Masarap ang Hangin, Masarap ang Kain, Thank You Friends (An Artist's Dream)— 04.01.2021
My first introduction to the Galleon Trade — and therefore Green Papaya Art Projects — was through the artist Jenifer Wofford. I met Jenifer when I was living in San Francisco. Jenifer has this amazing ability to fundraise and, at the time, she was able to raise funds for many of our plane tickets. Jenifer and Galleon Trade introduced me to so many artists. (I’m now remembering seeing Maria Taniguchi for the first time in a mint condition Volkswagon Bug!). I returned to Manila a few months after the Galleon Trade through a Fulbright fellowship and that’s when I really got to know GP.
My first impressions of the local art scene was that it was incredibly alive and important, featuring diverse approaches to art making, and was equally local and global. I was struck by the international dialogue happening, way more than in LA where I was based at the time. There is no way to summarize a particular singular style or dominant type of art, and this felt really freeing to me as an artist. This feeling of experimentation and fearlessness by the artists exhibiting at both Mag:net (managed by Rock Drilon) and Green Papaya in turn influenced me to create first and edit later (just make!). Mag:net and Green Papaya both fostered community, connections, and dialogue — perhaps also encouraged by the most delicious food with Green Daisy. I miss both very much.
Being able to live in the Philippines for nine months and make art full time was a dream. It will always be a part of me. I had a regimented yet ideal schedule — I would make art or visit local paper shops from 10am to 6pm every day, and then often meet up with other artists and friends to see exhibits at Mag:net, Green Papaya, MO_Space, and West Gallery, or have dinner. I am forever grateful for all of the artists, curators, and friends I made during my Fulbright fellowship. (I only wish my Tagalog was better, recognizing the importance of language or how one’s first language is the most profound medium of connection. I am often sorry I could not offer this in return.)
The culmination of my Fulbright fellowship at Green Papaya meant everything to me! For the exhibition, I presented photo tableaux made from office paper I purchased at two local paper shops, as well as papier-mâché figures. The paper rooms that I photographed were constructed in Syquia (made possible by Carlos and Tesa Celdran) as well as the apartment I rented near Ateneo University (which was made possible by Jeremy Guiab and family).
My show at GP introduced my work to curators such as Yael Buencamino, Joselina Cruz, Patrick Flores, and Fumio Nanjo for example. It was with this exhibition that I also really connected with Isa Lorenzo and Rachel Rillo of Silverlens Galleries — a growing and incredible relationship we continue today.
It’s truly impossible for me to name all of the artists that helped me in so many ways: Lena Cobangbang, MM Yu, Poklong Anading, Ringo Bunoan, Louie Cordero, Nona Garcia, Patty Eustaquio, Ria Limjap, Wawi Navarroza, Denis Lagdameo, Cos Zicarelli, Yason Banal, Juan Caguicla, Romeo Lee, Gerardo Tan, Gary-Ross Pastrana, and also Professor May Datuin, among many others. Bespoke studios helped me connect with many artists. I feel lucky to have met Roberto Chabet, and again just so many friends. I think with GP, it was really Peewee’s energy and positive thinking that continually drew everyone to the space. The location in Teachers Village was really special; it was very much a place I felt at home, a sort of refuge. I will always remember the cooler air in Teachers Village, and the glowing patio light of Green Papaya.
April 1, 2021