The Hanging: Balik Bayan at Blacktown Arts Centre

October 12th 2017

Ex Nilalang Clubate

Ex Nilalang by Justin Shoulder & Bhenji Ra

Balik Bayan is a group exhibition at Blacktown Arts Centre celebrating contemporary Filipino arts and culture. Each artist draws on their personal history and culture to create works that straddle Filipino ethnicity and their Australian nationality.

Caroline Garcia’s installation is built around the concept of a ‘Palengke’, a type of public marketplace. You can’t buy anything, and if you did you’d feel like a sell out, because what you see isn’t what you get. Unknown totems are wrapped in fruit nets and plastic – like fruit in the discount bucket of your supermarket, while skin-whitening soap is carved into the shape of bananas, a gmo experiment gone wrong. Waxy and white it looks alien and abject, embodying an otherness that interrogates taste, class and race.

This reworking of Filipino traditions is also the focus of Alwin Reamillo’s ‘Bayanihan Hopping Spirit House’; a hut-sized house made from unpolished wood scaffolding. Based on the Filipino tradition of physically moving a bamboo house from one location to another usually after natural calamities, the house feels as if it’s been plucked mid activity. A fan whirs constantly to the pleasant sound of wind chimes, while children’s toys are sprawled across the floor as if left after play. The house quietly asks for attention, performing for its audience.

In a single channel video, Club Ate’s Bhenji Ra and Justin Shoulder draw on their shared Filipino heritage and celebration of queer culture to re-imagine mythologies as celebratory legends. Through performance and video based narratives we encounter the personas of Ra and Shoulder, from evil deities rippling with machine like power to underwater nymphs with metallic nails and a narcissistic pension for their own reflection. Each creature is forged from the powers of queer, migrant, spiritual and intercultural experiences.

Balik Bayan is activated by a film program and performance series, bringing together the artists, contributors and their audiences, allowing the artworks to be brought to life, just like the stories and experiences of its contributors.

 

WHAT: Balik Bayan
WHEN: until 2 Nov 2017
WHERE: Blacktown Arts Centre, Flushcombe Road Blacktown.
HOW MUCH: Free – more info here

 

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Gabby Chantiri