Walong Filipina 2010 History
launched March 25, 2010, Liongoren Gallery, Cubao Quezon City to celebrate Women’s Month (March) and World Earth Day (April)
traveled to Liongoren Gallery, Dagupan, Pangasinan, April 17-May 1
will open at CCP, October 14, 2010
Eight Filipina environmentalists
- Evelyn Cacha, founder of Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN) in Mindoro;
- UP Tacloban Dean Margarita dela Cruz; Sis.
- Luz Emmanuel of Assumption Antipolo;
- environmental lawyer Ipat Luna;
- Judea Millora, a waste management expert;
- Jurgenne Primavera, renowned advocate of sustainable fish farming and mangrove conservationist;
- Lydia Robledo, butterfly habitat conservation advocate, and
- Luz Sabas, 80 years old, who together with her late husband pioneered waste management in the Philippines.
Eight Filipino artists
- Egai Talusan Fernandez
- Efren Garcellano
- Renato Habulan
- Rico Palacio
- Mario de Rivera
- Mark Salvatus
- Jojit Solano
- PG Zoluaga
- Ceres Canilao,
- Hemerson Dimacale,
- Aleth Gayosa,
- Romena Luciano,
- Virna Odiver
- Mai Saporsantos,
- Debbie Virata
- Prof. Flaudette May V. Datuin, co-curator and faculty-in-charge
Background: Walong Filipina through the Years
From a busy and congested section of Cubao, Quezon City, Manila, self-taught curator Norma Liongoren has been presenting—for two decades now—a series called Walong Filipina (Eight Filipinas) and has shown the works of close to a hundred women artists from the time it was first held in March 1990 at a two-storey residential structure converted into a gallery.
Through the years, Walong Filipina focused on presenting the work of eight women artists per year, as part of Liongoren’s efforts to highlight these women’s infinite talents, represented by the number eight’s closed form and infinite loop. However, in the Walong Filipina 1998 edition, which commemorated the Centennial of the 1898 Philippine Revolution, the number eight would have one other significance: it would also represent the first eight provinces that revolted against the Spanish rule over the Philippine islands. And instead of inviting women artists, the gallery made an interesting deviation by paying tribute to eight Filipina revolutionaries during the period of dissent against Spanish colonial rule. Eight male artists were invited to portray and choose from the book Women in the Philippine Revolution (edited by Rafaelita Hilario Soriano) eight Katipuneras (women members of the Katipunan, the lead revolutionary organization founded and led by Andres Bonifacio).
The 2010 edition follows this track by inviting another set of eight male artists, who pay tribute this time to eight Filipina environmentalists: These are: Evelyn Cacha, co-founder of Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN) in Mindoro; UP Tacloban Dean Margarita dela Cruz; Sis. Luz Emmanuel of Assumption Antipolo; environmental lawyer Ipat Luna; Dr. Judea Millora, a waste management expert; Jurgenne Primavera, renowned advocate of sustainable fish farming; Lydia Robledo, butterfly habitat conservation advocate, and Luz Sabas, 80 years old, who together with her late husband pioneered waste management in the Philippines.
The advocacies of these eight women are portrayed by noted visual artists Egai Talusan Fernandez, Efren Garcellano, Renato Habulan, Rico Palacio, Mario de Rivera, Mark Salvatus, Jojit Solano and PG Zoluaga.
The theme of environmental awareness was first explored in the sixth Walong Filipina show in 1995 when the featured women artists created works from volcanic ash spewed by Mt. Pinatubo’s explosion in 1991, pina cloth, twigs, earthenware, tinalad (tie-dyed textile from the t’volis of Mindanao) and other local materials. The environmental theme was subsequently more directly addressed in the 2000 and 2001 shows, entitled Sa Ngalan ng Kalikasan I at II (In the Name of Nature I and II), respectively.
The 2010 show continues to address what has become for Liongoren a very urgent issue, particularly following the tragic floods spurred by several typhoons in 2009. But what was most unique for this year was the inclusion of eight researchers-writers from a University of the Philippines Art Studies class under the mentorship of Prof. Flaudette May Datuin, who formed the eighth member of a class composed of seven students: Ceres Canilao, Hemerson Dimacale, Aleth Gayosa, Romena Luciano, Virna Odiver Mai Saporsantos, Debbie Virata. Aside from acting as liaison between honorees and artists, the students also wrote the exhibition wall notes, helped install the works, provided the artists with information, at times editorializing and synthesizing the works of the Filipinas, and interpreting the art works, grounded on information they receive from the artists, and keeping a close watch on how the works evolved from concept to finished artwork.
Since the start of the semester in November 2009, the class has been addressing the question: How does art help heal the earth? How do artists help in making the planet more livable? Called “Special Problems (Art Studies 198),” meaning the teacher is free to choose an issue to focus on, the course revolved around the theme: “Beyond Relief: Art in a State of Calamity.” Spurred by the floods of Typhoon Ondoy, the class decided to collaborate with Liongoren, realizing that Walong Filipina provides the platform, not only to help in the campaign towards environmental awareness, but also to understand and underline the role of art and culture in the whole movement towards saving the planet. Working with Liongoren Gallery as researchers and writers for this year’s Walong Filipina, the class has come to more concretely realize that the crisis we now refer to as “environmental” can be understood, not just as a scientific problem but a cultural one. The destruction of sea, land and air is not just about “science,” but more about culture, attitude, values. The erosion of the soil is all about the erosion of a sense of place; the depletion of the ozone layer springs from the depletion of a sense of identity, connection to and affection for one’s place – one’s community, one’s school, one’s neighborhood, one’s dwelling. In other words, healing the earth means healing, not just poverty in the material and economic sense, but the poverty of the imagination and the spirit.
Through their art and life, the Filipinas we honor and the artists that give concrete form to this tribute embody the concept of art as techne, which refers not just to mechanical skills and instruments, “but to all kinds of artful managing and careful shaping,” as Thomas Moore puts it. Art is therefore not just about producing objects or performing songs and dances to raise funds for relief. Through their artful living, the exemplary Filipinas and artists in this show us other possibilities, not just of relieving the many traumas brought about by the erosion of our sense of place, but more importantly, of re-making and re-shaping our world, creatively and imaginatively. Walong Filipina make us realize that art and artists enjoin us imagine, and that indeed: to imagine is to hope.
It is in this context of bringing art and science together to transmit a message of hope and renewal that Walong Filipina opened on March 25, 2010, near the end of Women’s Month, and close to the start of April, the Earth Month; and traveled to its first stop outside Manila is Liongoren Gallery, Dagupan, Pangasinan where it ran from April 17 to May 1. On its third leg, it opens at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Small Gallery, October 14, 6pm and runs till November 28.
A lecture-workshop on environment protectin by two honorees, Luz Sabas and Ipat Luna, precedes the opening reception, 2-5.30 pm.
College students are also encouraged to join the essay writing contest, aiming to develop writers who will create awareness on protecting the environment through art.
It is hoped that as the exhibition moves from site to site with forums, workshops and the essay writing contest, the number of destinations , artists, honorees, writers and advocates from all other fields will “snowball,” and increase exponentially through time. –
Flaudette May Datuin, Associate Professor, Department of Art Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman