Of Butterfly Wings and the Great Barrier Roof

Galleria Duemila presents ‘Play by Ear (Oido)’: a two-part installation work by Western Australia-based artist Alwin Reamillo. The first part of the exhibit opens on 6 December 2008, while the second part starts on 5 January 2009.

‘Play by Ear (Oido)’ is an exploration of the social and cultural landscapes of two cities (Manila and Fremantle) and the movement between them. Seen from a perspective of an artist who is always in transit, it is a poetic reflection on the many contradictions, disjunctions and divisions of urban living.

The central image is a large tarpaulin print called Kakaibang Ilaw II, depicting an aerial view of Santa Cruz, Manila: the part with the bridge connecting LRT1 to LRT2 (Purple Line). It presents a panoramic view of improvised urban architecture, mainly of decayed corrugated roofs from cramped housing, randomly littered with a flotsam of objects and materials and a hodgepodge of interconnecting power lines. Attached to the image surface are detritus of disused piano parts and other found objects. A recent series small, wing-shaped toy piano lids, hinged in pairs, animates the gallery space. These ‘piano wings’ are cross-layered with multiple textual and image appropriations from 1950’s Children’s literature, anatomical illustrations, archival images from Philippine and Australian history.

Hanging opposite Kakaibang Ilaw II, is a 1996 collaborative mixed media work, a deconstructed map of the Philippines (Reamillo + Juliet) called ‘Kakainin ba nila ang mga saging? Created with Australian artist Juliet Lea for the international touring exhibition Traditions/ Tensions: Contemporary Art from Asia, the work renders the Philippine archipelago as a autopsied body, resonating the same social, political and cultural terrain animated in Kakaibang Ilaw II.

Internationally known for his multi-sited, collaborative projects in Australia and Asia, Reamillo’s work is highly experimental/ experiential and often grounded in the relational processes and connections with individuals, communities and institutions in its development. His social sculptures/ installations develop as an expanded translation of ‘creative bayanihan’, thus are often dialogical and improvisational in character. As the title suggest, Play by Ear (Oido) will evolve and develop during the exhibition, ‘animating the piano wings in flights of fancy’ around the space. Two upright artcase pianos, from a recent residency project will also be included in the installation to stage a performance event with musician friends in January.

Reamillo is an alumnus of the Philippine High School for the Arts, where he also taught from 1986-91. He studied painting at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and the Western Australia School of Visual Arts at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (1997-99). He was a recipient of the 1994 Thirteen Artist Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines and 2004 Award for Continuing Excellence and Service from the Metrobank Foundation of the Philippines. Based in Fremantle, Western Australia for 13 years, he constantly flies back to the Philippines to continue developing cross-cultural exhibition projects between Manila and Fremantle.

Reamillo is also currently completing two collaborative projects: a residency project at the UP Vargas Museum called the Nicanor Abelardo Grand Piano Project and the Tutubing Bakal@ Palipalaruan, a developmental peace playground at the Museo Pambata. His collaborative projects has been included in major international exhibitions and residencies including the recent 4 x 4: Hong Kong International Artists Workshop (2007); 2006 Melbourne Artfair; Third Fukuoka Art Triennale, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2005), 2003 National Sculpture Prize, National Gallery of Australia; Sixth Havana Biennale (1997), Freeman Foundation for Asian Artists Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center (1996), Traditions/ Tensions: Contemporary Art from Asia at Asia Society New York (1996) and touring, TransCulture/ Biennale di Venezia 1995; Visions of Happiness, Asia Center, Japan Foundation, Tokyo (1995). His works are represented in various private and museum collection including the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Western Australian Museum, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, Royal Perth Hospital Art Collection and the Dr. Ian Bernadt Art Collection.

Play by Ear (Oido) will be on view at Galleria Duemilla starting December 7 2008. Galleria Duemilla is located at 210 Loring St, Pasay City near the LRT and MRT stations. Gallery hours: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM from Monday to Saturday. For more information call Galleria Duemila at (632) 833- 9815 & (632) 831-9990 email: duemila@mydestiny.net