July 26, 2018- The Philippine Pavilion will present Island Weathercurated by Tessa Maria Guazon at the 2019 Venice Art Biennale. The Pavilion features artist Mark Justiniani, who is known for his immersive large-scale installations and site-specific art.

The announcement was made by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, the government agencies responsible for the Philippines’ participation in Venice.

Island Weatherexplores the myriad ways by which the island can be perceived and imagined: by evoking its geophysical characteristics, reflecting on how humans regard it as a place of origin, refuge, respite, or a location that may refer to the nation itself.

Island Weatherexplores the myriad ways by which the island can be perceived and imagined: by evoking its geophysical characteristics, reflecting on how humans regard it as a place of origin, refuge, respite, or a location that may refer to the nation itself.

Justiniani’s works to be presented at the Philippine Pavilion are informed by his long-standing interest in vision and optics, and the structures of space and time. Through these works, the artist is keen to redefine the aesthetic experience not only through form but by way of historic reference and reflections.

This speaks to his work with activist groups and artist initiatives in the 1980s and 90s, including Abay (Artist ng Bayan) and the collective Sanggawa (1994). From social realist leanings, to magical realist strains, his practice has evolved and grown into multi-media configurations that seek to explore the nature and reality of perception.

Justiniani received the CCP Thirteen Artists grant in 1994. He has held numerous solo and group exhibitions in the Philippines and abroad.

About the Curator

Tessa Maria Guazon is a curator and Assistant Professor at the Department of Art Studies, UP Diliman. Her research and curatorial interests span contemporary art and the public sphere, art production and cultural programs in Asian cities, and developing a research-driven and art historically informed curatorial practice. She is the principal researcher for Manila of the Southeast Asia Neighborhoods project for the Urban Knowledge Network Asia and the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden (2017-2020), as well as the coordinator for exhibitions and curatorial analysis of the Philippine Contemporary Art Network, University of the Philippines (UP) Vargas Museum.

Her recent curatorial projects include: Lawas,site-specific art projects in UP Diliman, and Consonant Forms, Resonant Practice: Women Winners of the Philippine Art Awards and the ASEAN Art Awards at the Yuchengco Museum, both in 2018; and Plying the Seas, Divining the Skiesat the Kuandu Museum of Art, Taipei in 2017.

Open Call Deliberations

A panel of jurors deliberated on the submitted curatorial proposals last July 20, 2018 at the NCCA Building in Intramuros, Manila. The open call for curatorial proposals was launched on January 17, 2018 with a deadline set on May 24, 2018. The Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale (PAVB) Coordinating Committee received a total of 12 proposals.

The jury was composed of NCCA Chairman Virgilio S. Almario, Dr. Apinan Poshyananda, Dr. June Yap, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, and Senator Loren Legarda, principal advocate of the project.

Almario, National Artist for Literature, is the Chairman of the NCCA and the Chairman of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) and is a prolific writer and critic.

Poshyananda is the Artistic Director of the Bangkok Art Biennale. He has curated in various international exhibitions including the Asia-Pacific Triennale, Istanbul Biennale, Johannesburg Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennale, Sydney Biennale, and Venice Biennale.

Poshyananda is the Artistic Director of the Bangkok Art Biennale. He has curated in various international exhibitions including the Asia-Pacific Triennale, Istanbul Biennale, Johannesburg Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennale, Sydney Biennale, and Venice Biennale.

Endaya has gained recognition in contemporary art for her works focused on identity, gender, race, nation, migration, displacement, and globalization.

Legarda, a three-term senator who chairs the Senate Committees on Finance, Foreign Relations, and Climate Change, is a staunch advocate of the arts and culture.

58thVenice Art Biennale

For the 58th International Art Exhibition (2019), the Board of La Biennale di Venezia has appointed Ralph Rugoff as the curator. Rugoff has been the Director of the Hayward Gallery of London since 2006. Recently, La Biennale di Venezia announced that the58th International Art Exhibition will be titled May You Live in Interesting Times, a phrase of English invention that has long been mistakenly cited as an ancient Chinese curse that invokes periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; "interesting times", exactly as the ones we live in today.

The Philippine Pavilion in Venice will open to the public on May 11, 2019 and will run until November 24, 2019.

PH Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale Closes with Lecture-Workshop Tour to Filipino Communities


November 25, 2018 | Venice, Italy “Architecture is not just about buildings and structures, it’s about designing spaces to support how we live our lives,” said Ar. Edson Cabalfin, the Philippine Pavilion exhibition curator for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.
The Philippine Pavilion is a collaborative undertaking of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda.
Cabalfin’s exhibition The City Who Had Two Navels ended it six-month run with a lecture-workshop series in different cities in Italy that started last November 17. It concluded the series with a final lecture-workshop and closing ceremonies held at the Philippine Pavilion at the Arsenale in Venice, Italy.

These venues were: November 17, 5:00 pm Padova (Sactissimae Trinitati Church compound); November 18, 2:00pm Milan (Office of the Philippine Consul General); November 20, 5:00pm Venice (Fava Church); and November 25, 10:00am Treviso.

“The exhibition reflects how architecture responds to our needs, conditions and dreams as Filipinos which is why it is important that in closing The City Who Had Two Navels we bring this exhibition to Filipino communities in Italy,” Cabalfin explained.

The lecture-workshops were held in venues selected by representatives of Filipino communities in Padova, Treviso, Milan and Venice. The Pavilion’s management team, the Philippine Arts in Venice Biennale Coordinating Committee (PAVB), worked closely with leaders of the Filipino communities. Participants of the lecture-workshops were composed of mostly Filipinos who benefited from increased awareness in Philippine architecture.

In the series, Cabalfin explained the basic details about Philippine architecture and highlighted the following points: (1) Architecture as Response to the Environment; (2) Architecture as Placemaking; (3) Architecture as a Process of Creativity; (4) Architecture as a Production of Meaning; and (5) Architecture as Reflections of Society.

In the workshop section of the talk, the participants were asked to draw a space, structure, or building significant to them. The process enabled Cabalfin to draw-out and capture memories in relation to spaces and structures.

“This activity reminds Filipinos that they have a stake in our built heritage, even if they live abroad now. First they have families that still live in the Philippines and would benefit from architecture that serves the people. It’s also where their memories are tied,” Cabalfin explained.

Each session ended with a Filipino ‘salu-salo’ feast that brought the communities together while also sharing with them not just a meal but also the experience of the Philippine participation at the Venice Biennale.


The 2018 Philippine Pavilion exhibition highlighted two “navels” that are in constant dialogue: first, how colonialism impacts the formation of the built environment; and second, how the process of neoliberalization alters the urban landscape.

The central part of the exhibition, was a video installation by contemporary artist Yason Banal that explored the intersection of the two forces of colonialism and neoliberalism. The juncture of these two “navels” represents an emergent wave of postcolonial anxieties born out of the process of exiting the colonial condition.

There was also a consortium invited to respond to Cabalfin’s themes composed of selected architecture, art and design organizations. These are the TAO (Technical Assistance Organization) Pilipinas, Inc. a women-led non-government organization that assists urban and rural poor communities; De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde; University of San Carlos; University of the Philippines - Diliman; and University of the Philippines - Mindanao.

RELEASED August 22, 2018

Venice Biennale Features PH Pavilion Lectures and Screening of Critically-Acclaimed Film ‘Bontoc Eulogy’

Exhibiting Architecture: Display in the Age of the Postcolonial and Neoliberal.
August 24, 2018, Friday
2:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Teatro alle Tese (end of Arsenale), Venice, Italy
For information email

VENICE, ITALY- The Philippine Pavilion’s exhibition The City Who Had Two Navels curated by Edson Cabalfin will be mounting a half-day activity titled Exhibiting Architecture: Display in the Age of the Postcolonial and Neoliberal.

To be held on August 24, 2018 at the Teatro alle Tese in Arsenale in Venice, Italy, it features lectures, the film screening of the critically-acclaimed film Bontoc Eulogy directed by Marlon Fuentes, and a panel discussion. It will start from 2:30 pm until 6:00 pm.

In line with the realization of Freespace as a theme of the 16th Biennale Architettura curated by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, participating countries were encouraged to submit proposals for activities that fall under the Meetings on Architecture Program of La Biennale di Venezia. The La Biennale curators selected the Philippines’ proposal Exhibiting Architecture to be part of the Meetings on Architecture as it responds to “an opportunity to articulate diverse responses and interpretations of the Manifesto, while also providing a platform to hear from the many emerging and established voices presented in the Exhibition.”


Philippine Pavilion curator Edson Cabalfin’s lecture titled Nation as Spectacle: Philippine Pavilions in International Expositions, 1887-1998 centers on the relationship between architectural representation and the idea of nation by investigating how the Philippines was represented in international expositions during the colonial and post-colonial periods. Spanning from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century.

Lisa Ito-Tapang is an independent curator, cultural worker and writer based in Manila. She will present her lecture titled Spatial Reclamation as Resistance and screen the short video Occupy Pabahay: Bulacan and Maduw no Pagdutong. The lecture revisits and proceeds from filmic documentation of two sites of grassroots struggle in the Philippines: the urban poor’s occupation of idle public housing lots in Bulacan and the institution and defense of a rural school for the lumad indigenous peoples in Surigao del Sur. Presenting both structures as spaces inhabited and reclaimed by agencies of resistance, this segment reflects on its resonance across other historic actions across the archipelago and looks at the acts of occupation and rebuilding as strategies of emancipatory assertion.

Yason Banal, Philippine Pavilion artist will present snippets of various videos from YouTube deconstructing ‘architecture’ as an expanded and discursive field. The talk and screening attempt to engage in the thematic of the two navels of post colonialism and neoliberalism in the wider context of the Biennale’s theme of Freespace by exploring intersections and refractions of systems around architecture’s owned nuanced network, abstract mechanism, and stylistic effect, reading architecture not only as a built and visual environment but also as a conceptual design and a coded translation of power, identity, market and affect.

Film Screening

Marlon Fuentes’s Bontoc Eulogy will also be screened at the Exhibiting Architecture. The filmmaker will be in Venice to present his critically-acclaimed film about the Filipino experience in the 1904 World's Fair, held in St. Louis, Missouri. The movie centers on the story about a Filipino's search for his grandfather who was exhibited as an anthropological specimen at the World's Fair. As a historical auto-ethnographic narrative and essay about colonialism and empire, the film poses fundamental questions about the truth claims of the documentary form and how representation of the "Other" becomes part of our personal and collective memories.

Marlon Fuentes is an independent media artist working in film and photography. He is known in academic and cinema studies circles as the filmmaker who has successfully blended autoethnography and the historical essay as a distinct documentary approach. His work as a photographer and filmmaker has been shown and collected in major museums around the U.S. and abroad, such as: the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of American Art, the Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Netherlands Film Museum.

Panel Discussion

At the end of the Philippine Pavilion event is a panel discussion with Cabalfin, Banal, Ito and Fuentes.

Admission to the lecture is free and is part of the ticket-purchase for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition FREESPACE.

Exhibiting Architecture : Display in the Age of the Postcolonial and Neoliberal including the film screening of Bontoc Eulogy and selected video shorts will also be mounted at the Consulate Office in Milan, Italy on August 25, 2018 at 2:00 – 5:00 pm and at Fava Church in Venice on August 26 at 7:00 pm.