Perspectives on the Philippines

PoP started 2018 with a 2-month special series on the Philippines. Despite its size, population and fascinating past, the Philippines is often missing from Southeast Asia-wide history, archaeology, heritage studies and other disciplines. We wanted to spend the beginning of 2018 bringing the Philippines into focus and starting conversations.

Four members of Perspectives on the Past visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) for Passion + Procession: Art of the Philippines and wrote four articles about their experience based on their different backgrounds (museum and heritage studies, performance studies, history and archaeology). We published the four articles anonymously. Here we reveal each of the authors and their motivation for the articles that they produced.
Passion + Procession: Art of the Philippines, Natali Pearson
As a museums and heritage specialist, I wrote my article with an institutional framework in mind, and within the context of the Sydney modern expansion and the ambitions this testified to. I also  rarely go to galleries with friends so was interested in observing their behaviour.

Five reasons why I don’t always like art galleries, Cheng Nien Yuan
As a performance scholar, paying attention to the framing of artwork and my embodied responses is what I do. Presenting my observations in a descriptive, confessional style is also my modus operandi. What are some things we as academics or gallery-goers, consumers of art, won’t admit, maybe even to ourselves? I had hoped to scratch the surface of that question

Historical Perspectives on Philippine Contemporary Art, Wayan Jarrah Sastrawan
My reaction to the exhibition was one of historical curiosity. What were the historical origins of the symbols and allusions made by the artists? How did this connect to the rest of Southeast Asia? My review became an exploration of what the exhibition had left unsaid.

Hunting the Secrets of the Philippines, Michael Leadbetter
I have been putting a lot of recent thought into the importance of being able to admit when we change our mind or when our ideas have shifted and developed, and how that happens. I used my article to explain how the way I looked at the Philipines shifted after visiting the exhibition. I also used the article to bring my archaeological and anthropological knowledge into a conversation with one of the works in the exhibition.

Congratulations to Imogen Champagne from SSEAC who guessed all the authors identities correctly, and special mentions got to  Emily Hipsley-Davidson from UNSW galleries, journalist Sheridan Rogers and blogger Charis Estoesta who all correctly guessed Michael’s and Natali’s articles.

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