I make work about peasant farmers, I have to work with the communities. When I made my pelvic and pineapple sculpture I made sure it came from a woman laborer’s actual human skeleton. I do my best to connect to the art work.
WhAT pLACE IS mOST CONDUCIvE TO
WORk FOR YOU? I travel a lot to get things done. I do have my T&C TOWNANDCOUNTRY.ph studio and work table at home, which are necessary when I conceptualize my pieces.
WhAT ELEmENT IS AbSOLUTELY NECESSARY
FOR YOUR ARTISTIC pROCESS? I need to be faithful to the concept. I never compromise.
AT WhAT TImE OF DAY DO YOU pREFER TO
WORk? There is no specific time, but I do fall into the artist cliché of working in the wee hours.
WhAT IS YOUR FAvORITE CREATION ThUS
FAR? All of them. That’s like asking me who is my favorite child!
DREAm pROjECT? I simply want to be able to show more people in and outside our country how I use my art to share the plight of women in developing countries. Many are unaware of our struggles in the Third World but we can help them learn more about us. And feminism is a global issue. I would like to continue to intertwine my advocacies for women with my art by raising issues in our ongoing fight for education, reproductive rights, maternal health, ending child marriages, forced labor, employment opportunities, fair trade, ending genderbased violence, and the rights to water and shelter. To not be killed or sold just because we were born girls. All of this through art. Even in 2017, women’s issues are taking a backseat and society is backsliding.
WhAT bOOk ARE YOU READING RIGhT NOW? The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood.
FAvORITE bOOkS? The God of Small
Things, and other books by Arundhati Roy, Dekada ’70, by Lualhati Bautista, and Darfur Diaries, by Jen Marlowe.
STApLE mAGAzINE? Rolling Stone.
FAvORITE GADGET? Nothing. But I need music and I have to listen to Pink Floyd while working.
FREE SpIRIT Inside Nikki’s work space at home. Opposite: In her studio.