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Thursday, March 3, 2011

TESSELLATED LIVES




TESSELLATED LIVES
UP Baguio Fine Arts
March 4-30, 2011
NCCA Gallery
633 Gen Luna St., Intramuros, Manila

“The 'I' is continuously shaped and reshaped, and the past, in which the identity of a person rests, is never fixed in one form but is as changeable as the mind that recalls it. In other words, ….[the] singular, relativistic subject can swiftly be turned into changeable, pluralistic personas.”

- from Lena Hammergren, “Different Personas: A History of One's Own?” in Choreographing History, Edited by Susan Leigh Foster

“And identity, like 'home,' is ever in a process, less a refuge than the site of contending, multiple meanings.”

- from Elaine Kim, in the preface to Charlie Chan is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction



Sometime in the mid- 2000s, the community of Baguio artists, along with a motley group of the city's denizens came together in a grand collaboration to repair the cracked sidewalk pavement of the city's main thoroughfare. The result of the grand collaboration was a Session road mosaic, where an assortment of bits and pieces of broken multi-colored tiles and other found materials were cobbled together into a colorful whole by a similarly motley group of people from a variety of backgrounds and persuasions.

The Session road mosaic has since been replaced by a more refined, “neater,” and “pedestrian-safe” mosaic tile finish. Nonetheless, the original project had provided a glimpse into the the narrative that pervades Baguio city, and an intimation into the challenges that face those who live in this city where individuals are provided with a gamut of experiences and influences which are at once variegated and diverse.

In Tessellated Lives, Fine Arts students of the University of the Philippines Baguio interrogate the various ways by which individuals navigate through this experience. How is community retained while allowing for a modicum of individuality? Does embracing the new necessarily entail an abandonment of the past? What must beretained; what can be be 're-invented'? What new roles have been taken on in order for the tradition to find some continuity in contemporary articulations of identity? As with the shards of broken tile used to construct the Session Road sidewalk mosaic, what fragments from times past have had to be actively made to work anew?

In the in essay “Different Personas: A History of One's Own,” Lena Hammergren notes that “... the past and present continuously and actively insinuate themselves into one another, resulting in a elusive identity both in regard to the the 'I' of the text and to the history of which it is speaking. … In accepting this elusiveness and the multiplicity of our personas, we can also get a different sense of context-oriented studies, where it becomes not only a question of which context we choose to examine, but also how we change together with the context.”

The artworks included in this exhibit echo a narrative of place. Tessellated Lives explores the re-corporealizations and reconfigurations that issue forth, as well as negotiations that individuals must inevitably undertake as they continually shape and reshape identities in these spaces of convergence, divergence and intermingling where tradition encounters modernity and the past meets with the present.

The exhibit brings together over 15 photographs, sculptures, paintings and prints by Fine Arts students of the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB). Exhibitors include Kizel Cotiw-an, Juvenile Bacolcol, Rochelle Bakisan, Vincent Toribio, Harinam Tibon, Potchie Lazaro, Jael Millan, Joy Galinato, Lyle Hilotin, Joshua Agpaoa, Kyrke Jaleco, Paolo Villacorta, Renz Ocampo, Romeo Christo Rosete IV and UP Baguio faculty Liz Rañola and Fara Manuel.

Tessellated Lives opens March 4 at 5 PM, NCCA Gallery is located at G/F NCCA Building, 633 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros Manila. For enquiries please contact Mimi Santos or Ethel Buluran at 527-2192 loc. 512 or email ncca_gallery@yahoo.com.

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