Dislocation, transformation, transplanting; it’s all about memories.
—Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan
Cagayan Garden (2017) was created during a Bellas Artes Projects residency at Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan by Australia-based, Filipino artists Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, along with their children Miguel, Diego, Amiyah, Leon, and Aniway.
Born in the Cagayan Valley in 1962, Alfredo Aquilizan was inspired by four original wooden houses from Cagayan province that had been transferred to their current location in Bataan in 2000. This residency triggered a connection and a memory of home away from home for the Aquilizan family, who were moved to create an environment that would be a quiet homage to those who left home and lie outside categorical boxes of belonging. Originally installed in Bataan from January until June 2017 using found wooden posts from old houses
shifted from their original locations across the country, as well as marble pellets left over from the construction of a church, this installation has been further displaced and installed here, in the heart of Makati, where we can consider the relationship between construction, destruction, and the futile human desire to create spaces of permanence in a transient world. Multiple layers of migration and displacement are part of the Aquilizan’s experience, which they share here with us through the many times displaced posts that make up Cagayan Garden.
The installation also references a classical Zen garden, a space for contemplation that invites us to think about the processes of migration that the materials underwent to finally become the garden. While beautiful, waves of melancholy and an underlying sense of loneliness passes through the space, tied to the longing to find “home.” In Bataan, the installation was transformed at noon, as the midday sun poured through the slatfloorboards of the Cagayan houses, causing geometric patterns of light to appear on the garden floor. While these stripes were ephemeral in Bataan, here at the Outpost, Cagayan Garden is suspended in a perpetual state of noon, isolating a moment to consider the role of time and labour in our lives.
In Bataan, the installation was transformed at noon, as the midday sun poured through the slatfloorboards of the Cagayan houses, causing geometric patterns of light to appear on the garden floor. While these stripes were ephemeral in Bataan, here at the Outpost, Cagayan Garden is suspended in a perpetual state of noon, isolating a moment to consider the role of time and labour in our lives.
Complimenting Cagayan Garden is a second installation, Thrones (2017), comprised of seemingly sculptural wooden chairs that the craftsmen and -women at Las Casas workshops created for themselves as customized platforms that allow their bodies to work best. At noon in Bataan, these chairs are left empty, and during the exhibition, we invite vistors to sit and to share their ideas on skill, labour, and its value in society. Together, these two works create a space for a bodily contemplation of labour and dislocation, providing a context to move beyond narratives of loss or nostalgia, and proposing migration as a space to think from.
August 15–October 14, 2017
Curated by Diana Campbell Betancourt
Antonio Aguilar, Johannes Balagso, Jaime Cabase Jr., Jelly Canita, Chopin Copillo, Lea De Leon, Rowel Dieta, Jason Isaac, Ricardo Grimpula, Ross Lee Huarde, Richie Mazo, Ronnie Megan, and Maricris Meiji.