A group exhibition featuring the works of Cian Dayrit, Racquel de Loyola, Doktor Karayom, Boy Dominguez, and DengCoy Miel
Reflecting on the crucial issues of the current times, “Yugto” considers and confronts the white space as an arena where narratives of continued struggle are realized through different art forms. Art critic, Alice Guillermo, wrote in “Social Realism in the Philippines” that “the artist consciously situates himself and his art in the historical process and in his society.”(1987) Thus, the artist’s critique of the centralization of power to the country’s one percent in the time of a looming fascism is vital. The works of the five artists in this exhibition are charged with political criticisms and agenda — an invitation through visual forms to engage and organize against the forces keeping the status quo. The word “Yugto” caters to a multitude of meanings; however, all are tied in one trajectory: something that can mean both action and platform. Hence, the exhibition is similar in this regard wherein a spectacle yearns for mass action outside the gallery’s four walls.
The works of Cian Dayrit navigate through ideas of sovereignty and China’s imperial ambitions dating back to the 15th century. Commissioned by the Ming Dynasty, a Chinese admiral by the name of Zheng He led a treasury expedition through the Indian Ocean. Dayrit reflects on China’s exercise of soft power today and undermining jurisdictions in smaller and impoverished countries by examining the empire’s earlier bids on Imperialism.
Developmental aggression is at the centre of Boy Dominguez’s works. The long and violent history of displacement among communities belonging to the indigenous people and the unjust treatment of the urban poor are illustrated in Dominguez’s vibrant paintings. Behind the wondrous are tales of human rights violations, state-sponsored murders, and lack of social justice.
Commenting on the country’s present state of affairs, Racquel De Loyola’s works invite the public to write down on a piece of cloth their agonies, pains, and frustrations under the current socio-political climate. The cloth will be then pinned to the sculptures representing vital parts of a human body. An attempt to capture collective memories or ideas to define what “nation” means, De Loyola ties personal concerns to that of a grand telling that mirrors the pulse of the masses.
The blunt and hard-hitting comic illustrations of Dengcoy Miel bring to the fore layers of society’s ills: from satirical depictions of men in power to what appears to be a cartographic sketch of the Philippine Islands filled with dead bodies; images that depict the perils of an impending tyranny.
Doktor Karayom’s haunting line drawings portray the different stories of people manifested in a display of overlapping images and chaos. A mesh of personal accounts interspersed together, Doktor Karayom’s works mirror the wailings and cries of a nation in subdued horror.
Words by Gwen Bautista