#Revisit | Dina Gadia on her presentation for the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 2018 Thirteen Artist Awards

Every week, we’ll be sharing a video, notes, or images from our past exhibitions in a series we’re calling #revisit. This week, we’re reading Dina Gadia’s statement on the works she presented at the 2018 Thirteen Artist Awards. Her artistic practice spans collage, painting, and textile. Visually arresting with a style that exploits the familiar, Gadia’s works are imaginative subversions of cultural codes. For the triennial Thirteen Artist Awards, Gadia showcased her graphic flags and paintings reflecting the signs of the times.

Dina Gadia on her presentation for the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 2018 Thirteen Artist Awards

My works are a deliberate use of existing images and text often found in outdated local and imported publications, advertisements, and other disparate sources - recycling and reframing their original context to elicit new and possible meanings and generate an entirely different picture. I am attracted and interested in the strange, flawed, common, and unconventional imagery and in the image's capacity to stimulate visual relationships and ideas.

Going back to the works I have produced for this show made me recollect the origins and decisions on each work and the constant and persistent question on why we do things. As it is now, it was a tough time to be making art, but I chose to see it as a chance to put into visual the weight of thoughts that delight and bother me even if ridiculous.

Such delight is an image of a floral display, which to me resembled a puppy. On other occasion, exercise in strength and flexibility of an image haunt like ghost. In Presses and Pushes, its elements also appear in several of my work.

Land Poetics is a series that started with Land Poetics (Nourishing Fruit) after a holiday spent in the province. This prompted me not only to look again but to look very closely at the features evident and inherent in what surrounds me. An admiration perhaps if not realization. I don't know poetry, but I have my senses to tell me I'm in one.

One time I came across a photo from a birthday celebration posted by a distant relative - hotdogs on sticks with marshmallows pushed into a whole young banana plant placed center in a table, different from usual banana trunk used. For the unfamiliar, it is a Filipino birthday staple. It made me think limitations can reach far. That image has not left me since.

All States No State is an ongoing series of works with the idea of flags, its symbols, decorativeness, identity and representation in mind. It is executed by the oldest flag-makers in the country whose business history spans generations. I have been playing with banners since 2011, but the idea rang again when I saw flags in a graduation ceremony arranged onstage. At the same time, news about politics are all over wherein the photos and clips are of world leaders in offices, or addressing their speeches and the representing flag or flags are naturally part of the interior and setting. I thought to make narratives that reflect the signs of the times and not necessarily the political weight in our air. Right now, it is difficult to overlook the political weight in the air, and much more.