Finders Keepers • Nathalie Dagmang, Marge De Jesus, Ayka Go, Kitty Kaburo, Isha Naguiat, Henrielle Pagkaliwangan

Sep 4 to Sep 26, 2015 • Upstairs Gallery and Video Room

Searching for home

A group exhibition by young artists Nathalie Dagmang, Marge de Jesus, Ayka Go, Kitty Kaburo, Isha Naguiat, and Henrielle Pagkaliwangan, Finders Keepers centers on the idea of home: as both physical space and connected ecology, as both launching site and repository of discrete memories and objects.

The artists are recent graduates of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and University of Santo Tomas. The works in the exhibition generally take off from their respective undergraduate thesis works, incubated in art school and connected by parallel practices, interests, and trajectories.

Intersections between the personal and the ethnographic, for instance, are explored by Dagmang and de Jesus’ works in installation and photography, respectively. Dagmang documents her immersions in the riverside villages of Tumana, Marikina in the work Things Washed Away, bringing to fore questions of flux, transience and peril within the lives of settled communities. Venturing north to the Ifugao village of Batad, De Jesus chronicles how home is made real through a common heritage and shared ancestral space: passing on of a shared consciousness through time and place.

Complementing Dagmang and de Jesus’ immersions into different communities, the other half of the exhibition explores the physical dimensions and material manifestations of home. Henrielle Pagkaliwangan’s large-scale ink illustrations on watercolor paper present a multitude of mundane objects found at home, arranged and ordered according to their formal and functional types. This exercise of taxonomic precision draws out how individual objects exist independently yet remain connected to each other, accounting for the diversity of types.

On the other hand, encounters with memory, presence and belonging strongly resonate within the show. Kitty Kaburo, Isha Naguiat, and Ayka Go present their respective representations of the home, interiorised and imagined. Naguiat’s lantern installations delve into the idea of nostalgia and post memory through archival artefacts, including formal clothing, fabric and photographs. Kaburo sources imagery from fantasy while Go merges both diaristic texts and the art of paper folding to recreate the form of the childhood playhouse.

Altogether, the works in Finders Keepers collectively conjure notions of home worth holding on to.

—Lisa Ito