The Millennials’ Voices – Group Show by 13 Filipino Artists
Part of ART TREK 2017 in Collaboration with the Embassy of Republic of Philippines
Singapore – Di Legno Gallery is pleased to present The Millennials’ Voices on 22 September, 2017.
In the age of the millennials, change has become the only constant. The world moves too quickly, too unpredictably, for us to keep up, ponder, and reflect on the various changes – whether good or bad, welcomed or otherwise – that this world brings. In this clamor and commotion, the voices that should be heard are often drowned out, ignored – or even oppressed.
Faced with this theme, several artists have explored the impact of technology on millennials. A more sobering work comes from Ben John Albino. In Straight No Filter, Albino explores the effects of growing up in a world of instant gratification. Just as how millennials are accustomed to placing filters on reality, emphasizing only the good side of life while neglecting all others, modern society is distracted from higher pursuits by base, earthly desires.
Jonathan Joven also conveys a warning message through his work, They Are So Near Yet They Are So Far. Left alone with their gadgets and headsets, this generation is oblivious to the beauty of the real world. As this generation becomes more self-absorbed, they fail to recognise the imminent challenges that loom before them should they fail to rejoin reality. Indeed, Joven’s work is a critical commentary of millennials today: seemingly connected to the happenings of the world – and yet this could not be further from the truth.
Meanwhile, Maiya Balboa takes a more light-hearted spin in Level Up. Interspersed in the sweet and vibrant backdrop are darker and more ominous undertones of a hungry child in a striking display of irony. Through this piece, Balboa draws attention to how millennials get lost in the cyber world and ignore reality – or perhaps, for them, the cyber world is their reality.
On the other hand, in Artificial, Patrick Fernandez lays out his interpretations of millennials and trends. He observes how anything can become a huge hit with the use of social media, and despite how millennials live within their own bubble, they are easily persuaded by others to ride these waves of trends and fads. Regardless, Fernandez still believes that millennials are pragmatic idealists. Millennials challenge the status quo, call for change, and put their wit behind it.
Another optimistic art piece comes from Othoniel M Neri, who harbours a positive outlook towards technological advancement and innovation. In Heart and Mind, Neri acknowledges that technology can be – and has been – used by millennials in sometimes very questionable ways. Yet, against this chaotic backdrop, Neri believes that the love and humanity of millennials would never be compromised.
Meanwhile, Alee and Nina Garibay, fellow artists and sisters, present their different takes on the attitudes of millennials in the present day. For Alee Garibay, Zone Out shows how millennials zone out from their realities to live in virtual lives. The resulting fragmentation of the self creates a void of incompleteness that millennials try to fill with more personas, data and experiences which in turn further fragments our identities – creating a vicious cycle. Through this piece, Alee aptly sums up the millennial struggle as one where people sift through a million truths to find their own, individual voice buried within.
Nina Garibay’s work (YO) LOLO captures an old man – a lolo, Tagalog for grandfather – with three grandchildren, two of whom break the fourth wall to poke fun at the photographer. In her piece, Nina focuses on the thrill-seeking attitude of millennials, the way they want to have fun and be free, and in turn get distracted by seeking these momentary pleasures. Ironically, the same choices that had made the millennials’ lives fun have also made their lives more complicated. Despite this, millennials try their best to find meaning in their lives – after all, as Nina notes, you only live once.
As millennials chase after their life purpose, other artists have created works that encourage these millennials. In the face of the millennials’ struggles, Edwin Martinez believes in resilience above all else. In his work Resilient, he explores this intangible yet powerful concept in the form of a wandering boy, wholly unbothered by his surroundings – as though his umbrella were his shield against the tumults of life. Through this boy’s composure in light of his extenuating circumstances, Martinez portrays his optimism that we, too, are resilient people who would thrive no matter the state of the world.
Martinez is not the only one who leaves us with an uplifting message; Joey V Cobcobo, presents You Land the Day, a vibrant piece with a strong and inspirational message. In spite of the millennials’ struggles, tragedies, and battles for life and death, Cobcobo believes that there is always a rainbow to look for – a symbol of love, reality, faith and hope. His work leaves us with this lasting reminder – “Simply trust your heart.”
Beyond these rousing messages is a powerful call for action. Amanda Lapus Santos focuses on the ongoing refugee crisis. In Exodus (Shore of Life Vests), Santos draws inspiration from footages of refugees in their life jackets arriving on flimsy rubber dinghies. The life vests are significant, as these inflatables are the only things left which refugees can cling to as they make their exodus. However, even as millennials live in a time of unrest, Santos believes that every crisis is an opportunity – and with these crises, they may give opportunities for renewed hope and compassion that transcend borders.
Maribel Magpoc daringly takes on the theme of self-discussion with Smart Eyes over Smart Phones. This work, inspired by Magpoc’s youngest sister who was diagnosed with Down syndrome, exposes the audience to a world of people with special abilities. Although there are some who might tag these people under the same label, Magpoc hopes to convey that every person has their intrinsic differences. Through this, Magpoc calls upon her viewers to embrace the differences that everyone carries with them.
Last but not least, some artists have focused on the differences of past and present times. Chloe Dellosa shines the spotlight on women in her work, Millennial Women: Shaping the Contemporary Landscape. Dellosa projects a visual interpretation showing the lively vigor of women. Their colorful silhouettes and the seemingly elastic forms allude to the dynamic lives of these women in the age of millennials. Just like the sifting contours in her piece, the landscape of society is also continuously changed by women, and at the onset of technological advantages and connection opportunities, the influence of women would inevitably continue to expand.
Similarly, in Kalye Serye - or Tales from the Street, Jayson Tejada explores the old and new customs that he experienced in his childhood till today. Through his characteristic whimsical style and characters, Tejada expertly tells a story of the transition and change in humor through the various generations. The street in this work, hailing far in the horizon and winding its way towards the audience, is representative of how past traditions and present practices overlap with one another.
Through The Millennials’ Voices, Di Legno Gallery hopes to offer an insight into the world of the millennials today: their aspirations and anxieties, their victories and defeats, their past legacies, present realities, and future hopes. In so doing, Di Legno Gallery invites our audience to share our millennial artists’ joys and sorrows, worries and confidence, as we look to the future together.
The Millennials’ Voices is on show from 22 September 2017. Di Legno Gallery is located at 188-6, Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 436990, Singapore. For more details, please contact us at +65 6346 2012, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dilegnogallery.com