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.
Conversants 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). Moderator 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.