A History of Struggle: Philippine Art Remembers 1521
The exhibition A History of Struggle: Philippine Art Remembers 1521 responds to the contexts surrounding the commemoration of the 500 years of the first circumnavigation of the world through the works of Philippine contemporary artists. It threads through simultaneously local and global events such as Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage, the triumph of Lapu-Lapu, and the first Catholic Mass in Asia. Recalling these historical moments serves as an opportunity for the artists to interpret the implications of a fraught history in the pandemic present and the contemporary reflections evoked by it.
Exploring social criticism, allegory, counter-history, alternative mythology, and other visual strategies, the artists for the exhibition offer diverse responses in the registers of a revisit and a projection. A History of Struggle prompts them to risk imagery and technique while remaining rooted in the artistic resources that have made them strongly placed to speculate creatively on this arduous history of struggle.
The sensibilities and sources of the artists included in this exhibition vary and embody a wide range of commitments. A History of Struggle enlivens this diversity to cast postcolonial Philippine history more decisively and translate this history to insightful artistic form.
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“Five hundred years from now and five hundred parallel earths from ours, a mighty empire’s armada broke the peace that reigned in this pocket of the multiverse. Circumnavigating space-time in a crusade to purge all other faiths, the invaders sought to conquer this pearl of a hidden world. But this pearl had defenders of its own. Its shamans summoned supernatural forces and the celestial god-being, LL-3000, to confront the onslaught. Thus begins the battle between the legions of technology and the forces of magic – in a cataclysmic reckoning that will flood the stars with the fires of war.”