Exhibited: Exhibited: Far Away but Strangely Familiar, Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, July 6 to September 8, 2019.


Kawayan de Guia works across multiple creative media such as painting, installation, and sculpture. His works often feature socio-political and consumerist critiques hidden away in his irreverent sense of humor and aesthetics. By doing so, de Guia taps into the hidden profoundness of everyday life by utilizing found objects to create compelling and thoughtprovoking pieces. Cultura de Obliti or forgotten culture, shorthand for cultural amnesia, is an indictment de Guia accuses us all of. Over the sun is the cracked head of Lady Liberty, with brain prettily exposed. The twin images of the imperial lion and tiger is straight out of the once-famous mosquito-repellant katol brand. (With his signature ironic wordplay, this references the artwork’s title, Colonial Coils.) Here, they stand in for the colonial powers that take their turns with our country. The Filipino ‘indio’ appears perplexed in wondering: Who is the lesser evil? De Guia’s style, unlike his predecessors of the same political vein, suggests an emancipation that does away with any transcendental or universalizing doctrine, and replaces such an idea with one that is organically grown from the spirit and will of the people. His approach mirrors a communitarian methodology that re-appropriates the symptoms of modern life as a revolutionary spark for the so-called indentured masses. Born to the father of Philippine Independent Cinema, Kidlat Tahimik, and German artist-writer Katrin Gottlieb-de Guia, Kawayan was definitely no stranger to art and culture. De Guia studied at the Philippine High School for the Arts and then pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines’ College of Fine Arts. He received the Ateneo Art Award in 2008 and 2011, and the Thirteen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2009. Recent exhibitions he has participated in include Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs, Para Site, Hong Kong (2017), Behind Foreign Lands: Southeast Asian Contemporary Art, Soka Art Center, Beijing (2016), and Wasak! Filipino Art Today, Arndt, Singapore (2016). He was one of the curators of the Singapore Biennale in 2013.