As part of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 13 Artists Awards exhibition from 9 July to 16 August 2009, I made an installation entitled (Sha Naqba Imuru) He Who Saw The Deep
The boat form is constructed from silk and epoxy, and is elevated from the ground by buoys made from wax and plaster. As with previous sculpture in epoxy, the piece takes form as the textile is draped on the object. The object is then removed leaving only its shell; it is like a snake that has changed its skin and has slithered off elswhere leaving only a carcass of his former covering.
A saint’s amputated hands holding the deep: a shell and the forbidden fruit. The wooden hands were commissioned in Paete, a town known for its wooden crafts and carvings of religious figures.
Below, a clearer image of the neon, which forms traces from an ikat weave pattern, a textile tradition which hails from Mindanao.
The first layer of silk fabric, already hardened by epoxy.
Sha Naqba Imuru, or He Who Saw The Deep are the first words to the epic story of Gilgamesh.
My work explores the idea of the Cultural Center as once belonging to the sea (since it is on reclaimed land) but also as the venue for Philippine arts, but strangely overlooks the importance of the small Philippine towns which produces beautiful handiwork such as Paete. In the installation, I work on the idea of a trinity, a coming together of three main characters that fill up souvenir stores: the wood-carver, the sea gypsy pearl-diver and the ikat weaver. It is a trinity of the boat, the cruciform and the saint’s hands in a narrative that alludes to the religious experience that people seek inside museums.