“The Settlement” by Mark Justiniani
(SPOT.ph) "Sa mga taga-UP: Pag dumaan kayo ng Sunken Garden ngayon, may makikita kayong barong-barong. Hindi po siya remnant ng UP Fair. Magtiwala na lang kayo. Puntahan niyo at sumilip," posted CANVAS Executive Director Gigo Alampay on his Facebook page on March 2. He is talking about the latest art installation by Mark Justiniani called “The Settlement.”
Part of the artist's Infinity series, “The Settlement” is a shanty no bigger than 15 feet, wrapped in wood, galvanized sheets, signages, and tarp. You could easily mistake it for a barong-barong randomly constructed in the Sunken Garden. But as soon as you enter, you'll be taken aback with Justiniani's tradmark works made of mirror and lights that create the illusion of infinite space.
The installation was commissioned by CANVAS (a.k.a. Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development) as an outdoor piece for Art Fair Philippines' 10 Days of Art in February when it was initially displayed outside the Ayala Museum. Through symbolisms, such as the retablo, a Mandala lantern, and a seemingly bottomless pit, it explores specific moments in Philippine history, particularly the Martial Law era, and their effects on the current state of affairs. Yes, this includes Marcos' surprise burial.
“Promise hindi kayo ma-disappoint. Ito 'yong comments sa logbook ng mga bumisita just today [March 2],” said Alampay on his Facebook post.
Entering “The Settlement” is free of charge. It is part of CANVAS' efforts to bring art closer to the public, and the state university's open campus is the perfect venue for this commentary on the issues the country currently faces.
“The Settlement” is on display at the University of the Philippines Sunken Garden until March 10. It is open daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, follow CANVAS on Facebook.