Calling for Rain
by Khvay Samnang, Cambodia, 2021
Calling for Rain is inspired by Reamker, the Cambodian version of the epic
poem Ramayana. The film takes the viewers on a journey through the
landscapes of Cambodia as it follows Kiri, The Monkey on his quest to save
the dying forest and its surrounding environment. The story starts after he
meets and falls in love with Konkea, The Fish, and depicts the struggles he
must overcome after the loss of his home in the forest. As the story unfolds, it
becomes clear that the problems of the forest and its surrounding fields and
rivers are linked to the irresponsible behaviours of Aki, the Fire Dragon.
Credit: Khvay Samnang, Calling for Rain, 2021. Commissioned by the National Gallery Singapore for the Gallery Children’s Biennale 2021. Image courtesy of artist
Delighted to share the news that the newly released Taylor and Francis book, "The Routledge Companion to Dance in Asia and the Pacific: Platforms for Change" includes the essay of Belarmino&Partners Founder, Vanini Belarmino, entitled "The Foundation of Language| New Filipino dance lexicons from Eisa Jocson." Edited by Dr. Stephanie Burridge, this companion documents and celebrates artistic journeys within the framework of rich and complex cultural heritages and traditional dance practices of the Asia-Pacific region. It presents various dance forms from Australia, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the South Pacific. Drawing on extensive research and decades of performative experience as artists, choreographers, producers, teachers, and critics, the authors approach issues of dance and cultural diversity from a theoretical perspective while at the same time exploring change, process, and transformation through dance.
After months of pure digital extravaganza, Vanini Belarmino, Founder and Managing Director of Belarmino&Partners embarked on a real life international research trip to Copenhagen courtesy of the Danish Arts Foundation.
Curatorial Research Grant
Supported by the Danish Arts Foundation
Image: Artist Lilibeth Cuenca-Rasmussen holding up a large scale print of her work “I am not what you see” taken during a studio visit in Copenhagen, Denmark on 20 October 2021.
"An Examination of Conscience" is an exhibition proposal conceived by curator, Vanini Belarmino in close collaboration with Filipino artist, Leslie de Chavez and the exhibition design team of WY-TO as her competition entry for the Philippine Pavilion 59th Venice Biennale. The working title "An Examination of Conscience" is borrowed from the forty-fourth chapter of Dr. Jose Rizal’s Noli me Tangere (Touch Me Not), a seemingly plain if not at all a dull scene from the seminal novel that offers a sense of ambiguity, leaving hints enough to provide the element of suspense, yet with the absence of excitement. The exhibition hopes to build on an experience of entering and being one with work of the artist. Inspired by the architecture of the Catholic church, the different sections resemble aspects of entering a space of introspection
An Examination of Conscience
Competition Entry for the Philippine Pavilion,
59th Venice Biennale
Image: A study for a new iteration of “Under the Belly of the Beast by Leslie de Chavez.
For Coronet Inside Out , curator and producer, Vanini Belarmino, shared some excerpts of her work from 2007 – 2015, including two editions of ZENSORS, staged in Berlin and the Philippines. “In my wish to continue to reach out to people and to continue the collaboration and conversation with the rest of the world, I would like to share some of the works from the archives that I’ve done from 2007 until 2015. (These are) works which I built with my own hands, together with different artists from Asia and Europe. They are artists I have paired who have never met before, and whose practices range from performance and new media, music, dance, theatre, photography, even traditional dance. They are artists who are equally hungry to work with other artists, to meet other people, learn about oneself and learn about one another. For Inside Out I’m happy to share the works for ZENSORS, which was staged at RADIALSYSTEM V in 2008, and a second edition of ZENSORS which was done in the Philippines at the Bencab Museum in 2009.”
Coronet Inside Out is a series of free online presentations and artistic encounters including film, dance, art, installations, theatre, poetry and seminars.
The Coronet Theatre is known for presenting new, exciting work from across the globe in the atmospheric setting of this beautiful theatre. Coronet Inside Out allows us to carry on with this work – new, exciting and created with the Coronet in mind. Coronet Inside Out is curated by The Coronet Theatre’s Artistic Director Anda Winters, who said “The passion shared by all artists, whether large or smaller scale, to make and share their work, is as strong as ever. Please join us in our ongoing relationship with these special artists, as we all find new ways to engage with the arts. Artists from so many countries and creative directions have generously responded to the challenges we are facing, and we are grateful and delighted to continue to present their work to audiences”
Japanese artist, Shunsuke Francois Nanjo performing for the first time in ZENSORS Philippines at the Bencab Museum,
21 August 2009,
“Study for a Pregnant Nude” Kiri Dalena, Terracotta, 2020, Image courtesy of artist
During the global lockdown in the second quarter of 2020, Vanini Belarmino was commissioned by the Independent Curators International (ICI) in New York City to contribute to their publication “Reports from the Field”. ICI invited curators from around the world, who are alumni of the Curatorial Intensive, ICI's professional development program for emerging curators. The commissioned texts are reflections on the impact of the global pandemic on their lives, ways of working, their communities, and how they are adapting as a response. You can read Vanini’s text “The Pregnant Pause: A Countdown on Living with the Invisible” here.
(Lullaby for a Storm)
by Kiri Lluch Dalena, Philippines, 2012
Tungkung Langit is a title that refers to the god in the Panay epic whose tears become rain, but in the short film, two young children do not weep but offer an intimate perspective into their lives as they speak to each other about their experience during a typhoon
that devastated their city and left them orphans.
Speaking to each other of their trauma through play
and in the smallest of whispers before falling asleep becomes “a means by which these orphans heal”; the film reinforces and envisions this healing
Credit: Kiri Lluch Dalena, Tungkung Langit (Lullaby for a Storm), 2012. Image courtesy of the artist
Ulan : special film screening
Hosted by ArtHub Copenhagen
BIO 1711 in Kødbyen, Copenhagen (Flæsketorvet 38B, 3. Sal)
24 August 2022, 7:00 p.m.
Curator Vanini Belarmino presents a twin-bill featuring films by
Kiri Lluch Dalena (The Philippines) and Khvay Samnang (Cambodia)
Referencing Ulan, the Filipino word for rain, as the point of departure, these works touch on the power and wrath of nature. Ulan takes on the role of the invisible protagonist and antagonist in the films, as the characters deal with their own suffering caused by the extreme pour of water from the heavens as well as the consequences of its absence. Ulan, as nature designed it, is necessary for survival, yet it can also drown and destroy. It can be a source of abundance and scarcity; jubilation and sorrow; resolution and healing. Similarly, with Ulan naturally flowing and touching the ground, trickling down to wet the soil, the films similarly permeate the rawness of storytelling considering the perspective of young children.
In Dalena’s Tungkung Langit and Khvay’s Calling for Rain both artists engage with cosmological themes from Philippine and Cambodian epics, as their lens allow the harsh present day realities of climate change, displacement and environmental destruction to surface. Belarmino’s film programme follows the lead of the artists in opening up pertinent conversations affecting our societies, while also introducing to other cultural realities through Southeast Asian films.
Image: An image capture of Jane Jin Kaisen’s work “Braiding and Mending”, 2020 from her publication “Community of Parting.” This book was given to Vanini as a present by Jane on her first visit to Copenhagen.
Independent Curatorial Residency
Supported by the Danish Arts Foundation
17-26 August 2022
A new chapter on the independent curatorial research journey of Vanini Belarmino is going to unfold in Copenhagen in August 2022. Thanks to the support of the Danish Arts Foundation, she gets to return on a 10-day mini-residency in the Danish capital. Gifting her with a bit of time to get to know more about its contemporary arts community and of course, meet more artists and curators alike.
Crossing Currents: Exhibition making to meaning making
Conversation with Vanini Belarmino and Mark Justiniani
Moderated by Leslie de Chavez
Project Space Pilipinas
Lucban, Quezon, Philippines
Tuesday,18 October 2022
2 pm to 5 pm
In Crossing Currents: Exhibition Making to Meaning Making, Project Space Pilipinas invited the Founder of Belarmino&Partners Vanini Belarmino and artist Mark Justiniani. The discussion, which is part of the art space’s monthly art and cultural conversation HabhabXYZ, will center on their shared exhibition-making experiences, which will include topics such as collaborations, creative boundaries, institutional negotiations, transnational (re)presentations, meaning generation, and artistic integrity.
The program navigates the complex terrains of creative practice and art in general. While examining contexts, narratives, translations, and histories related to art making and knowledge production, the conversations demonstrate sensitivity to the accessibility of ideas, their formal articulations, potentials, and comprehension.
Project Space Pilipinas is an artist-initiated platform committed to art and cultural practices. Founded in Manila in 2007, it provides venue, assistance and support for artists, cultural workers and individuals with artistic interests. With a holistic framework, it hopes to serve as a vehicle for the various practices of art through traditional, alternative and emerging approaches. Its primary objectives are to provide creative opportunities and make art accessible to various audiences. Its core programs include artist residencies, exhibitions, education, and collaborations.
Mark Justiniani, a member of the Salingpusa Art Group, has been working with notions of how we perceive reality since the 1980s and 1990s in the Philippines through artist-activist initiatives like Abay (Artista ng Bayan) and Sanggawa (1994). After returning from the United States in 2006, he expanded his oeuvre through "magic realist strains” and has recently moved to configurations of space, the nature of vision, and their ever-changing relationship with time through the use of reflective media. Since 1992, he has represented the Philippines in international conferences and exhibitions. Mark Justiniani presented Island Weather: Archipelago, in the Philippine Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale: “May You Live In Interesting Times” in 2019.
Vanini Belarmino is an independent curator, producer and writer whose interest is on the productive potential of encounters by identifying and facilitating collaborations between artists across genres. Originally from the Philippines, she has led arts initiatives in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2008, she founded Belarmino&Partners in Berlin, through which she was able to collaborate with esteemed institutions which include ArtHub Copenhagen, ArtScience Museum, Bencab Museum, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Platoon Kunsthalle Berlin, Public Art Lab, RADIALSYSTEM V, Welt Museum Wien and many more. Vanini was Assistant Director for Programmes at the National Gallery Singapore from 2016 to 2021, where she led the overall curatorial development and artwork commissions for Gallery Children’s Biennale (2017, 2019, 2021) which includes the very notable four-year project with Mark Justiniani’s infinity series (Firewalk: A Bridge of Embers).
Leslie de Chavez has been widely recognized for his incisive and sensible forays into history, cultural imperialism, religion, and contemporary life. Responding to urgent material conditions through his deconstructions of master texts, icons, and the symbols of his times, de Chavez strikes a balance between iconoclasm and an affirmative outlook to the relevance and accountability of art to one's milieu. Leslie de Chavez has held several solo exhibitions in the Philippines, China, Korea, Singapore, UK, and Switzerland. He has also participated in several notable exhibitions and art festivals, which include the Singapore Biennale 2013, 3rd Asian Art Biennale in Taiwan 2011, 3rd Nanjing Triennial in China 2008, First Pocheon Asia Biennale in South Korea 2007. A two-time award winner (2010/2014) of the Ateneo Art Awards for Visual Art, Leslie de Chavez is also the director/founder of the artist-run initiative Project Space Pilipinas, in Lucban, Quezon.