Aspiring artists inspired by Filipino exhibition

La Trobe's Bachelor of Creative Arts students meet with the Filipino artists exhibiting in Mutable Truths, to learn about their their artistic process, creative inspiration, and the political context in which they work.

Mutable Truths is in its final week at the La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo.

Many of the exhibiting Filipino artists visited Bendigo to install and launch the show, and took time to meet La Trobe's Bachelor of Creative Arts students. They spoke about their artistic process, creative inspiration, and the political context in which they work. Here, three of our third year students share what they took away from the unique encounter.

Visit the show before it closes this weekend, on Sunday 30 April 2017.

Mark Salvatus

2010 VAC-La Trobe Residency

Mark Salvatus (b. 1980) confronts and intervenes with the saturation of urbanisation through his performative, interactive and ephemeral projects. Here, he explores the political in the everyday, finding a universally present association among societies around the world.

Reflection, Biba Cole

I found Mark Salvatus’ Gates particularly interesting. The never-ending cycle of opening and closing gates invites us to question whether they are in fact inviting us in, or shutting us out. Salvatus talked about how the gates in Manila ranged from beautiful, grand designs, to worn, crumbling gates, all unified by the tall height that blocked passers-by from entering or viewing their house. He spoke about his experience of coming to Bendigo and seeing that most houses displayed their gardens and houses openly, rarely seeing a gate that would block the public’s view. Showing this piece in Bendigo highlights the cultural and social differences between these two specific locations.

Image: Mark Salvatus, Gates, Video installation (HDV, color, silent, loop), as per actual projection size, 2015. Photo by David Field.

Lyle Buencamino

2007 VAC-La Trobe Residency

Lyle Buencamino (b. 1978) is known for his large-scale paintings based on still shots of movies produced by the now defunct LVN Productions in the 1950s – what is often referred to as the Golden Age in Philippine cinema. The series No Fighting in the Museum began as a reflection on propriety and behavior in institutions and other similar public spaces.

Reflection, Pam Isaacs

I was interested in how Lyle Buencamino talked about accessing the archives of the film studio as a source for his paintings, his reference to the film still as a potent image in contemporary culture and the use of those films which were part of popular culture in the Philippines of the 1950s. It was fascinating to hear of the connections with his own family history, where, unbeknownst to him, his grandmother had been involved in the running of the film studio at one time in her life.

Credit L-R: Lyle Buencamino, No Fighting in the Museum 1, Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 in, 2009; No Fighting in the Museum 2, Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 in, 2009, both from the collection of Michelangelo and Lourdes Samson. Photo by David Field.

Buen Calumbayan

2013 VAC-La Trobe Residency

Through a biographical lens, Buen Calubayan (b. 1980) questions the position of his personal present as both an artist and Filipino within its historical, social and cultural past. His paintings, sculptures, archives and conceptual installations are left as evidences to the rooted investigations he enacts.

Reflection, Biba Cole

Buen Calumbayan talked about learning to doubt and decentralise what you are seeing in a gallery; to question what is seen as art. He spoke about there being more to the piece that is present in the gallery space and that the artwork itself is the tip of the iceberg. He exhibited a timeline of his life, featuring events, influences and ideas. In addition to the timeline he presented multiple documents, for example exhibition proposals, technical information, and instalment requirements. I found this idea of the process of exhibiting as the artwork very exciting. It is very unique and intriguing to see the construction of the artist himself simultaneously with the construction of his artwork as the piece itself.

Image: Buen Calumbayan, Hidalgo: Towards a History from Within. Installation view: Oil paintings appropriated from, F. R. Hidalgo’s works; Documentations, notes, timeline and diagrams. Blanc Gallery, Quezon City, 2016. Photo by David Field.

Poklong Anading

2006 – The Cross Arts Project Residency, Sydney

Poklong Anading’s (b.1975) practice utilises a wide range of media from video, installation, photography and object-making. Taking a more process-oriented and conceptual approach, his continuing inquiry takes off from issues on self-reflexivity, both of himself and others, and site-specificity, in continuing discussion about society, time and territory.

Reflection, Kathryn Tovey

I found it very interesting when Poklong Anading was talking about the concept of a lending library for artworks: the idea of borrowing artworks for a period of time and carrying this artwork with you, having it within a personal space to reflect upon. It was refreshing to hear about interacting with artwork in this way when we are so used to viewing artwork in a gallery that we usually cannot physically interact with. This small borrowing library will be of fantastic use to both the public and to the students of La Trobe (including ourselves) to draw inspiration from and perhaps add something else to these unique artworks!

Image: Poklong Anading, Shared Residence, 2017, with the participation of Lisa Andrew, Maria Cruz, Neil Fettling, David Griggs, Kiron Robinson, Juni Salvador, and Tony Twigg.

L-R Top: Maria Cruz, Tubero, Oil paint on MDF board, 9 x 12 in, 2015; Kiron Robinson, Young women floating down, Archival Pigment Inkjet print on, Baryta paper, 31 x 42 cm, 2015; Lisa Andrew, Wall pillow (synthetic surfaces), Dye sublimation on polyester, neoprene, poly fibre stuffing, 54 x 77 x 2 cm, 2017;  David Griggs
Gay Skull Cowboy, Oil on canvas, 51 x 40.5 cm, 2016.

L-R Bottom: Tony Twigg, Poklong 4 wish bones, Enamel paint on timber construction, 44.5 x 44.5 cm/ 89 x 21.5 cm, 2017; Juni Salvador, Neither Here Nor There, Ready mades / Ceramic plate, and wood stand, 85 x 75 cm
2017; Neil Fettling, You know, I’m one of a kind, Mixed media, 38.5 x 53.5 cm, 2007, Poklong Anading, every water is an island, Video projection, Variable size, 2013 – present.

Photo by David Field.

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