Month: October 2018

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AMONG MEN

October 21, 2018 | Archives | 1 Comment

A two-person exhibition by Leny Leonor and Aids Mariñas

They are among us

Among Men” showcases recent works by Leny Leonor and Aids Mariñas as they confront the concept of Philippine mythological creatures and folklore in the present day. Unlike the globally popular and highly-documented Egyptian, Norse or Greek mythologies, with dedicated scholars formally organizing their origins and structure, Philippine folklore and mythology seem to have been, predictably, heavily altered and improperly documented since colonial times. Though they still have a place in Filipino culture – especially in rural areas, where superstition and tradition still permeate societal norms, the orality, ethic-inclusiveness and lack of reliable written material regarding Filipino mythical creatures may have contributed to the diversity of the cast of characters, and the limitless variations in the telling of their stories. 

For their part, Leonor and Mariñas, noticing a gap in how Filipino folklore has been portrayed contemporarily, present paintings and pieces of sculpture that are re-imaginings of different kinds of the more well-known creatures in the hopes of re-introducing them and reviving the interest of a generation of millennials seemingly more caught up in gnomes rather than duendes, Dobby rather than tiyanaks, and Minotaurs rather than kapres.

Leny Leonor paints mundane scenes populated by these creatures, such as in Morning Commute, where the overall image is the interior of a UV Express van with only the central figure remaining a normal human while her co-commuters take on mythological personas. Leonor also interprets a tikbalang as a fast food service crew member, as she plays on the belief that if a normal person acquires strands of a tikbalang’s hair, the creature would be bound in servitude and follow that person until the end of time. As these creatures are portrayed as characters you may find in your favorite fast food store or interact with on a daily basis, they shed their mythic qualities and function in society as normal human beings, promoting their own demystification. 

Aids Mariñas uses resin, fabric and embellishments identified with santos to create characters that are not only inspired by folklore, but also draw on his fascination with 70s Japanese animated characters. His Sto. Niño is an interpretation of a restless spirit taking on the form of the child saint, going from house to house and knocking on doors. A Wakwak is a flying aswang that uses its red wings to cut its victims, not needing to leave its lower half behind. He also creates a Syokoy or merman, its upper half fish and lower half human. Lamanlupa like duendes and nuno sa punso who live underground or in anthills are also given equal importance, so is the Santelmo, a yellow ball of light said to come from a vengeful spirit. He also creates his own Kapre with a dark face, to honor ancient sources that say that the creature is a pugot, or a dishonored headless warrior.

As the artists integrate their interpretations of mythological creatures into their audiences’ sights, they become producers of new beings themselves. However, the mystery of folklore is that nobody really knows – they might already be among us right now, disguised as regular people in different incarnations, serving fried chicken or, maybe, even grilled isaw and clotted blood.

Words by Kaye O’Yek

PASTURES

October 21, 2018 | Archives | 1 Comment

A solo exhibition by Oddin Sena

Grazing Farther and Further

Pastures” chronicles Oddin Sena’s artistic journey as he continues his dissection of vulnerabilities in search of a deeper sense of the self. Drawing on reflections of the artist’s recent experiences, the pieces may be considered as a visual diary of sorts, with awe-inspiring landscapes that beckon from the horizon. Settings may be empty or cluttered, with the central subject – at times spliced, often segmented — accurately depicting the artist’s narrative. The artist portrays himself, his loved ones and his encounters with honesty and forthrightness, each brush stroke conveying self-scrutiny amidst life’s turmoil.

In Full House, the artist skillfully illustrates what may be a typical extended family: parents, brothers and sisters, cousins and uncles all crammed into a limited amount of space, including pets and even cars that are treated as family as well. A humorous take on the oft-discussed horror vacui, as well as the dearth of personal space in a Filipino household, Sena shows the situation as it is, and sets up the rest of his pieces in turn. Twisted Affection is all about loving pets who find themselves as treasured members of the family who have their individual characters— each pet is a being in itself, needing specific attention and caregiving. Taking care of them is added to the list of the artist’s everyday tasks, but he is also aware of the stress-relieving unconditional love they give him in return. 

The artist also comes up with self-portraits that further expound on his reflections: in Balancing Act, he tries to find equilibrium on top of an apple, which signifies health. Different activities mean that he sometimes finds himself out of sorts, and it takes time management to pursue the various undertakings that he has all at the same time. Divided is his face, split into several pieces. As the artist grows, he finds disparate things begging for his attention, or sometimes, as a member of the family, he is given errands to run while he is doing something else which leads him longing for multiple bodies to manage everything. Stormy focuses on his face as well, but signifies darker days when he feels more confused and in dire need of mental de-cluttering. Limbs are bunched together, revealing haplessness and decreased mobility. 

Universal concepts are brought to the fore in succeeding paintings, with Stuck standing out with eerie familiarity— aren’t those hands that we have seen before? Rendered in Sena’s looser painting technique are samples of hands and feet previously painted by Masters, creating a mountain with the RMS Titanic at its peak. Stuck and unmoving, the ship cannot be destroyed, but it does not proceed to its destination either. Perhaps this is the artist’s way of communicating not just a salute to the painters who have made their mark in history, but also his own desires to not be paralyzed by anxiety and self-analysis, to let go for things to run their own course. Out of Place shows a school of fish gasping at dry land instead of being in their natural habitat underwater. Barely alive but still breathing, they do not give up on living. Lurking is all about negative thoughts taking root in one’s consciousness, preying on insecurities and shortcomings. Toxic, destructive and deadly, they calmly wait for a weak moment, a chink in one’s armor, to manifest and metastasize. 

Breaking the gratification in Sena’s chaotic juxtapositions are a few pieces that breathe with calm-inducing empty space as a promise of what lies beyond. Nothing There seems to be a blank, desolate field where nothing ever grows, but it also serves as respite for one’s vision, a way of stretching the viewer’s perspective to find something to look forward to. The focal piece, Looking For Greener Pastures, is monochromatic, quiet and brooding, making an insightful contribution to the collection. This is the artist constantly seeking growth and a better life for himself and his family, as well as illuminating a different take on his craft. 

Gently accepting yet persistently moving, Sena prods and ponders with his paintings as his works take on a softer, yet more reflexive turn, revealing closer affinity to the empirical while not letting go of his ideals.

Words by Kaye O’Yek

XAVIER ART FEST 2018

October 6, 2018 | Fairs | No Comments

Xavier School held the Xavier Art Fest 2018 on October 6 and 7, from 10am to 8pm, at the Xavier School MPC. Kaida Contemporary, among other galleries, will be featured there. You may contact Xavier School for more information.

KAIDA WEBSITE RE-LAUNCH

October 3, 2018 | News | No Comments

KAIDA CONTEMPORARY RE-LAUNCHES OFFICIAL WEBSITE

THE NEW FACE ONLINE

Kaida Moving Forward

Kaida Contemporary re-launches its official website on October 3, 2018. The new website is now officially called www.kaidacontemporary.ph. With added features, visitors may now view works from past exhibits and get details on upcoming ones. Kaida’s website is also responsive, supporting mobile viewing for those on-the-go.

This is just the start of Kaida moving forward.