'High Noon at Cagayan Valley' by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan is an initiative that evolved from the artists’ ongoing residency program at Bellas Artes Projects (BAP) in Manila. Originally from the Philippines, but currently based in Brisbane, Australia, the collaborative duo is known to produce art that reflects their personal experience of migration and the notion of home, identity and belonging.
With ‘High Noon at Cagayan Valley’, the husband and wife team were commissioned to create new works in relation to the heritage project, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. Throughout the BAP’s residency site in Bataan are historical Spanish-Filipino-American style houses, where the duo spent time understanding the buildings’ interwoven history and engaging with the local craftsmen. This thus became the focal point for their artistic projects.
Of the two-part exhibition, the first installation, Cagayan Garden (2017) hovers close to Alfredo’s heart and his early childhood days growing up in Cagayan. Together with Isabel and their children, Alfredo collected wooden posts of antique Filipino houses that were relocated to Bataan as part of the heritage project. With this, the Aquilizans then installed these posts amidst thousands of marble chips under four wooden heritage Cagayan stilt houses on site in hopes of stimulating thoughts on dislocation, transformation, memory and collective history as a public space.
What follows from this contemplative expanse is the light that shines through the floorboard cracks of the houses, illuminating the installation with geometric stripes of sunlight at noon. Complimenting what the eye sees, this time of the day also brings out the craftsmen on site for their lunch break, intertwining the history and culture of both the past and present.
Cagayan Garden (2017) then moves into the Bellas Artes Outpost in Manila, where it the visitors will be exposed to a perpetual state of noon within its designated art space. In addition to this, the second installation Thrones (2017) comprising of sculptural wooden chairs made by craftsmen at the Bellas Artes Projects that aid them at work will be placed in the exhibition space. These chairs invite writers, artists and craftsmen to share their ideas on labour and its value in society.
'High Noon at Cagayan Valley’ is an intriguing exhibition as it not only explores its inherent theme of transformation, dislocation and re-formation through the works themselves, but also through the exhibition’s movement from its original place of conception to a dedicated art space, changing the way the works are received.
"High Noon at Cagayan Garden” will run until October 14th at Bellas Artes Outpost, Manila. For more information, click here.
Words by Kate Ng | Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.