2018 Review by Philip Cebu

Dear Supporters of 856G Gallery,


It’s been one of our best years thus far, our hard work has produced a wide variety of shows and events; we exceeded our goals and accomplished more than we had planned for this year’s gallery activities.

856G has continued with our freestyle programming catering to our hardcore collectors as well as new emerging art enthusiast. We will continue this line and expand it even broader beyond art and into other communities.

We also regret to inform you we will be closing the gallery for the first quarter of next year, the space has served us and the community well over the last 10 years and we feel it’s time to update the space.

With my recent move to Cebu living here full time as gallery director, the team and I have set out on creating our new ethos of ‘community’ around the gallery space.

Please look out for our 2019 email as we will be outlining some things to look forward to next year and some excellent news for the gallery as well.

Thank you for your continued support of 856G Gallery, without you we wouldn’t be around.


Sincerely,

Chris John Fussner / Director


Video Art Show by RV Sanchez and Ernest Diño

Video Art Show by RV Sanchez and Ernest Diño

Stillife: Wayne Forte

Stillife: Wayne Forte

Silent Series: Annie Chen

Silent Series: Annie Chen

Fortuna Circuit : Tropical Escapism

Fortuna Circuit : Tropical Escapism

GIF_show x Fortuna Circuit

GIF_show x Fortuna Circuit

Fortuna Circuit Plus: Diskoral

Fortuna Circuit Plus: Diskoral

Cebu Zine Fest

Cebu Zine Fest

Banda Sonora Tropical : Kristoffer Ardeña

Banda Sonora Tropical : Kristoffer Ardeña

Mise en Scène

Mise en Scène

Thoughts are Duty Free

Thoughts are Duty Free

Baraha sa Babaylan : Brenda Fajardo

Baraha sa Babaylan : Brenda Fajardo

Brenda V. Fajardo by Philip Cebu

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Baraha sa Babaylan: Brenda Fajardo at 856 G

On a hot Tuesday afternoon in Makati, we had the pleasure of meeting one of the most respected and notable contemporary artists of our time: Brenda Fajardo. With a career that encompasses decades after decades of insurmountable contribution to the diverse fields and disciplines of the arts, Fajardo has incorporated folklore, mythology, and nationalist themes, which create exceptional visual narratives that are reflective of our society. Her upcoming show,”Baraha sa Babaylan”, at 856G Gallery in Cebu, will feature more than thirty of her recent works, which will include her popular Tarot Card series.

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Beginnings

Starting her career in the visual arts as a printmaker, Fajardo tells us how her brother (who is now an architect) had inspired her to become an artist. “I should probably tell him before he dies,” she jokingly remarks as she looks back on how his paintings of seascapes and ships had eventually led her to aspire to become an artist one day. Years after, she found herself working with graphic design and printmaking. She muses, “I had a press before for the metal (plates): the etching --- you work with acid; the other one is for engraving --- you work directly with the metal. But the engraving was difficult. So, in the beginning when I was doing these projects, I wanted the drawing to become an etching because it was intended to become a print and when I saw the end product (drawing), I said, it can stand for itself, so I just kept going.” Sometime in the 80s, Fajardo had her first solo show at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Around this time, she became interested in tarot cards while studying Philippine History. The CCP later awarded her with the prestigious Thirteen Artists Awards (1992) and the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining (2012). Her works have been featured in local and international exhibitions primarily in Japan and France.

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Tarot Card Series

Weaving socio-political struggles and historical themes into her body of work, Fajardo’s most recognized works lie among her original take on the tarot card where the association between the spiritual and material world becomes concrete. For example, a card called “The Fool” from the western deck is visually translated into its female indigenous version, “Ang Gaga”. Fajardo explains that for her, the card symbolizes the Babaylan, who is a mediator between the material and spiritual world. This insight brought us to talk about Papa Isio ---a prominent figure from her home province of Negros. Papa Isio was a Babaylan during his time but was also a revolutionary icon who fought against the Spanish and American colonizers: a proof that our spiritual needs align with that of our practical needs.

Charged with indigenous portrayals of lore and sometimes mysticism, Fajardo’s works also speak of pressing national issues. She usually starts with a drawing of her own version of the tarot card, then, she either writes on the drawing or starts to work with the central image. The writings on her works serve as a visual device not meant to be read but to be experienced as an image, subsequently adding the central panel, which completes the mise en scène: powerful illustrations of the stories and circumstances of the ordinary Filipino.

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Feminism and KASIBULAN

In the 90s, along with her female contemporaries, Fajardo had established the art collective KASIBULAN (Kababaihan sa Sining at Bagong Sibol na Kamalayan) together with Imelda Cajipe Endaya, Julie Lluch, Anna Fer, and Ida Bugayong. KASIBULAN advocates for the advancement of women’s rights through the arts. Although many women artists were hesitant to join their collective for fear that they would be tagged as feminists in the wrong context, many became involved after the definition of feminist was clarified as “someone who fights and stands for women's rights”; men, thus, can be feminists, too. KASIBULAN became a powerhouse collective, which is keen on advancing women’s rights and opportunities in and out of the art world. Fajardo’s paintings would often feature women and their place in history and the current times. Humor is not lost with Fajardo and her works that include satirical images; Sangandaan series (2003) shows an embodiment of the motherland in a female body spanking a man who seems to be a representation for Uncle Sam (American colonization). In another work, Paghigugma sa tagsa-tagsa, pagpalangga sa pamilya (1997), is an image of four tarot cards with the women as the Major Arcana (Ang Gaga, Babaylan, Kahinahunan, Daigdig); the center of the image portrays a scenario in domesticity.

 

Baraha sa Babaylan

Fajardo says her works are, perhaps, fragments that are part of her past, present, and maybe future; not exactly a timeline but a narration of her many experiences transformed into striking and powerful images that are reflective of contemporary events. She also tells us that in her forthcoming show, hints of her dog, Noodle, will likely be in some of the drawings.  Noodle was also family to Fajardo and lived with her for many years. These days, though, she is comforted by another dog she cleverly named Eldoon (as in reverse of Noodle).

 

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Brenda as Educator, as Professor, and as an Artist

“Find an object. It must be a man-made object. For example, look at a pencil and meditate. Do not do it lying down or you’ll fall asleep.”

Fajardo looks at 856G’s Fussner brothers and tells them about the importance of meditation. She sends us instructions to reflect each day and think in reverse. She says one must be able to understand how s/he thinks by remembering all the decisions and actions done backward.

She believes that art is a spiritual identity; as an art educator, Fajardo helped bring Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf School in the country. The school teaches non-biased thinking and integrates the arts with other academic subjects. Although her career has transcended as well in the field of theater (she served as a production designer in the past) and other platforms, Fajardo’s passion remains to be centered in arts education. Even if her brilliance as an artist has been recognized by important institutions, Fajardo still insists to call herself, above all, an educator. As a Professor Emeritus at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, she has shared her legacy with generations after generations of artists, curators, writers, cultural workers, and art educators who have committed themselves to bring art into the everyday lives of the Filipinos.

Brenda Fajardo’s contribution to the progress of arts and culture in this country is unparalleled and incomparable. Her life’s work is devoted to making the invisible visible; the marginalized to question margins; the helpless to become empowered. These are just a few of the things she dealt with her deck of cards ---the fortunes displayed at the helm of history and of the present. 

 

Baraha sa Babaylan by Philip Cebu

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BARAHA SA BABAYLAN

12 December 2018 – 12 January 2018

856G Gallery, Cebu

BRENDA FAJARDO EXHIBITION OPENS AT 856G GALLERY

Baraha sa Babaylan, a solo exhibition by Brenda Fajardo opens at 856G Gallery on December 12, 2018.  Fajardo, who is a visual artist, curator, cultural worker, educator and Professor Emerita of the UP Department of Art Studies,  will present her tarot card series. The exhibition is in partnership with Tin-aw Art Management.


Brenda Fajardo’s construction of a visual language using the tarot card as a narrative device in tandem at times with a dreamscape generated from the tarot cards drawn. This process presents itself as a critical strategy in understanding and reconstructing the Filipino identity across different time frames of past, present, and future.


The symbolic basis of her cards takes direct ownership of different cultural values that both originate and are imposed on the archipelago, this is most apparent in the hybrid nature of some of the Tarot readings she depicts. The Tarot cards and her murals being the vessel of Animism, Mysticism, Christianity, Colonialization, Westernization, and contemporary Filipino tropes such as diasporatic labor and digital serfdom are put together not as a visual melting pot but rather a mosaic of different stories. 


The construction of these narratives allows the viewer to recognize different components in the work Brenda Fajardo decides to reflect. By isolating individual narratives in some of these pieces it provides insight into the what concepts are intertwined together that produces some of the shared narratives that all Filipinos experience.


Fajardo’s early career was in dance and in theater.  She was also a leader of the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA).  Fajardo is a pioneer in Philippine contemporary art and is highly respected in the field of culture.  In 2012, she was awarded the Gawad CCP for Visual Arts.


The exhibit will run until January 12, 2010. 856G Gallery is open on Tuesdays to Fridays to ,  1PM to 5 PM.