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Köken Ergun

Köken is a Turkish artist working in film and installation. Having studied acting at the İstanbul University, Ergun completed his postgraduate diploma degree in Ancient Greek Literature at King’s College London, followed by an MA degree on Art History at the Bilgi University.

After working with American theatre director Robert Wilson, Ergun became involved with video and film. His multi-channel video installations have been exhibited internationally at institutions including Garage Moscow, Documenta 14, Paris Triennale, SALT, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Protocinema, KIASMA, Digital ArtLab Tel Aviv, Casino Luxembourg, Para-Site and Kunsthalle Winterthur.

Köken arrived in Manila to install Binibining Promised Land (2010) for the exhibition “Fairest of the Fair” at Bap’s Outpost in Makati. Exhibiting for the very first time in the Philippines, the video installation documents the annual beauty pageant organised by Overseas Filipino Workers in Israel.

Realized at a time before the widespread use of smartphones, and in the very first years of social media, the moving image in Ergun’s work manifests as a tool for visibility and empowerment for a minority whose struggles are almost invisible within Israel’s public sphere and the debates around rightful citizenship in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pageants within the Filipino community are outlets for self-expression and escapism, as well as for patriotic pride, which are often felt more acutely in diasporic contexts.

Binibining Promised Land is currently on display in the exhibition “Carving Reality” curated by Inti Guerrero at Casa Quiapo in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar alongside photographs by Hit Man Gurung and Sheelasha Rajbhandari and few of the many intricately made figurative wood carving pieces by artisans Rolly Cordez and Arnold “Buboy” Flores, who appear in the photos by Hit Man and Sheelasha. The video manifests as a tool for visibility and empowerment for a minority whose struggles are almost invisible within Israel’s public sphere and the debates around rightful citizenship.

The exhibition is a first approach of a larger interest at BAP to bring into dialogue the work of Filipino and international artists addressing representations of migrant labour.

In addition to the exhibition, Koken also lead an ESKWELA seminar On Filmmaking which included an Artist Talk that can be viewed here

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