‘Land’ by Patricia Eustaquio featured at Taiwan Art Gallery
Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) A work by Filipino artist Patricia Eustaquio inspired by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his exploration of the Philippines is among the highlights of an exhibition of 25 works at the Mind Set Art Center in Taipei, a contemporary art platform and gallery that features works by Taiwanese, Asian and international artists.
Occupying one of the main spaces near and on the gallery’s left wall and reimagining themes of exploration and empire, Eustaquio’s 2016-2021 installation artwork “Earth” presents an intricately carved coconut resting on rich lava salt on a raised display next to a round mirror engraved with a quote from a book that detailed the voyage of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
The engraving from the book The First Voyage around the World (1519-1522): An Account of Magellan’s Expedition by Antonio Pigafetta states “I dreamed long ago, said the sultan, that ships came hither from distant lands. I am astrologer as well as a king, and I examined the moon to see if that was true, and the moon assured me that it was so.”
She found the particular passage of Pigafetta’s tale mysterious and fascinating, which inspired her to create an artwork using the text that would convey its spirit of mysticism and magic, Eustaquio said in a statement.
“The feeling of looking up at the moon or into a crystal ball to glimpse the future,” Eustaquio said of what she hoped gallery visitors would feel when looking at “Earth.”
She was interested in how the search for and trade in goods during the age of exploration and empire affected the lives of people past and present, Eustaquio said.
“Europe was in search of exotic goods, spices, etc., and their ‘discovery’ of the group of islands now called the Philippines was essential in laying out a route for the massive movement of goods from east to west,” Eustaquio said. .
Magellan’s “discovery” of the Philippines meant he encountered a group of volcanic islands full of gold, roast pigs, coconuts and palm wine, in addition to fierce, welcoming and friendly men, a declared Eustaquio.
This is the first time “Land” has been shown in Taiwan, Queena Chu (朱倢瑢), partner and director of the organizer Mind Set Art Center (MSAC), told CNA.
Born in the Philippines in 1977, Eustaquio is considered one of the leading Filipino artists of her generation, working with a variety of media to create themes in an evocative and familiar way.
‘Land’ is presented as part of the exhibition ‘Flowing Light: A Group Exhibition of Contemporary Artists’, which ran from Jan. 8 to Feb. 8. 23.
The exhibition features a total of 25 works in a variety of media such as oil paintings, ink paintings, installations, concepts and performances by 21 artists, including four from the Philippines.
Other works by Filipino artists include the oil painting “Patched Me” by Marina Cruz in 2021, the oil painting “Involuntary Landscape” by Nona Garcia in 2019 and the installation by Buen Calubayan in 2019 “Pasyon and Revolution: Light and Brotherhood”.
MSAC founder Andre Lee (李政勇) told CNA that he finds the art of the Philippines to be exceptional and that because of its colonial history, the country has better academic programs in art than other countries in the region.
“Their study of the arts has been around for hundreds of years and their artistic tradition is deep,” Lee said.
MSAC is a contemporary art platform and gallery dedicated to creative programs and collaborative projects with artists and curators from different regions to promote cultural exchange, according to its website.