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Message: Opening of the Homecoming of “The Spectre of Comparison”

May 23, 2019

Message of Senator Loren Legarda
Opening of the Homecoming of
“The Spectre of Comparison”
23 May 2019 | Museum of Contemporary Art and Design

 

Who is the Filipino?

 

This is a question that many of us have asked at one point in our life. The Filipino identity, even after more than a century of independence, is something that is not easily grasped.

 

Tonight, we ask this question once more as we welcome home The Spectre of Comparison, the exhibit that proudly represented the Philippines in its participation at the Venice Art Biennale in 2017.

 

This exhibition questions the processes with which our identity as a nation has been formed, our curious condition as an archipelago of varied languages and ethnicities brought together by this modern construct; that these processes occurred in the context of hundreds of years of colonialism and occupation is not insignificant. The Spectre of Comparison ensures it is impossible for us to comprehend who we are without the painful hauntings of our history.

 

Curated by Joselina “Yeyey” Cruz, the exhibition features Filipino artists Lani Maestro and Manuel Ocampo, who both have lived and practised outside of the Philippines, but have maintained active engagement with the country throughout their careers.

 

The artists’ practice and their subject matters are deeply involved with their experiences as immigrants or citizens of a new diaspora that also reflect the complexity of a contemporary Philippine identity.

 

In The Spectre of Comparison, we are once again brought back to the past through Jose Rizal whose Noli Me Tángere character, Crisostomo Ibarra, is the inspiration for the exhibition. It looks at the two artists as emblematic of the experience of Rizal’s spectre of comparisons.

 

The power of art to widen the imagination and sphere of possibilities for human life cannot be underestimated. The anxieties and doubts that ensue when questions of identity arise can be explored and understood, even if not resolved, through art. Thus, I invite everyone to allow themselves to be immersed in this exhibition.

 

As we welcome home The Spectre of Comparison, we hope to continue nurturing appreciation of art among Filipinos.

 

I thank you all for joining us tonight. Congratulations to the team behind The Spectre of Comparison: Yeyey Cruz, Lani Maestro, Manuel Ocampo, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD); and thank you to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale (PAVB) Coordinating Committee for helping me realize my vision for Philippine art through our participation in the Venice Biennale.

 

Thank you and good evening.