Category Archives: arteng biswal

Friday ∗ 16 Jun 2017

Death of culture (3): Lizaso’s vision for stagnation

The shameless conservatism in Nick Lizaso’s press release about his plans and vision for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is ironic when one considers that we have a President who questions Catholicism and dogmatism time and again, and who insists on his freedom of speech – if not his freedom to offend – over and over. President Duterte unilaterally installed Lizaso as CCP head. But even the President himself would not pass the rules and regulations that Lizaso… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 12 Jun 2017

Death of culture (2): Cultish leadership for CCP

President Duterte’s installation of Nick Lizaso as head of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is painfully ironic – if not dangerously so. On the one hand, it is clear that this President doesn’t care much about culture, so one wonders why he would appoint any of his men to these cultural leadership positions. On the other, one can see this as a statement in itself about what Duterte thinks about culture: anyone can lead it, never mind that… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 09 Jun 2017

Lizaso at CCP: Death of culture (1)

The problems of the sectors of arts and culture in this country are multifarious, and there is no doubt that any of us cultural workers who are at the bottom of the totem pole can only believe in the possibilities of change, and look forward to it, too. Many of us try and work towards that change, but if cultural work is your bread and butter – and you’re not one of the lucky ones who comes from privilege to… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 28 Jan 2016

Ai Weiwei, beyond Western claims

Though it was apt to kick-off a year with the promise of writing more about art, and hopefully more about art outside of this country (haha!), with the first Ai Weiwei exhibit in China, something that I happened upon when I was there in September, and rebelling against the very fixed and strict schedule set for the media group I was with. So I got in a cab and asked in my Chinese-English (which is really just English with a… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 25 Jan 2016

Blaspheming against the bul-ol

There is no looking at Ronald Ventura’s work without having in the back of my head that $1.1M dollar record-breaking sale at the 2011 Sotheby’s auction. In 2012 it seems he’s also had a good run at art auctions such as the Christie’s auction in Hong Kong last last year, which shouldn’t be a surprise really. Between the interest in Southeast Asian art and 2011’s record-breaking sale, it would seem strange if Ventura were not to ride that wave. It… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 08 Jun 2015

on Rai Cruz’s Urban Modifications

NOTE: Urban Modifications is on exhibit at Vinyl on Vinyl at The Collective in Malugay. Seize The Daze Photography has always been embroiled in the question of impropriety: what is it that you seize, that you catch in a frozen frame, other than what is expected, if not what is obvious?

Saturday ∗ 21 Mar 2015

competition* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

Here’s to the friendship that could have been ours: wife of my lover, lover of my husband, lover of my lover. For women at both ends are always rivals: smiling for points at a beauty contest, icing the cake at a cooking competition, sprinting for the gold as they race to a man’s heart.

Monday ∗ 16 Mar 2015

relationships and freedom* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

I. You are the earth and all that earth implies: The gravity that ballasts me in space, The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries For food and shelter against devouring days. You are the earth whose orbit marks my way And sets my north and south, my east and west, You are the final elemental clay The driven heart must turn to for its rest.

Thursday ∗ 12 Mar 2015

the violence of words* #WomensMonth2015 #IAmNotMyShoes

Ginahasa ako ng mga salita, Paulit-ulit, Paulit-ulit, Hanggang magutay ang diwa. Buntis ang alaala Sa mga alimura, Pasa-pasa ang puso’t Lama’y salanta. — Ruth Elynia Mabanglo, 1992.

Friday ∗ 23 Jan 2015

The end of the (art) affair*

My tendency in the past four years that I’ve been writing about and reviewing local art has been to be kind. I stopped reviewing art I didn’t like unless my editors assigned it to me; I would look at art events and could not but appreciate the effort that organizers put into it, even when it was clear to me that celebrating local art in this way is the height of superficiality. Artists earn money in these events, after all,… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 26 Nov 2014

the last of kolchor for 2014

the days have been long, though filled with too many things happening, and certainly even more happening in the shadows, beyond public scrutiny: this is the Philippines after all. so first a list, because there is also quite a lot of work to do, but also there is so much to talk about, and i feel like the three people who read this blog (haha!) might be wondering where i am, why so silent. well here i am. 

Wednesday ∗ 08 Oct 2014

The National Historical Omission!

The mess that is the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is something that’s become obvious not so much because of its involvement in Paoay Church renovations, or questionable engagements with heritage site reconstructions, but more because there seems to be no effort at all on its part to be more transparent about its projects, ones that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts has no choice but give it some money for. And this is the thing: we’re talking millions in… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 04 Oct 2014

the Marcoses’ embarrassment of riches

It is always with a heavy heart — yes medyo OA — that I read / listen to discourse about the Marcos’s wealth of art and clothes and shoes, the ones that history tells us we have paid for, but which is handled with nary care or creativity by the powers-that-be as we get these back from the Marcoses. 

Monday ∗ 09 Jun 2014

notes on Gawad Buhay, democratization, and the anxiety of smallness

this year was the first time i even cared enough to go to Gawad Buhay, and that is really because of a good three things: my love for Tuxqs Rutaquio, my love of Layeta Bucoy, and my new-found discovery of and respect for the kind of hard work that Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company stands for. which is of course to wear my heart on my sleeve (obvious ba), and really to point at some of my good ol’ biases, the… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 06 Apr 2014

rising to the occasion: on “Cock” and the text as king

My refusal to compare foreign texts with local ones is based on the notion of independence. That is, I’d rather grant a local work with as much individuality as possible, and save it from what — to me — would be a false because unfair comparison with foreign work that I (on most counts) would not have seen anyway. I imagine I can be criticized for having such tunnel vision, or allowing local theater such leeway when critiquing its adaptations.… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 30 Mar 2014

12 Pinay celebrities to be thankful for

It was difficult to celebrate Women’s Month at a time when the Pinay remains under attack, even when she’d like to think otherwise. To me it happens on the level of a beauty industry that has standardized what it is we mean by beautiful, as it does happen on the level of a Catholic Church that continues to take a stand against the Reproductive Health Law, after we have fought for it for 14 years. Scientific and common sense would… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 08 Feb 2014

the anxiety of rain: on Rak Of Aegis

It was difficult to imagine a musical that could use Aegis’s diverse discography, one that spans 15 years of the band’s existence, and seven albums. From posters and press releases it was clear that PETA’s Rak Of Aegis was using the song “Basang-basa sa Ulan” as center, with the obvious premise of … uh … rain to tell what would be a painfully contemporary story for nation. It was difficult to be optimistic, but it sure was easy to get… Continue reading »

Tuesday ∗ 28 Jan 2014

some waiting required: on “Wait Until Dark”

the thing with expectation is that it can be your undoing. for watching theater, i refuse to listen to the soundtrack of a musicale, or to read the script (when available) of a play, lest i start singing (or saying those lines) out loud while sitting as audience. sometimes though, the poster, the press release, is all one needs to build excitement. that is true for Repertory Philippines’ Wait After Dark. sold as a suspense thriller, one could also only be excited… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 27 Jan 2014

Dolphy, national artist*

It’s difficult to imagine childhood without Dolphy, even when all he was to me was the image of a father on television, even as who I identified with was Maricel Soriano or Claudine Barretto playing his daughters in two different sitcoms, across two different generations. At some point this father image became interwoven with that of Enteng Kabisote, father to Aiza. The images are real to me, the characterization of fatherhood that was protective but had difficulty providing, that was… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 04 Nov 2013

on “I used to be able to talk to myself. Now we just argue.”

It was jarring to enter the individual space for Ronald Caringal’s recent exhibit, to find all but nine images that look like comic book illustrations. All in black and white, these are close-ups of faces, familiar but not exactly someone you’d know. They are all speaking, some more adamant, more frustrated, more incensed than others. Other faces have lips pursed, eyes looking out to the spectator, spoken for by the words emblazoned within the canvas. The story unfolds.

Wednesday ∗ 09 Oct 2013

OTC: on the contrary (OTJ, Transit & the indie)

The truth is that while we celebrate local films, especially independently-produced ones, it seems important to point out that many other things come into play at this point as far as declaring any movie a critical success. That is, there is the social media bandwagon, where “public perception” is deemed powerful, and no one is allowed to think differently about a movie lest one is pounced on like some enemy.

Friday ∗ 27 Sep 2013

not a Santi Bose

Leon Gallery is holding what it calls a “Magnificent September Auction” tomorrow, September 28. as of today, its catalogue for tomorrow carries a work entitled “Heart Assemblage” that it has wrongfully attributed to Santiago Bose. Leon Gallery has been contacted about this major faux pax (i am being kind) by the family of Bose. a letter received by the gallery on September 16 from Bose’s wife Peggy asked that Leon Gallery “kindly and immediately remove the name of Santiago Bose as the… Continue reading »

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