Legarda: Convergence of Gov’t Agencies Led PHL Return to Venice Biennale

April 15, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the Philippines’ return to the Venice Biennale following a five-decade absence shows the importance not only of government support to enriching arts and culture but also of the convergence of government agencies.


Legarda, the principal advocate for the Philippines’ participation in the 56th International Art Exhibition in Venice, Italy, said that the project would not have been possible without the full cooperation and effective coordination among government agencies, particularly the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda.


“I am very happy that the Philippines is back in the Venice Biennale. It was not an easy journey but it proved that when there is a clear vision and when all stakeholders work together, nothing is impossible. The Philippines’ return is proof of what convergence among government agencies can do,” she said.


“I am thankful because NCCA Chairman Felipe De Leon, Jr. and DFA Secretary Albert Del Rosario have been very supportive from the time I raised the idea to them. The NCCA is truly committed to enriching Philippine culture and arts, while the DFA remains steadfast in its duty to enhance international relations through cultural diplomacy. Likewise important in this project is the support of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB),” Legarda stressed.


The Senator added, “We are hopeful that this project will result in the Philippines’ permanent participation in the Venice Biennale and that this would generate greater support for Philippine arts and culture as well as for Filipino artists.”


The idea of bringing the Philippines back to the Venice Biennale was raised by Legarda during the Senate’s budget hearings in 2013, when she asked the DFA and the cultural agencies of government, particularly the NCCA, why the country was not participating in what is considered the most prestigious contemporary art exhibition in the world.


Since the DFA and NCCA were both supportive of the idea for a Philippine comeback, the Senator immediately asked them to submit a joint letter of intent to the President of La Biennale di Venezia, Paolo Baratta, who responded with a formal invitation to the Philippines to participate in the 56th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition.


The NCCA, DFA and the Senator’s Office formed the Philippine Art Venice Biennale (PAVB) Coordinating Committee and De Leon was appointed Commissioner of the Philippine participation.


Patrick Flores’ proposal, Tie A String Around The World, was chosen among sixteen (16) other curatorial proposals submitted to the Coordinating Committee following an open call.


Flores’ concept for the Philippine Pavilion is to initiate discussion on the history of the sea and its relationship with the current world, claims to patrimony, and the struggle of nation-states over vast and intensely contested nature.


Manuel Conde’s 1950 film Genghis Khan, co-written and designed by Carlos Francisco, will be positioned in conversation with an installation, Shoal, by intermedia artist Jose Tence Ruiz and a multi-channel video, A Dashed State, by filmmaker Manny Montelibano.


The 56th International Art Exhibition organized by La Biennale di Venezia will run from May 9 to November 22, 2015 in Venice, Italy.