Jerry's Crew and Fire and Ice, 2014
31 inches x (variable width and depth)
Sculptures made in collaboration with the artisans of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, Philippines. In 2014, I was invited as resident artist by the Bellas Artes Foundation in Bataan to realize a series of collaborative works that were designed and fabricated in conjunction with skilled tradespeople employed at Las Casas. “Jerry” refers to Jerry Acuzar whom established and oversees Las Casas as a site to preserve original examples of Spanish-colonial architecture of the Philippines. The process employs wood carvers, painters, brick layers, masons, and many other skilled tradespeople to deconstruct, repair, and relocate Spanish-colonial buildings found across the archipelago to Bataan.
Woodcarvers at Las Casas are hired to create ornate wooden sculptures to adorn the many buildings on the Las Casas estate. They work to match existing styles of imagery and architectural forms found within the Spanish colonial-era buildings to repair or replace moldings, woodwork, doorways, decorative fine artworks, and other objects within the structures that are relocated and, or constructed at Las Casas.
For this project, I worked with the woodcarvers to design and produce a series of 31-inch tall wood carvings, which is the estimated height of rising sea levels in the Philippines due to a 2 degree Celsius increase in average global temperature by 2040. (According to a June 2013 estimate by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics.) This project asked the artisans to author and produced carvings of their own design, breaking with the institution’s parameters of fabrication. In temporarily shifting the value of labor toward facilitating modes of self-expression, the sculptures produced as a result of this project allowed for new modes of value and labor that diverge from the constraints of their existing capitalist agendas. At the center of this approach is a dialogue of negotiation that is informed by the parameters imposed by the production of specific objects, in this case, a series of carved wooden statues produced in conjunction with hired craftspeople.
The formation of a collective aesthetic is central to the social confines that inhabit and contextualize how the objects and actions are realized and experienced. As the artisans divert their current labor to respond to this project by creating their own imagery, an inevitable socio-specific exchange where knowledge, expertise, and cultural traditions are shared. Working with this framework establishes how and why the resulting actions and objects are to be constructed and experienced within the communities they are founded and outside of this context.
The images shown here were created with a mixture of found timbers, stock lumber, and other sources of wood located in the woodcarvers' facilities at Las Casas. They were created and initially exhibited at Las Casas before being shipped to the US and exhibited at Brown University's David Winton Bell Gallery in as part of the show, Works Well With Others that opened in 2017.
Works created in collaboration with:
Milet Abajon, Ludimer Agbada, Leo Albunag, Rosemarie Aluad, Madelyn Balagso, Rose Ann Balagso, Leosan Bantugan, JR Cabase, Bayani Cagayat, Jomar Cascasan, Larlie Castillo, Emerson Espino, Maricel Fadul, Bong Fabon, Cesar Fapul Jr., Richard Fulgar, Bernardino Gabion, Ghia Gonzales, Mary Ann Labampa, Sarah Loterte, Marjorie Loterte (Joy), Leslie Lumangculob, Angelo Madridejos, Leo Magadia, Maricris Mejla, Margie Mendoza, Mhean Revelo, Ginalyn Reyes, Cezar Sarmineto, Jackie Patricio, Cathy Pedrocillo, Hershry Pedrocillo, Rollet Perjes, Rossel Perjes, Ivy Vales, and Cornelio Validion.
Jerry and Jam Acuzar, Tony Godfrey, Marion Bugay, Jordan Hernandez, Sir Ping, Randy Nojadera, Reimel Arellano, Alwin Reamillo, Mabel and Larry, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bellas Artes Foundation, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.