Legarda: Philippine Pavilion Showcased Filipino Talent, Challenged the Truths of the World

May 24, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda today underscored the significance of the Philippines’ participation in this year’s Architecture Biennale as a platform to showcase the immense talent and creativity of Filipino artists and as a venue to challenge the realities of our perceived identity as a nation through global interaction with architecture as an instrument.

“As we view the realization of Dr. Cabalfin’s curatorial concept in this beautiful space, let us allow ourselves to question what we see. After all, this has been our goal from the beginning – to let our country showcase our creative talents and at the same time challenge the truths of the world by opening up conversations through our national pavilion,” Legarda said.

Legarda, the visionary and principal advocate for the Philippines’ participation in the 59th International Art Exhibition in Venice, made the statement as she herself, tried to answer the questions posed by the curator, Edwin Cabalfin.

“The Philippine Pavilions since 2015—Tie A String Around The World, Muhon: Traces of An Adolescent City, and The Spectre of Comparison—presented references to our colonial past,” Legarda said.

“The installation at the this year’s Philippine pavilion is an artistic narrative of our history and our identity that presents an argument of how the Philippine built environment depicts the traces of colonialism in our lives,” Legarda added.

Contemplating on one of the two questions posed by Edson Cabalfin, “Is neoliberalization a new form of colonialism?” Legarda asked for the stance of today’s Filipino in this context, “do we really have the power to create our cities based on what we perceive as good for all, or are we trapped in the mindset that we must undertake development based on the so-called demands of the present?”

Legarda stated that, “architecture has the power to create an urban space of seemingly robotic people ready to accept a monotonous life with the belief that development is all about economic progress.”

But architecture as Legarda pointed out, does not only contribute to the economic development of a country, it also has the strength to revitalize the society, inspire people to create livable and sustainable communities that respect history and is in communion with nature.

The Philippines is now on its fourth consecutive participation in the oldest and most prestigious contemporary art exhibition and at the same time, on its second year to be housed in the largest pre-industrial production center in the world, the Artiglierie of the Arsenale, which is one of the main exhibition spaces of the Venice Biennale.

Legarda noted that the successful participation of the Philippines in the Venice Biennale would not have been possible without the full cooperation and effective coordination among government agencies, particularly the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale (PAVB) Secretariat, and the Department of Tourism.

The Senator also lauded the curator, Dr. Edson Cabalfin and all the participating exhibitors —Yason Banal; Technical Assistance Organization (TAO) Pilipinas, Inc.; De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde; University of San Carlos – School of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design; University of the Philippines Diliman, College of Architecture; and University of the Philippines Mindanao, Department of Architecture – for representing the Philippines, as the country makes an effort to be visible in the global contemporary scene.

The 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale organized by La Biennale di Venezia will run from May 26 to November 25, 2018 in Venice, Italy.