Born in Manila, Philippines to a Dutch mother and Filipino father, Atienza (b. 1981) has moved between both countries and cultures throughout her life. Currently she resides both in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Bantayan Island, The Philippines, dependent on where her projects bring her.
Recent and ongoing exhibitions include the Honolulu Biennale, 9th Asia Pacific Triennale (Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane), Taipei Biennale (Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei). Fair Isles (Nassauischer Kunstverein Center, Weisbaden), and and 2018 Asia Project: How Little You Know About Me (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul), Korea. In 2017, Martha Atienza was awarded of the Baloise Art Prize in Art Basel for which her work was collected and included in the exhibition No Man’s Land at the Musee D’art Modern Grand-Duc Jean (MUDAM), Luxembourg. In 2016, for the Singapore Biennale, she was shortlisted for the Benesse Art Prize (Japan). And in the same year, she received the first Mercedes Zobel/Outset Residency at Gasworks (London). In 2015, she was given the Thirteen Artists Award by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (Cultural Center of the Philippines, Manila). In 2012 and 2016, she received the Ateneo Arts Award with studio Residency Grants in Liverpool, Melbourne, New York and Singapore, (Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila). In 2006, Atienza received her Bachelor in Mixed Media and Media Art from the Academy Of Visual Arts and Design (AKI, Enschede), Netherlands.
Martha Atienza’s artistic practice navigates a time and space of her family of seafarers where (her grandfather was a lighthouse watcher in the Visayan Sea of the Philippines, her father sea cptain, and her Dutch mother who worked for the Holland America Line) both lands and seas from where they come carry a story of historical migration, cultural identity, and now, current social and political state of affairs in the Philippines.
Currently, she is investigating the usage of contemporary art as a tool for effecting social change and development.