Singapore art show features Talaandig artists

One of the proposed art works submitted by the Talaandig artists to the organizers of Singapore Biennale 2013| Courtesy of

Image of a proposed art work submitted by the Talaandig artists to the organizers of Singapore Biennale 2013.| Courtesy of

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News/28 October) The Singapore Biennale 2013, Singapore’s platform for international dialogue in contemporary art, has featured the Talaandig artists led by Waway Saway among 82 artists and art groups from 13 countries in Southeast Asia. 

Organised by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM) and supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, the National Arts Council and the National Heritage Board, the show opens from October 26, 2013 to February 16, 2014.

The Talaandig artists’ entry is dubbed “Memories of the Peoples of the Earth: The Talaandig Revolution 2013. The collaborative piece is a work of 10 artists, said Salima Saway Agra-an who spoke to this reporter before travelling to Singapore.

The four-month art show focused on the theme: “If the World changed,” which according to its website” invites artists to reconsider the world we live in, and the worlds we want to live in.“

Based on the description used in the show’s website on the Talaandig artists’ entry it said that:

“The landscape is a familiar subject in art, and here, land itself – in its constituent elements of soil and earth – literally forms the medium of this ‘soil painting’. It is rendered in hues and shades extracted from 14 types of clay found in the indigenous Talaandig people’s ancestral territory of Songco in Bukidnon province, Mindanao.”

The painting, according to the description, portrays the manifold worlds they traverse: between the past and the present, mythologies and hard realities, agricultural corporate behemoths and sustainable farming, the earthly and the spiritual.

Finally, the painting is described as a collaborative work that “asserts their right to self-determination through living traditions and contemporary expressions, which include music, weaving, dance and oral literary narratives.”

Agra-an told Bukidnon News they also used soil in the painting to advocate for this medium that is widely available in their homeland and anywhere.

She said they used soil painting to express their thoughts on their culture, traditions, and way of life.

“Everybody can afford to use soil in expressing themselves in visual art aside from it is also earth-friendly and organic,” she added.

She said they have dreamt of Bukidnon becoming the soil painting capital of the world.

According to a news story posted on the organizer’s website, Singapore Biennale 2013 (SB2013) “has harnessed the energy of the Southeast Asian region to bring to the fore unique practices, concerns and myriad perspectives of artists from this part of the world.”

About 27 curators worked on the art works, the organizers said, adding a significant 93 percent of works are by artists or collectives from the region, “resulting in the strongest Asian representation to date.”

They noted that a substantive number of works have also been specially commissioned for SB2013, and are being shown for the first time in the show.

“Viewed holistically, the collection explores concepts such as spirituality; histories, ancestries and futures; the self and the other; exchanges as well as nature and geographies,” organizers said in an update on October 24.

Dr. Susie Lingham, Director of Singapore Art Museum, said, as quoted in a report posted on the art show’s website that the Biennale was the perfect opportunity for them to showcase (Southeast Asia’s) complexity and dynamism, furthering our effort to raise the profile of our region’s contemporary art and artists at a much more intense level.

“We hope that through the artists and works presented, visitors will come away with a sense of the deep connectedness within the region, as well as an appreciation of the cultural and artistic diversity in contemporary Southeast Asia,” she added.

During the opening weekend, the show’s artists and curators will share about the creative processes and ideas behind their works in person on-site. In addition, visitors can look forward to themed tours led by Singapore-based Biennale curators that will explore various topics and ideas reflected in Biennale works, according to the update on the website

Aside from Waway Saway and Salima Saway Agra-an, the other artists in the group participating in SB 2013 include Marcelino “Balugto” Necosia Jr, Raul Sungkit Bendit, Soliman Poonon,  RJ Sumingsang Saway, Niño Dave Tecson, Christian Lloyd Eslao, Adelfa “Nanay Ipa” Saway Kinuyog, and Renjielou Salem.

Most of the artists in the group have also presented their works in various exhibits such as Kalinawa Art Awards Foundation, Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards, Agyu sa Lupa, Philippine-Korean Visual Arts Exchange Exhibit in Manila and Huning Lumad in Cebu.  (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News.Net)