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Martha Atienza

Looking at Our Islands, 11°16’58.4”N 123°45’07.0”E (2017), the visitor witnesses a slow, surprising and hypnotic procession, which never seems to want to stop. Martha Atienza (b. 1982, Manila), who has Dutch and Philippine roots, has formed an attachment over the years to the island of Bantayan, home of her paternal ancestors. This particular work is directly inspired by the Ati-Atihan, an ancient animist tribal festival, which was transformed into a Catholic procession during the Spanish period of rule. The work broaches many issues, including the economic and political situation in the Philippines. The slogans conjure up the catastrophic typhoon Yolanda in 2013, and the current president’s war on drugs. The nurse and the sailor call to mind the necessity for many Filipinos and Filipinas to leave their country and find work abroad, while the lady carrying her suitcase reminds us of a notorious scandal involving the blackmail of tourists at Manila airport. But this underwater procession also reminds us of the danger of rising waters, underscoring the depletion of marine flora and fauna, and consequently of the islanders’ main source of income. With a sense of comic farce combined with a certain urgency, the artist associates ancient traditions with future threats that are particularly significant for the life of this community, whose equilibrium is substantially based on the surrounding natural area.


  1. Our Islands 11°16’58.4 “N 123°45’07.0” E, 2017 HD video projection, colour, silent
    Martha Atienza Our Islands 11°16’58.4 "N 123°45’07.0" E, 2017

    Projection vidéo HD, couleur, silencieux
    1 h 12 min en boucle
    175 x 560 cm
    Ed. 4/6 + 2 EA
    Collection Mudam Luxembourg
    Donation 2017 – Baloise
    © Martha Atienza

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