London's Tate Modern to Showcase Works by Filipino Artist Pacita Abad

( Tate Modern, one of London's many free-admission museums, is lauded for its vast collection of international modern and contemporary art. Famous pieces on its walls include Andy Warhol's "Marilyn Diptych," Pablo Picasso's "Nude Woman with Necklace," and Salvador Dalí's "Mountain Lake." Soon joining these works are three quilted canvas works by Filipina-American contemporary painter Pacita Abad. The recently acquired pieces are: "Bacongo III" (1986), "Bacongo IV" (1986), and "European Mask" (1990).

"Bacongo IV" (1990) by Pacita Abad at A Million Things to Say (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila; 2018) 
PHOTO BY Gwen Bautista Archives

"Bacongo III" (1990) by Pacita Abad at A Million Things to Say (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila; 2018)
PHOTO BY Gwen Bautista Archives

According to an exhibit note by Clara Kim on Tate Modern's website, the works are part of a series that Abad worked on from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. They were referred to as trapuntos, which is Italian for embroidery or quilt. As someone born in Basco, Batanes, and an immigrant in the United States, she "never stopped being a gypsy" (according to her website). So the textile works were reflections of Abad's travels and encounters with the cultural traditions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. They are also deeply rooted in the tradition of sewing and weaving, which are embedded in Philippine culture.

watch now

"They were made using large pieces of canvas onto which the artist stitched forms, creating a three-dimensional effect by stuffing the canvases and transforming their surface with paint, shells, buttons, beads, mirrors and other objects collected on her travels," Kim further explained. The "Bacongo" series was inspired by the Bantu ethnic group in Central Africa, while the "European Mask" was a commentary on how Western artists appropriate artistic traditions from indigenous people.

The Tate Modern is housed in what used to be the Bankside Power Station, which supplied the city with electricity from 1891 to 1981.
PHOTO BY Christa I. De La Cruz

The three pieces are all purchased by Tate Modern with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2019. 

"L.A. Liberty" by Pacita Abad wil be part of the Woven exhibit, curated by Cosmin Costinas, at Frieze London
PHOTO BY Gwen Bautista Archives

Silverlens is also presenting some of Abad's selected works in the upcoming Frieze London, which is happening from October 3 to 6. This includes a selection of trapunto paintings from her "Immigrant Experience" series, which was produced in the early 1990s while she was living in Washington D.C. Multimedia artist Cian Dayrit, through 1335 Mabini, is also part of the international art fair.


Tate Modern is in Bankside, London. Admission is free. It is open from Sunday to Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and from Friday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit Tate Modern’s website.

More from spot

Share this story with your friends!

Help us make better!
Take the short survey

Read more stories about

More Videos You Can Watch

Latest Stories

Load More Stories