An ‘urgent’ show: Why Pio Abad is repeating images of history

‘Remembering cannot be an afterthought. It has to be a really active force’

Pio Abad refers to the urgency and timeliness of reminding people of the truths about history—particularly martial law and its atrocities—as the reason behind his ongoing exhibit, “Counternarratives,” at Silverlens gallery.

How anti-Marcos protests influenced an artist’s latest exhibit

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — At the recently concluded Art Basel Hong Kong 2017, two Filipino artists made distinct impressions on the global art stage.

Zean Cabangis, a young artist known for his meditations on landscape and figuration, won the opportunity to stage a solo show with his home gallery Art Informal, as one of the artists selected for the Discoveries program, a platform designed as a showcase for emerging contemporary artists. Even more impressively, Pio Abad, an artist who’s won distinctions here and abroad for a body of work concerned with the social and political signification of things, was selected to be part of Encounters — a program dedicated to presenting large-scale sculptures and installations by leading artists from around the world.

Mao, Lenin, Thatcher, and Other Leaders Haunt Art Basel Hong Kong

Adjacent installations by Pio Abad and Shen Shaomin at the fair offer cautionary tales on the perils of communism and the evils of neoliberalism.


Pio Abad relocated from his native Philippines to the United Kingdom over 20 years ago, but in many ways, he never left. The artist maps history through objects, putting traces of his nation’s past into projects that bind the personal with the political.

His latest installation, at the 2017 edition of Art Basel Hong Kong, is no exception. Not a Shield, but a Weapon will feature 180 replica handbags manufactured in a factory in Marikina, near Manila. Not just any handbag – Margaret Thatcher’s handbag, which was sold at a Christies’ charity auction in 2015 by former Conservative politician and convicted perjurer Jeffry Archer. Abad likes to explore the life, journeys, and historical resonance of inanimate things, and he is quick to note that it’s an interesting twist that the handbags will come to Hong Kong.

Encounters at Art Basel in Hong Kong 2017

To match the opulence and scale of the high-rise city, the artworks in Encounters—Art Basel in Hong Kong’s sector of large-scale sculptural works and installations—rise up to impress visitors with sheer magnitude and complexity. Placed along the four spacious meridians that bisect the two exhibition halls, the Encounters installations provide landmarks for visitors navigating the art fair. The “relationship between time and experience” forms the general theme of the works in the sector, as stated by the curator of Encounters for the third year running, Alexie Glass-Kantor, the Executive Director of Artspace in Sydney. Other themes running under the 17 projects, including four site-specific works and 12 new works, include politics and current global issues, art history and beauty, geometry and the built environment, and personal reflection. We trace the various themes across the fair in these large-scale projects by international artists from Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

Didactic But Definitely Not Dull: A Report from Art Basel Hong Kong

The great paradox of Hong Kong is that it has no history of contemporary art museums, so much so that some gallerists at Art Basel Hong Kong credit their need for “Please Do Not Touch” signs and stanchions inside their booths to a lack of local museum culture. Over the last five years since Art Basel’s arrival, however, the fair’s visitors and collector base have been steadily acclimating to an infiltration of foreign contemporary art. “For us, at the beginning it was Nara, Murakami, and nothing else,” says Ashley Rawlings, director of Blum & Poe’s Tokyo outpost. “But over the years, as we’ve stabilized, we have a bit of room to play around.” Mounted in the collective play space this year were works by, among many others, Pia Camil, Julian Hoeber, and Henry Taylor alongside zen-inducing monochromes by Dansaekhwa artists Kwon Young-Woo and Lee Ufan.

Navigating the Fair: Highlights of Art Basel Hong Kong

The roving international spectacle that is Art Basel continues to cement Hong Kong’s claim as the capital of the Asian art market. Planners have kept the festival as big as ever, even expanding the scope of its programming and the number of participating galleries, however modestly.

Silverlens launches new website

We are excited to share with you our fourth website in thirteen years, still designed by Inksurge Studio

Aside from the website being completely compatible with your phones, tablets, iPads, etc., we present header images that snapshot our onsite exhibitions, fairs, collaborations, and other important news about our artists; artist portfolios via selected works from their practices; and exhibition catalogs available as downloads.

CNN Philippines | The art gallery as architectural wonder: Silverlens reopens

In 2006, when Silverlens Galleries first opened its doors on Pasong Tamo Extension, there was nothing but car shops on the avenue. The advertising agency Ace Saatchi & Saatchi had not yet opened. Nor had Whitespace, the popular events space, nor Hope Christian School and Ecoplaza.

CNN Philippines | Why the international art world is paying attention to Martha Atienza’s video art

Martha Atienza is a Dutch-Filipina artist whose body of work represents a means of remembrance — recordings that come from a personal space and expand to encompass the lives and loves of the community she belongs to. Now shortlisted for the prestigious Asian edition of the Benesse Prize, Atienza talks about her place in the art world, the hard work of fostering a community using art, and the continuing importance of finding our roots.