Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ALTER/(N)ATIONS (January 3, 2011)


Tomorrow, you can still add color to your new year.

Literally, by visiting the Liongoren Gallery in Cubao, Quezon City.

By 6 p.m., grab the chance to be with the incoming University of the Philippines president Alfredo Pascual and Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte Alimurung in opening one of the major art exhibits in the country --Alter/(n)ations: The Art of Imelda Cajipe Endaya!

Well, if it will be your baptism of fire, and ICE or Imelda Cajipe Endaya, have no fear, Flaudette May Datuin will also be there.

To explain Endaya and everything, May decided to gather together all the aspects in understanding the said visual artist/curator/project organizer in abook of the same title.
Published by the UP press, the 2010 Publisher of the Year, it is collection of essays written by scholars from different or differing perspectives.

May, a feminist art historian and critic from the UP Department of Art Studies, edits them excellently according to four categories.

Framework, the first level, presents the ICE as a storyteller who is also a part of the stories she is telling, as social subjects:
For Frame 1, or Cultural Identity: Women and Nation, Alice Guillermo -- the UP Professor Emeritus who is the Philippines' contributing editor to Asian Art News and World Sculpture -- dissects ICE via her Sa Lupang Golgota (1984), oil on canvas and collage of lace and textile on sawali panel mounted on plywood: “Drawing inspiration from the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, this painting shows a group mostly of women in expressions of utter consternation and alarm at the bloodied figure of Benigno S. Aquino Jr., the opposition senator, who seems to have suddenly fallen from the skies (he was shot while going down on an airplane).” For Frame 2, or Displacement and Diaspora, Cherubim Quizon -- an Associate Professor at the Seton Hall University in New Jersey known for her Bagobo and B'laan textile researches – focuses on ICE'sFilipina:DH (1995), an installation of plasterbonded textile: “This work was widely exhibited in North America and Asia as part of the Asia Society's groundbreaking exhibition entitled Traditions/Tensions:Contemporary Art of Asia,as well as in the Philippines through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the women artists' collective Kasibulan.” For Frame 3, or Home, Indira Myra Endaya, one of the standouts during the 33rdUP National Writers Workshop where we had the opportunity to sit as panelist, looks at ICE as her mom, familiar and otherwise, in her My Mother and Me(2006), acrylic and collage on canvas: “This work is “so like and unlike her previous works.” For Frame 4, or Sisterhood and Solidarity I, Brenda Fajardo, another UP Professor Emeritus who treats her fellow artist as a friend they co-exist in a Mutual Admiration Society through Juan's Spoliarium and Brenda's “Sagot ay Ako” (“The Answer Is Me”) (2004), oil, acrylic, and textiles on arches paper: “This series of exhibitions started with Imelda's conversational collage with Juan Luna, the nineteenth century painter and revolutionary and eight other women artists. It was later followed by responses from the women artists, thus creating a multilayered tapestry, “a fitting send-off for a sister, all in the spirit of sisterhood and solidarity that continue to bind these women together.” For Frame 5, or Sisterhood and Solidarity II, Eileen Legaspi Ramirez, a curatorial consultant of Lopez Museum who is more popularly known as an authority in Philippine performance art than as May's roommate at the UP Faculty Center, takes off from where Dr. Fajardo's ground care of ICE'sSolidary Sisters 2 (1999), acrylic on collage and sewn textiles on canvas scroll: “Here, the artist frontally presents two indexically female forms, semi-recognizable through anthropomorphic cues, with contours and compositional elements overlapping in their chumminess, further made integral through lines that literally weave in and out of one body to the adjacent other to create a whole, the opened up spaces within the 'bodies' rendered as crevices either wrenched or pried open to secrete fluid excess or bodily largesse.” For Frame 6, or Women and Globalization, Neferti Tadiar, a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York who recently launched last year her Duke University Press-published book Things Fall Away: Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization, dissects ICE's obra Anghel ng Teknolohiya (1997): “As the figuration and enactment of the tekhne of Filipina women's everyday labor, the Angel of Technology is none other than the creative power or divine yet earthly potential of Filipina women themselves.” These framings initiate us, and all the Endaya-challenged, to her works – be it lifework, patchwork, artwork or worldwork. Such classification created by May, who was recently appointed as Visiting Research Fellow of the University of New South Wales (2010-2013), after she received a Visiting Fellowship at the Australian National University, research grants from the Asian Scholarship Foundation (ASF) and Asian Public Intellectual (API) fellowships that took her to China, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan where she conducted pioneering research on contemporary women artists.

Like ICE.

If Thelma Kintanar and Sylvia Mendez Ventura's choice in Ateneo de Manila Press-published book -- Self-Portraits were a gospel truth in Philippine art, then Imelda Cajipe Endaya (ICE) could easily be beatified as one of our latter-day visual art saints.

Together with Ching Abad Santos, Agnes Arellano, Norma Belleza, Araceli Limcaco Dans, Brenda Fajardo, Anna Fer, Julie Lluch, Impy Pilapil, Sandra Torrijos, Arlene Villaver, and Phyllis Zaballero, ICE was chosen for being among the greatest Filipinas in the field of arts. In fact, a year before its publication in 1999, ICE was selected by the CCP as one of the Philippines' 100 Culture Heroes with Dr. Fajardo and Dr. Guillermo, to name a few, during the celebration of Philippine Independence's centenary. But, even before 1998, ICE was already making a name for herself when after a year graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from the University of the Philippines in 1970 she won first prize in the Philippine Association of Printmakers competition. After eight years, ICE bagged the Gold Medal in the Art Association of the Philippines' contest, to be followed by the Critics' Choice Award from Ma-yi Art Associates in 1980. A decade after, ICE would become one of the winners in the 1st Gawad CCP para sa Sining Biswal in 1990. This new millennium failed to catch her rest on her laurels so far. ICE had been working and winning such awards as: Second and Third Prizes, Orange County Art Federation Annual Art Exhibitions, New York (2005-2006); Natividad Fajardo Galang ALIWW Honors for Women in the Arts ,Ateneo de Manila (2008); Irwin and Florence Zlowe Memorial Art Award, (ASCA) Annual, New York (2008); First Prize, Beautiful Aging Exhibition, United Hebrew-Lazarus Gallery, New Rochelle, New York (2009); Ani ng Dangal, NCCA, Manila (2009); Artwork selected as part of syllabus for Docent program in Public Middle School, Tic Toc Theatre and Art Program, Bergen County, New Jersey (2009); and Honorable Mention, American Society of Contemporary Artists (ASCA) Annual, New York (2009), among others.

Alter/(n)ations: The Art of Imelda Cajipe Endaya – both the exhibit and book – deserves a sibling, or an offspring, who will guide us further into the twists and turns of the ever-evolving, ever-revolving, or ever-revolting saga of Philippine art! Like in any other genre, there is great need not only for critics, but for biograpers, or translators, to help us appreciate our arts and our artists more.

Again, why not a CCP, or an NCCA, Prize for Criticism, for Biography, or for Translation, and more? Anyway, there's always a new year!

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common? 

A.. All were invented by women.

Prayer is not a "spare wheel" that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a "steering wheel"  that directs the right path throughout.

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