Almost three months into the Covid-19 lockdown, with museums, theaters, and other art spaces still…
Photographic works of 30 professional photographers, mostly Filipinos, form the core of the Not Visual Noise exhibition at the Ateneo Art Gallery, Ateneo de Manila University. It runs until 29 March 2020.
It spans a diverse range of subject matter such as migration, family, folk religion, travel, material objects, work, extrajudicial killing, loss, destruction, and memories. Representing a wide range of photographic practice and its nuances, it includes photojournalism, long-form documentary as well as conceptual photography, photography-based media installation, and projects based on the web and social media.
Angel Velasco Shaw, the guest curator, notes that the selected photographers are essentially documentarians, "of their interests, aesthetic and social concerns, and of the times in which they live — merging the/ir past and present" through the medium of photography
Beyond Two Dimension
Nap Jamir (b.1952) explores his "photographic journey’s expanding parameters" in
Underbelly Window 1, 2, and 3 (2019), three works of wooden window frames with glass jalousies, video monitor, and photo collage. In Fragments, a large-scale photograph is ripped apart and layered with another one, bending and curling, to form a new three-dimensional collage. A cinematographer and a director for film and television, Jamir teaches at the UP College of Fine Arts and UP Film Institute.
Kidlat de Guia (b. 1975) weaves strips of cut, pasted, or sliced photographs to form layers of images, made hidden or visible in its warp and weft, as seen in Manong 1,2, and 3 (2015).
Veejay Villafranca (b. 1982) focuses on folk Catholicism, faith healing rituals, and the infamous psychic healers of Baguio, in Barrio Sagrado: Living with Religiosity and Catholicism in the Philippines. He received the 2008 Ian Parry Scholarship Grant, London on his work on gang members in Baseco, Manila. The first Filipino to be selected in the 2013 Joop Swart Masterclass program in Amsterdam, he is now the Manila correspondent for the Getty Images Global Assignments.
Wawi Navarroza (b. 1979) displays a darkroom installation and photographic assemblage with video, By Silver, By Light (2019) in honor of her grandfather, Cristituto Navarroza Sr, a photographer in a small town in Bato, Leyte. The work anchors a cluster of black-and white-photographs that represent an archive of her grandfather's works between 1940s to the 1970s. Navarroza's awards include the Asian Council Scholarship Grant New York, CCP's Thirteen Artists Awards, and the Sovereign Art Prize 2018.
Geloy Concepcion (b. 1992) offers a visual journal of immigration in the San Francisco Bay Area, as seen through his young family's daily experience of settling in, replicated by so many others in pursuit of the American Dream. (Sanctuario, 2019). A fine arts graduate of the University of Santo Tomas, his awards include the 2017 Human Rights and Arts Festival and the 2016 Pride Photo Awards (Reyna de las Flores: Manila's Golden Gays).
Nana Buxani (b. 1966) observes a day in the life of Hazel Arado, Welder/Assembler (2018), a woman in a non-traditional job of welding, and still responsible for cooking and taking care of her children, all in a day's work.
MM Yu (b. 1978) presents a densely packed mixed media collection of objects inside artist studios in Subject/Object (2001-2019). It chronicles "the surrounding context in which a work is perceived, identified, situated, and produced." Mari Kondo may frown, but such organized chaos has provided inspiration and motivation for many artists.
Tommy Hafalla (b. 1957) captures the life and rituals of the peoples of the Cordilleras from 1981 to 2011. Ili, his collection of photographs, was published in 2018. He received the CCP's Thirteen Artists Awards in 1992 and the 2009 Humanity Photo Awards for his work Cliff Hanger: Death Rite about the cliff burials of Sagada.
Working through the night, three photojournalists document Duterte's drug war, extrajudicial killings, and its consequences.
Ezra Acayan (b. 1993) records Duterte's Fake War and works on social issues and human rights. In 2018, he received the Ian Parry Scholarship Award for Achievement for his series, Duterte's War On Drugs Is Not Over, and the Lucie Foundation Photo Taken Emerging Scholarship as well as the Young Photographer of the Year at the Istanbul Photo Awards.
Raffy Lerma (b. 1978) shares his works, Inhuman. A former photographer for the Daily Inquirer, he took the well-known "Pieta" photo showing the lifeless body of Michael Siaron cradled by his weeping partner in 2016.
Carlo Gabuco (b. 1981) depicts The Other Side of Town (2016-2019). A fine arts graduate of the Philippine Women's University, he was the photojournalist for Rappler's Impunity Series with writer Patricia Evangelista. They won the top prize for the English multimedia category of the Human Rights Press Awards in 2017.
Beyond the obsessive-compulsive banality of taking selfies, the exhibition's strength lies on the critical eye of photographers who dare to look closer, to look beyond. And to tell compelling narratives through images by "drawing with light."