ANG MGA VIRGIN SA LAWIS

 

Looking at 16th century Dutch painters I thought it interesting the way landscapes of the land and social situations are visualized, and I it is think ironic that religion plays a role in the portraying of such.

 

The landscapes shown had religious relevance. Most paintings with landscapes were interpretations of the biblical stories blended into native landscapes so that the viewer could identify. At the time, most of western civilization could not yet read and write and paintings were a way to communicate a message, biblical in most cases at the time.

 

My work is a modern interpretation of the sketches of the European explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries. In particular I make reference to the explorers and colonizers of the Philippines from the European period till the time the Americans came. They made depictions of the local inhabitants of the new lands they discovered. ANG MGA VIRGIN SA LAWIS shows the locals posed awkwardly in their natural environment.

 

They would depict the indigenous people in their local habitat wearing their tribal clothes  posing or performing their daily routine. The documentation was used as a way to not only to showcase these people but also to instruct and even entertain the audience.

 

The work is a satire of the documentation of those early explorers and at the same time a critique of Filipino society as it stands today. I show my subjects in their "native environment", wearing their daily clothing, looking straight at the camera. Like the explorers made sketches, documenting the 'new' peoples they met through their journeys. I tried to imagine the awkwardness of being in the situation of posing and showing yourself to these strange foreigners.

 

ANG MGA VIRGIN SA LAWIS;

 

Is a social commentary on our cultural landscape. The Philippine landscape cannot be imagined without a Filipino and the values we consider our own. Every nook, corner, no matter how isolated, be it the mountains of Mindanao, the rice fields of Ilocos, Mt. Province, the Visayas, this entire peninsula, and every where else the Filipino goes, he brings this with him those values. At the same time, our society is changing culturally to one where every daily routine involves a cash payment, and the bayanihan spirit is slowly being eroded by our capitalist drive.

 

Dropping a peso to watch each family encourages the viewer to think about how we observe and interact with people- and questions the morality of our methods.

 

I try to make the viewer think about our society that has changed from a society wherein everyone works together and shares the fruits, to the capitalists individual profit perspective. The ease of dropping a coin, as we do daily with everything, like a videoke song- so we can all sing along.

 

Modern science describes the observer-expectancy effect, and in anthropology this hinges on the biases of the cultural relativism of the observer . It is interesting to think about this effect in terms of the first explorers to this country, how that has changed and affected our society, and how our own cultural regional, and position in Philippine society affects and shapes our modern society.

 

My work aims to explore how early explorers created an image of what the Filipino was, and how that has influenced the way we see ourselves today. It aims to provide a glimpse at the contemporary landscape and as a strategy to observe and comment on the socio-cultural conditions of the Philippines.