Presents the artist’s work within the discourse generated by her trapuntos – stitched, padded and quilted paintings that she began in the late 1970’s. The exhibition also offers a move away from the artist’s tendency towards self-exoticization, that of being a ‘woman of colour’. Abad’s conscious use of this double entendre – her work was characterized by her use of colour, but also as reference to her dark skin – while possible during the 1980s, can be deleterious in the 21st century where there are as many ‘safe places’ as there are categories of self.
The exhibition seeks a more detailed consideration of her practice by engaging with her processes and materials, as well as the artist’s personal circumstances as the wife of a foreign developmental economist whose travels sh aped her artistic production. Characterized by vibrant colour and accumulated material, these large-scale works also reflect the complex position she occupied as a Southeast Asian woman, a Filipina, travelling to other developing nations as an expat’s wife. Her work spoke of many things which were not of her lived experience, but which at the same time was the story of her life – encountering refugees, engaging with overseas Filipinos, finding herself at the edges of societies which she visited. These narratives which are spun to speak about contemporary art and culture in the Philippines, are often located elsewhere. Pacita Abad’s work brought together experiences across cultures – Bangladesh to Sudan, Sudan to Jakarta, Jakarta to Boston, Washington D.C. to Manila – her creative trajectory dictated by her constantly shifting location. This itinerancy, crossing countries, economies and cultures are the subjects and materials, the variables and coordinates that shaped the narratives of Pacita Abad.
Pacita Abad : A Million Things To Say is proudly supported by Lopez Museum and Library, The Pacita Abad Art Estate and Fundacion Pacita.