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Legarda lauds PH return to the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale with Cabalfin’s ‘The City Who Had Two Navels’

May 22, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda lauds the staging of the Philippine Pavilion in this year’s Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy which will feature the art and craftsmanship of Dr. Edson Cabalfin as curator.

“This year’s exhibition will emphasize the importance of architecture in building equitable, sustainable and inclusive societies, and it will be interesting to see how Dr. Cabalfin interpreted the effect of architecture in our daily lives, our community, and even in our past, present and future as a nation” Legarda said.

“I see architecture as a crucial element of building equitable, sustainable and inclusive societies. These facets of architecture are present in our Philippine Pavilion. The curatorial concept of Dr. Cabalfin does not look at city as mere built heritage, built structure or architecture, but it looks deeper into the people who live in the city, the souls of the society, and the whole ecosystem,” Legarda said.

Getting inspiration from the literary work of national artist Nick Joaquin’s “The Woman with Two Navels”, the exhibition will look at how the past is affecting the present and the future. The Philippine contribution to the Biennale highlights two “navels” that representstwo forces that have shaped the Philippine built environment for centuries; first, colonialism and second, neoliberalism.

Dr. Edson Cabalfin, the curator of the 2018 Philippine Pavilion, for his part, encourages the spectators to immerse themselves into the installations and contemplate on their own experiences and challenges to answer two fundamental questions posed by the pavilion: First, can we truly escape the colonial? And second, is neoliberalism now the new form of colonialism?

This year’s exhibitors in the Philippine Pavilion are: Yason Banal, the University of the Philippines – Mindanao from Davao City; the University of San Carlos from Cebu City; the University of the Philippines – Diliman, and De la Salle – College of Saint Benilde from Metro Manila; and, TAO-Pilipinas, Inc., a non-governmental organization (NGO) of architects and planners based in Quezon City.

The Senator emphasized that the presence of the Philippines in the Venice Biennale is an advocacy in itself, and ensuring its continuity, a challenge. She envisions for the Filipino talent to be an integral and dynamic part of the global contemporary art scene because, “through this, we are able to converse to the world the dynamic evolution of the Filipino built culture and how we recognize the impact of architecture to our history and heritage,” Legarda said.

The Philippine Pavilion, a joint project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, will hold its vernissage on May 24 and will be open to the public from May 26 to November 25, 2018 at the Artiglierie, Arsenale, Venice, Italy.