The La Trobe Art Institute (LAI) and the Ateneo Art Gallery, Manila, successfully launched the exhibition Mutable Truths: Perspectives in Contemporary Philippine Art in Bendigo on Wednesday night.
The launch event was an opportunity to celebrate a decade of the successful artist in residence program between La Trobe University and Ateneo de Manila University. The ten exhibiting artists were past recipients of the Ateneo Art Award for outstanding emerging Filipino artists under the age of 36, and has included a six-week residency at the La Trobe Visual Arts Centre (now LAI).
Those involved in making the program a success over the past ten years had the opportunity to gather together for the first time. Seven of the ten exhibiting artists travelled from the Philippines to attend, along with Fr Jose Ramon T Villarin, President of Ateneo de Manila University, Dr Marlu Vilches, Vice President of Loyola Schools, Ateneo de Manila University and Ma. Victoria T Herrera, Director and Chief Curator of Ateneo Art Gallery.
La Trobe University was also well represented, with Pro Vice-Chancellor (Regional) Professor Richard Speed (College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce), Dr Trevor Hogan, Director of the Philippines Australia Studies Centre, and Director, Research of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Karen Quinlan, Director of the La Trobe Art Institute, Dr Adrian Jones OAM, Director of Teaching and Learning, Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr Terrie Waddell, Head of Department, Creative Arts and English, and Dr Vincent Alessi, Senior Lecturer, Visual Arts and Design Department, in attendance.
Speaking to the assembled guests, Director Herrera said the exhibition was the first time the artists had worked together, with the diversity of their practice represented in the show.
“The artworks reflect what is happening now in the Philippines, with attempts to revise our history. Truths have mutated into different stories,” said Ma. Herrera.
Mutable Truths was officially opened at La Trobe Art Institute’s Bendigo gallery by Dr Hogan, who has been instrumental in establishing and fostering the University’s relationship with Ateneo de Manila University, which is now in its 17th year. He praised the artists, cities, markets, and committed institutions such as La Trobe and Ateneo, which enable contemporary art practice to thrive.
Fr Villarin also addressed guests, reflecting light-heartedly on the rise in Bendigo’s population and traffic which the artists have witnessed since their residencies in the last decade. He expressed his hope that the traffic in creativity, ideas and people between the two organisations would also get ‘more congested’.
“The challenge is to see if we can find new things to create with these bridges we have started,” said Fr. Jett.
In wrapping up the formal part of the evening, Pro-Vice Chancellor Speed acknowledged the dedication of departing Managing Curator and exhibition co-curator Paul Northam to the Ateneo partnership.
“He has built a specialist art institute and a unique resource for the La Trobe network,” said Professor Speed.
Guests at the opening, including La Trobe students and staff, local artists, friends and LAI supporters, enjoyed mingling with the artists and curators and viewing the works over canapés and wine from Mandurang Valley Wines, a valued sponsor of the La Trobe Art Institute.
Mutable Truths: Perspectives in Contemporary Philippine Art runs from now until Sunday 30 April at La Trobe Art Institute, 121 View Street, Bendigo. Gallery opening hours are Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm, and weekends 12pm-5pm. Entry is free.
The Mutable Truths catalogue is available for $30 from the La Trobe Art Institute’s Bendigo gallery.