Strangely Familiar • Keiye Miranda

Sep 2 to Sep 27, 2011 • Tall Gallery

Strangely Familiar, Keiye Miranda-Tuazon’s portrait series of twin children at Finale, examines notions of identity and self, individuality and duality, looking and being.

This show was birthed from Miranda’s process of re-examining her earlier collections of photographs and images, particularly her series of twins produced for a group show entitled Surrounded at the Cultural Center of the Philippines nearly one decade ago in 2001. The artist writes:

Originally I was exploring a new series of works parallel to my previous underwater scenes, working from digitally appropriated images exploring the malleable and recurrent theme of water. I began looking through my archives of images as a point of inspiration.

When I was going through my collection of photos and images, I selected some of the more distinct ones where I feel there is that tension between anonymity and intimacy. I began examining these images and photographs that explored what I know or have come to understand. There has to be something in it that I’ve recognized and that is familiar, a sense of a specific – ‘coming together’ that generates insights on the vibrancy of the gaze.

This new series, however, goes beyond the act of retrieving one’s recollections. Miranda reflects on concerns threading through her past works and personal experiences over the past decade. Miranda’s subsequent experiences with pregnancy, motherhood, and birthing of twins, for instance, have themselves altered and defined her own personal process of comprehending, viewing, and creating these portraits. She continues:

It seemed like a natural progression while searching for understanding, perhaps because of my own experience in birthing twins, even with all the extraordinary difficult task of navigating through all the things we all call life. This series and these memories remain significant to me primarily because the idea of having somewhat intangible memories from a period when I struggled to overcome a postpartum crisis served as a catalyst in my personal and aesthetic imprint as an artist, a valuable experience that led to this renewed project.

As an ongoing series, Strangely Familiar shares images which attempt to capture the tensions between anonymity and intimacy, appearance and being. Miranda-Tuazon elaborates on this:

I wanted to explore the notions of what representation could mean and the purity of production that comes from making these ideas. To remain connected while reweaving directly from my own real experience; the desire to engage and covet images of coherence, unity and wholeness through mutual affirmation, closeness and reciprocity with my subjects – friends, neighbors, and family—is a complete leap from one new sphere into the heart of another.

I was interested in doing a show that explores the notion of identity and self, the relationship between appearance and duality, not only through the visualization of my figurative subjects but more so through the act of looking. [This] series of twin portraits, which originally stemmed from my previous journey of pregnancy and motherhood, reflects the difficulty of attempting to locate the locus of the authentic and the sense of invisibility through the inscription of identity.

Produced as such, Miranda’s portraits go beyond being literal portraits of others to becoming mirror images of our selves.