Poklong Anading ’95 and Marina Cruz ’00 at Ateneo Art Gallery

One year after winning the 2008 Ateneo Art Awards, Poklong Anading and Marina Cruz Garcia bring us two shows, both coming off from their respective residency grants  from the Common Room Networks Foundation in Bandung, Indonesia and the La Trobe University Visual Arts Center in Sydney.


Poklong’s divides his exhibit space into two parts, one for his sound project, the other for his video

Poklong Anading, Drunken Revelry video installation

installation.  Both sites revolve around his experience with the Perahu , a somewhat crude wooden toy boat, readily available in the markets of Bandung.

With Indonesian musicians and artists, he recorded the noise the Perahu makes in a cauldron of water and used this as the base on which they combined other sounds.  To allow us to focus fully on his auditory experience, we enter a completely dark room, and sit at the center. After the sounds wash over you, and your eyes adjust to the dimness, you move to the next part of the exhibit.

Poklong set up his video installation in a small room leading off from the first room, in what usually serves as the gallery’s stockroom.  You move into this tiny spot, and settle down to enjoy his video. Poklong projects his images onto unused gallery equipment and stored sculpture. This time we see red, yellow, and blue Perahu moving in water, shots taken from above.  Occasionally, we see children’s hands manipulating them.  The uneven surface, coupled with the repeating movement of the primary colored boats going round in circles, and the sound that still emanates from the other room,  all come together and  mesmerize.  What a trip!


Un/Fold Marina Cruz, dresses of twins made from chicken feed sacks


Marina has made her family’s history our story too.  Like a favorite tv series, we feel like we’ve come to know them intimately, the twins Elisa and Laura, Lola Eding who lovingly sewed their clothes,  and the dresses themselves, starched and ruffled, embroidered and laced.  All have provided material for Marina’s art.  Her fascination takes a different turn here, yet not

Like plaques on the wall

completely divesting itself of what identifies the work as Marina’s.  She continues to explore her biography, albeit now, in a very contemporary way.

She chooses to chronicle the lives of the twins, Marina’s mother and aunt, by a visual

Detail of embroidery from an illustration from Philippine Graphic magazine

progression of their dresses, 100 of them, all made by their mother.  We see the dresses themselves, arranged chronologically, always two of a kind.  On the walls, like graduation plaques, she frames pictures of the dresses with notations she wrote herself  of the memories associated with those dresses.   They make for fascinating reading, those scribbled words of hers.  Here, one evokes the memory of a particularly strict teacher.  Another brings back a day spent at the old  Manila Hotel.

Another pair of identical dresses for identical twins Elisa and Laura

And when you look through the dresses, you feel like you get a glimpse into another time, when RTW did not exist and every family, no matter how modest the means, engaged the services of a modista .  Or when chicken feed came in sacks good enough to clothe ones girls.  Or even when local literature, like the Philippine Graphic, from which the twins’ father got his illustrations from, was read regularly at home.

An added treat to visitors of the two exhibits?  Viewing the Ateneo Art Gallery’s permanent collection of pieces from the bequest of Ferando Zobel.

Drunken Revlery and Un/Fold are on view at the Ateneo Art Gallery from 2 July to 14 August 2009.  Artists Talks are on 8 July at 1030 am with Poklong Anading, and at 15 July at 430 pm with Marina Cruz.  For more information call (632)426-6488.  The Ateneo Art Gallery is at the G/F Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City


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