Born to a Dutch mother and Filipino father, Martha Atienza (b. 1981) has moved between both countries and cultures throughout her life. Currently she resides both in the Netherlands and the Philippines, dependent on where her projects bring her.
Atienza’s practice explores installation and video as a way of documenting and questioning issues around environment, community and development. Her work is mostly constructed in video, of an almost sociological nature, that studies her direct environment. Often utilizing technology in the form of mechanical systems, Atienza explores the immersive capacity of installation in generating critical discourse. Her work tends to be collaborative in nature, working with people from different backgrounds and expertise as well as residents of Bantayan Island, where her family is from, whose narratives are intricately woven into issues such as environmental change, displacement, cultural loss, governance and socio- economic disparities.
Since graduating with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Academy of Visual Arts and Design in the Netherlands, Atienza has exhibited internationally at various art spaces, galleries, and video festivals. In 2017, Atienza won the Baloise Art Prize in Art Basel (Switzerland) for her work, Our Islands 11°16’58.4_N 123°45’07.0_E. In 2016, she was one of the five shortlisted artists for the Benesse Art Prize (Japan) in the Singapore Biennale. In 2015, Atienza was awarded the Thirteen Artists Awards by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Martha Atienza has also had residencies all over the world: in 2005, she was a part of Kuvataideakatemia’s art program in Finland. In 2016 and 2012, she won the prestigious Ateneo Art Award with studio residency grants in Liverpool, Melbourne, New York and Singapore. In 2016, she was the recipient of the first Mercedes Zobel/Outset Residency at Gasworks in London. In 2018, Atienza was a part of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art’s residency program in Singapore.
Recent exhibitions include 2018 Asia Project: How Little You Know About Me, MMCA, Korea (2018); No Man’s Land, MUDAM, Luxembourg (2018); Fair Isles, solo exhibition, Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden, Center for Contemporary Art, Germany (2018); Bienal de Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2018); Taipei Biennale: Post-Nature – A Museum as an Ecosystem, Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2018); 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2018); Honolulu Biennial: To Make Wrong / Right / Now, Honolulu, Hawaii (2019); Equation of State, solo exhibition, Silverlens, Manila (2019).
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