NADA Curated by Catherine Taft

Image of artwork titled "Station of the Cross 1" by Bhen Alan

Bhen Alan, Station of the Cross 1, 2021
Canvas, coconut leaves, rattan, dried fruits, coins, twine, abaca, fabrics, handmade paper flowers, threads, electrical tubing
84 × 45 × 20 inches

In the Tagalog language, matingkad is used when describing colors or light. Its English translation, flamboyant, usually describes a character of a person–a queer, performer, drag.

“People have called me flamboyant due to the way I dress, my gestures, and how I approach my work. Because of this, I have experienced discrimination and abuse towards my race and gender, as well as my citizenship status. Therefore I have learned to begin employing flamboyance to be opaque (matingkad na kulay)” notes Bhen Alan.

With this experience, Alan had to adjust the opacity of his body as a way of survival by learning how to camouflage and shapeshift. To that end, the artist looks at the past to create a hybrid future-present.

These strategies are seen in Alan’s paintings, installations, weavings, and performance. His work became matingkad. They became generative as if they are growing, in scale, textures, physical structures, and patterns. The scale, textures, physical structures, and patterns are used as a framing device to make it difficult for spectators to figure out his identity, identification, movements, and intentions when performing or displaying a work.

Presented by Ontopo, New York.



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