“Superior” is RA Tijing’s 13th one-man show, a relevant comment in the social order that dictates the present dynamics of human living.
Modeka describes “Superior” by definition, as pertaining “to a higher rank, status, or quality, however, for artist RA Tijing, superiority is a matter of politics and human behavior.
Despite Tijing’s bold use of bright colors, with endearing monster-like characters placed in an open landscape, upon closer inspection, these works draw inspiration from real socio-political and economic issues that plague our society.
The exhibition consists of five paintings, each serving as a visual commentary on a certain matter. One example would be his piece entitled “Coke It Is!” which depicts the famous (or rather infamous) North Korean politician Kim Jong-un casually holding a plastic cup of Coca-Cola.
The painting serves as a statement on the politician’s interest in American commercial products and culture despite North Korea being a communist country. Another example, “Peace Sells,” depicts a creature with tentacles on its head while tightly clasping a nuclear bomb close to its chest, a commentary about the business of war.
Besides the examples mentioned above, Tijing also brings into light society’s obsession with money and power, thus, creating a war against each other in order to reign supreme.
This superiority complex can be found not just in the government, but also in religious groups, peace organizations, and the climate change movement among many others. These institutions have one thing in common, to better the quality of human life and to aid those who are in need. Ironically, these same institutions also generate millions in revenue at the expense of the suffering of the same people they are trying to help.
In Tijing’s own words, “Pag superior ka, hawak mo lahat.” This phrase can never be truer. Can humanity break from this unending cycle of war and greed or are we doomed to destroy ourselves in this fight for supremacy?”
RA Tijing is currently based in Silay & Bacolod Cities, Negros Occidental. He was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) Awards and was nominated three times for CCP 13 artists awards (2012, 2015 and 2018).
Selected for Gwangju Korea Art Residency in 2015 and participated in Gwangju Art Exhibition, he is a self-taught artist, painter and toy designer. His works are mostly pop surreal, modern and reflect social realism which have been exhibited in various museums and galleries in the Philippines like Ayala Museum, BenCab Museum and Pinto Museum.
He has four solo shows with Orange Project Gallery, three with Secret Fresh Gallery, as well as with Altromondo Gallery , Canvas Art Garden, Art 4 Space Gallery, Nova Gallery, Negros Museum. He also participated in international group shows in South Korea, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Italy and Switzerland.
Tijing studied Electronics and Communications Engineering & Inter-Disciplinary Studies at the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City. After finishing school in 2004, he went to Switzerland to his parents and worked in a winery in Bern.
In 2009, he decided to pursue his passion for the arts in the Philippines after meeting Charlie Co whom he considers his mentor, adviser and friend.
He is now part owner and manager of artist-run Grey Room Art Space in Art District, an art space dedicated to support local talents in Bacolod and nearby cities in Negros Occidental.
“Superior” was launched on October 23 and will run until November 13, 2021 at Modeka Art Gallery in Makati.*