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Abaya and Songcuya Works Disclosed & Panay Possibilities

Leo Abaya and Joar Songcuya were the focus of ‘Seminar Node 3: Works Disclose | Materialities of Art’ featuring two of the selections of its head curator Dr. Patrick Flores.

This caps the third installment of the curated ‘Kalibutan’ exhibition of the Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition & Conference (VIVA ExCon) VCon 2 and the first part of the Saturday discourse.

Given the queries on the concept, medium and technique, Leo Abaya talked about his work ‘Unsang Dapita?’ which is durational and serial and intends to capture the changes in a landscape, in his case the medium is diorama and photography.

He abides by the principle of camera obscura with which he is looking to create an understanding of the world. He works at finding opportunities to reveal something and since the concept demanded a changing landscape, he engineered transitions in the diorama and boost the symbiotic charge of the photographs, aware that the changes in the diorama itself are very crucial.

He took into account the contingency that the work will not necessarily be viewed in an exhibition setting. Abaya shared that he went through a lot of self-reflection as he enhanced his practice and is more aware that the world is an extension of us in much the same way as we are its extension.

Joar Songcuya’s ‘Atlantiko, Pasipiko, Artiko’ is a biographical and visual narrative of the physical world. The ocean is a big part of his story as a person and an artist. He aims to show the power of the ocean to change and shape a person or a man’s aspirations.

Songcuya’s medium is oil on canvas and he is more interested in impressionistic and expressionistic approaches, capitalizing on feelings of softness and fragility. He talked about trusting in the senses beyond the eyes in committing on canvas certain distinguishing features of each ocean.

This documentary series of his current narrative are touching the works and lives of our Filipino Visayan men and women navigating the sea as they illustrate the sailors’ stories. He believes that art should be distributed and though the original plan is focused on a physical setup, he is poised to adapt to virtual reality.

The open forum touched on art as a vocation as well as integrating the art of poetry in exploring alternative mediums. It was an interesting exchange with valuable inputs in being conscious of the scale of works, the importance of research, and listening to what the heart tells you.

The second part of the April 24 V-Con 2 is ‘PANAY POSSIBILITIES: Video Festivals as a Means to Interconnect’ featuring Jo Andrew Torlao and facilitated by Island Coordinators Marika Constantino, Aileen Quimpo-Hernandez, Bryan Liao and Shiela Molato.

Jo Andrew Torlao discussed film festivals, project management, film festival as a project and key parts of a film festival. Key points of the input include film festival as a multi-day event during which a selection of film is played for audiences given the notion that a film can change individual perceptions of the world.

He discussed the nature of videos which can take the form of vlogs, diary film, random footages, short documentation of processes, interviews, home movies and archive footages. Since a project is defined by scope, quality, cost, and time, he shared the six phases of a project to include initiation or ideation, definition, planning, control, implementation and review.

He emphasized that in project management, context defines everything. He further shared that what artists can do in this pandemic is to explore the medium, start with their own collectives, and explore the possibility of organizing an art festival online.

The discussion touched on trying to find the balance between mitigating the risk of piracy of the content and also going to where the audiences are. Acknowledged were the need of being creative in addressing social issues, bridging the gaps and supporting filmmakers in creating platforms. Depending on the kind of film one wants to create, one can indeed start with a story and can also explore the potential of video festivals to accommodate different art forms.

V-CON 2 on ‘Kalibutan Seminar Node 3: Works Disclose | Materialities of Art’ was conducted virtually on April 24, 2021 but is available for virtual viewing through the website vivaexcon.org.* (Input by Vincent Rose Cassiopeia Sarnate).

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