Culture Takes Flight in Unbound at Yuchengco Museum

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byCassie Cheng

Today’s artists are global citizens. They are no longer confined to boundaries such as their birthplace, residence, or nationality. They seek inspiration, create art, and showcase their work across countries or continents. By embedding their artistic practice in nations outside their own, they challenge our notions of cultural and artistic exchange, as well as our concepts of history, memory, and identity.

In celebration of Australia Day 2013, the Australian Embassy in Manila and Yuchengco Museum present UnBound, an exhibit showcasing recent artistic exchange between Australia and the Philippines through the works of six Filipino and Australian artists who have made both countries their home. The exhibit, put together by Australian curator Gina Fairley, is on view at Yuchengco Museum from January 23 to February 20, 2013.

UnBound explores how culture moves beyond cartographic or physical boundaries, from the physical passage of the object to questioning how ideas and histories are carried and rewritten, responding to different criteria and value constructs. “How culture is transported, repackaged by these artists, and then interpreted by local audiences, sits at the core of this exhibition. It is a both an expression and a questioning of our times,” explains curator Gina Fairley. UnBound raises fresh thoughts on how we define histories, identity, and movement in our times. Using the metaphor of an airport’s transit lounge as the point of intersection for arriving and departing—for ideas of home and away—this contemporary exhibit evokes the frequency with which these artists move across the Asia Pacific.

Fairley has selected a group of six artists who live between and across the Philippines and Australia, and have been instrumental in taking the work of Filipino artists abroad. “The artists in this exhibition have been particularly committed in their desire to live and work across our two countries—one that has been driven by passion,” she shares. “As a curator it is fabulous to work with material that connects with audiences of different locations in unique and local ways. Clearly it is this passion that is felt.”

The featured artists are Alfredo & Isabel Aquilizan (Born Philippines, Live Brisbane), Maria Cruz (Born Philippines, Lives Sydney & Berlin), David Griggs (Born Melbourne, Lives Quezon City), Diokno Pasilan (Born Philippines, Lives Melbourne), Juni Salvador (Born Philippines, Lives Sydney), and Tony Twigg (Born Brisbane, Lives and works Sydney & Manila). 37 of their artworks will be on exhibit, from mediums such as painting, video, and sculpture and with pieces dating back to as early as 1995.

Tony Twigg has been coming to Manila for 20 years, having presented over 12 solo exhibitions within the Philippine art scene. Diokno Pasilan was involved with the Australia Centre as a host for visiting artists when it opened in the early 1990s; he now lives between Melbourne and Palawan and is active in both art scenes. Juni Salvador lives across and between Manila and Sydney. David Griggs in recent years has made Quezon City his home, and Maria Cruz’s career stretches from Sydney to Manila to Berlin, where she has exhibited and taught. This artistic dialogue between the Philippines and Australia started in the 1930s, when Scottish-born and European-schooled artist Ian Fairweather spent time in the Philippines painting before making Australia his home.

UnBound is presented by the Australian Embassy Manila in partnership with Yuchengco Museum in celebration of Australia Day 2013. The exhibit is on view at Yuchengco Museum from January 23 to February 20, 2013. Yuchengco Museum is located at RCBC Plaza, corner Ayala and Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenues, Makati. Museum hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (632) 889-1234 or visit


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